The Best Sales Teams are Well Trained—and Transparent

The world’s best sales teams have connections and clout that help them post ridiculous sales numbers, but at the end of the day, they’re still people. Much of what sets top sales teams apart are behaviors that can be practiced and taught. Based on research by Steve Martin, author and business strategist at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, all sales teams can learn a from the ways high-performing sales teams overachieve.

Create formal sales structures

In his study of nearly 800 sales professionals, Steve found that 50% of high-performing sales organizations had a structured sales process in place. These organizations had sales processes that were well-documented, closely monitored, or strictly enforced. That makes sense, right? The best sales teams are the ones with the most clarity are more likely to perform at a high level. Compare this to Steve’s findings on underperforming companies, and the difference becomes clear:

48% of the participants from underperforming sales organizations indicated they had nonexistent or informally structured sales processes compared to only 29% from high performing sales organizations.

To be clear, “underperforming sales organizations” are the 26% of surveyed companies whose “revenues were about the same or declined” year-over-year for the past two years. Thankfully, sales leaders can address this by quantifying the sales process for their team. Learning software like Lessonly can be immensely useful when building out a more defined sales process. Here are a few sample Lessons that we use for the sales team here at Lessonly:

  • Ideal Client Profile: An Overview
  • The Lessonly Sales Engine
  • Prioritizing Deals
  • Our Pricing Structure
  • Closing Process and Handoff

Even basic Lessons like these are a good step toward a more structured sales process. And five Lessons alone might not catapult your sales team’s performance automatically, but it’s a good start to guiding your reps toward the behaviors that drive business results.

Create defined stretch goals

Another practice that Steve suggested sales teams adopt is setting continuously increasing quota targets. According to his research, 75% of the high-performing sales organizations he studied raise their annual quotas by at least 10% year-over-year. That contrasts starkly with 40% of underperforming sales organizations who said their quotas decreased year-over-year.

Increasing quotas for individual salespeople and sales teams is a sign that they’re motivated and ready to tackle the challenge they’re given. In organizations where annual quotas have been decreasing, changing course and reversing that trend isn’t going to fix the situation immediately. Instead, sales leaders need to address the situation with a plan for how to improve going forward.

Develop a winning sales team with Lessonly

Sales teams around the world use Lessonly’s team learning software to create best practices for their reps. Take a self-guided, five-step tour of Lessonly to see how your sales team can model itself after the top-performers. Sign up today.

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