I just finished reviewing the results of the “2010 Miller Heiman Sales Best Practices Study”. (Miller Heiman, based in Reno, Nevada, is one of the most well-known names in sales training.) More than 1,500 sales professionals provided input, which were a mix of sales leaders, sales ops, sales reps and sales training personnel.
After analyzing the survey data, there were four findings that differentiated world class sales organizations from “average” sales organizations.
- Alignment: In world class sales organizations, the selling business activities and metrics were clearly aligned with the business goals and achieving revenue objectives. They focused their selling resources on the customers and prospects that had the highest likelihood of converting. World class sales organizations did not panic or implement excessive discounting strategies.
- Executive Engagement: In 94% of world class sales organizations, senior executives were actively involved in the execution of the sales strategy. They often engaged directly with senior executives at their client’s locations, to assist and support the sales process. This tactic helped strengthen customer relationships and increased the executives’ understanding of customer needs.
- Sales Manager Coaching: Managers in world class sales organizations, spend significantly more time coaching their team members. They also identified the unique practices of their top sales people and shared these best practices with all team members.
- Customer Focused: 97% of world class sales organizations have intimate knowledge of why their customers buy from them and 90% have a solid understanding of their customer’s needs. They leverage this information to adapt and align their selling strategies and activities.
The study indicated that world class sales organization are significantly more likely to:
- Create qualified opportunities
- Acquire new business
- Grow strategic accounts
- Achieve quota objectives
- Accurately forecast results
What do you think of these findings? Any surprises? Please add your comments.