Five Key Strategies of Over-Performing Sales Teams

20 Oct Five Key Strategies of Over-Performing Sales Teams

Why do some sales teams outperform? Is it coaching? Sales process? A great customer relationship management system (CRM)? Blind luck?

Not surprisingly, and perhaps reassuringly, it isn’t blind luck. In a recent book, McKinsey & Company identified five strategies based on interviews with over 120 sales leaders. From this, McKinsey identified strategies that fast-track sales performance   They describe firms that were able to grow revenues up to 48% faster by following five key strategies.

Company size, sales geography and the products and services sold were not the key determinants of performance. It was the approach to sales and approach to people management that made the difference.

So what were the commonalities of the pack leaders?

Five Key Strategies that Increase Sales Team Performance

  1. They clear administrative tasks, so salespeople focus on sales

Salespeople who outperform spend more time selling! Sounds simple, yet this is not typical of most sales environments. Top sales reps can become completely overwhelmed by the amount of time they spend on internal sales support and tracking the progress of deals. In some organizations, it is not uncommon for a sales rep to spend up to three weeks to get a special price approved.  It is no accident these teams use internal or external administrative and project resources to free up sales rep time. Learn more about Why You Should Manage a Sale as a Project.

  1. They discover growth through in-depth analysis

Outperforming sales teams look 2-3 years ahead and harness their internal reporting, CRM systems and historical sales data to do this.   By doing this, they can uncover growth opportunities in new sales or solution channels. By segmenting their opportunities and examing new solutions sold in new markets, sales executives can identify investment opportunities for products driven by customer innovation and demand.

  1. They understand and adapt to the customer’s buying process

Top sales performers understand their customer buying patterns and map their sales process around this.   Conversely, underperforming teams centered pipeline stages around sales activities, rather than stages in the buying decision process. In a striking validation of the “Challenger Sale” philosophy, McKinsey pointed out that top performers’ focus their attention on prospects for which they have something original to offer.

  1. They inspire performance that’s extraordinary

Top sales leaders drive revenue growth top-down. They inspire their account teams to over perform.   Account managers who over perform are paid exceptionally well and their successes are promoted through the entire company.   Sales targets are set to challenge expectations. They create a culture that assumes outstanding results and promote role models showing anyone can reach the top levels.

  1. They provide incentives for people to develop

The top-performing sales organizations implement training and mentoring programs to turn new-hires into experienced pros. Contrast this with organizations who hire with an expected 50% attrition rate. These latter organizations experience poor morale and a culture of fear, rather than performance.

Establishing reporting and interventions that help salespeople realize their potential, top sales leaders embed the sales organization with winning habits of top performers.

What Is In It for Me?

Every sales team leader is under intense pressure to deliver more results, often with fewer resources. They necessitate smart thinking, focus, discipline, and willpower. That makes them tough to do, but also means there is a huge competitive advantage for those that can execute. It is a fresh approach to accelerating revenue growth.

McKinsey’s winning habits require huge consulting budgets and large staff to implement. You can, however, experience immediate sales benefits by freeing up sales time. Ways to do this include investing in more field administrators or bringing in sales project managers to offload logistics from account reps and entire sales teams. See our blog Why You Should Manage a Sale as a Project for more details.