New research from CSO Insights, the research division of sales performance consultancy Miller Heiman Group, takes a close look at the 12 best practices that correlate most strongly with sales performance, including practical advice on how organizations can lessen the impact of economic changes on sales performance down the road.
In the last two years, many sales organizations increased quota attainment and revenue, with revenue plan attainment up 7 percent, and quota attainment up 7 percent since 2017. However, adherence to many sales best practices remains low, and leading indicators such as seller retention, customer retention and customer relationships are in decline., according to the new study, 2019 World-Class Sales Practices Study: All that Glitters is Not Gold.
Sales leaders need to dig beneath the surface to understand what’s really going on, says Seleste Lunsford, chief research officer of CSO Insights. “Taken at face value, this year’s numbers appear promising. Sales organizations have increased revenue attainment for the third consecutive year,” Lunsford said in a news release. “And for the first time in two years, sales teams are making their numbers, with the percentage of sellers earning quota increasing to 56.9 percent, from a record low two years ago.
“But these findings aren’t telling the whole story,” she added. “Half of the deals that are forecasted to close don’t. Customer retention has decreased as seller attrition increases. These indicators suggest strong economic growth is the variable that powers sales organizations. However, to achieve long-term world-class status, sales organizations need to apply greater focus to sales transformation initiatives.”
Building a unified sales system that encompasses strategy, customer engagement and performance support is a work in progress as cross-functional teams define and redefine their approach. But it remains a priority—buyers demand value and want to work with organizations that can see beyond the deal. Collaborative teams that go further down the customer’s path to determine how the customer uses their products and services add greater value throughout the engagement.
“This year’s list of the ‘Top 12 World-Class Sales Practices’ provides a comprehensive set of guidelines for organizations that are looking to insulate their sales performance from changing economic conditions,” said Lunsford. “Using these proven strategies, today’s sellers will be ready to win tomorrow’s opportunities, despite changes in the global economic landscape.”
This research is based on based on a global survey of more than 900 sales leaders.