Friday, June 17, 2011

 

Five keys to dramatic sales performance improvement

World class sales organizations consistently deliver results for a variety of reasons, but the following five focus areas are perhaps the most fundamental drivers of sales performance and success:

1. Explicit goals & expectations
This requires solid leadership, accurate but aggressive goal-setting and consistently clear communication throughout the sales organization. Group and individual goals should be clear, and communicated based on not only annual and monthly/quarterly sales goals, but weekly and daily expectations from sellers and managers alike.

2. The right compensation plan
The best sales professionals are driven by their ability to make money, and the best companies leverage this as a means of narrowly directing motivation, activity and results. The right compensation plan isn't always the easiest to create or manage, but ease of use for your accounting team isn't the goal. The more reps you have making C-level money, the better.

3. Effective, regular & constructive sales coaching
Sales coaching needs to be fundamental and institutional. This is more than just occasional skill-building sessions. World-class sales organizations engage in coaching on a daily basis. It happens at an individual and group level, and focuses far more time on reinforcing positive behavior than correcting negative actions.

4. Actively managed CRM and sales automation tools
Successful sales systems help the entire sales organization (sellers, managers and executives) do more in less time. It automates repetitive tasks, provides crystal-clarity and vision into what's happening at all levels, and is constantly improved upon based on changes to the market as well as new buyer behavior or sales process enhancements that can be automated and scaled not necessarily a larger sales force but an increasing sales output.

5. Qualified leads
Not white paper downloads. Not a downloaded or compiled list of companies in the right industry. Qualified leads means the right company, the right decision maker, with a demonstrated short-term interest in learning more or making a decision. All leads that meet only a portion of the above criteria should be nurtured by a marketing organization until they demonstrate (explicitly by request or implicitly by their actions) that they're ready to move forward.

What's missing from this list? What would you add to the focus areas above that have been key to success in your sales organization?

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