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Five Key Strategies of High-Performing Sales Organizations

By March 28, 2023February 8th, 2024One Comment

Sales organizations in the high-tech arena have been hit with several redefining trends over the last several years – the shift to virtual relationships, the drive to commoditization by the buyer, the unbelievable acceleration of digital technology, and the redefining of market boundaries.

Let’s examine the five key strategies that high-performing sales organizations are intensely focused on for driving success and revenue growth in an increasingly complex and competitive market.

  1. Getting Serious About Qualification

The history of sales in the high-tech sector has long been that qualification has typically been subjective and weak, creating habits that drive the sentiment “any deal is a good deal.” But now, the increased margin requirements driven by bid budget escalation and the cost of recruiting salespeople make this mindset a nonstarter.

The push for an objective science-based qualification process is motivating the best sales organizations to place new importance on qualification processes, support good qualification decisions with science-based tools, and enable sales teams to proactively improve the qualification of opportunities early in the sales cycle.

  1. Driving New Expectations of Win Rates

Only a few years ago, a win rate of 35% (measured between qualification and close) was accepted as an OK win rate, even for the largest deals.

This is no longer the case!

High-performing sales organizations have redrawn the win rate standards, especially for the largest opportunities to well exceed 50%, with some stretching the win rate expectation to 75%. To achieve this, disciplined sales processes and tools are urgently being implemented. New disciplines around execution and team alignment, coupled with a coaching strategy, are showing success in significantly lifting real win rates.

  1. Leveraging the CRM as a Competitive Strategic Resource

For years, salespeople have seen CRM systems as being characterized by low adoption and passive non-compliance. This is because these systems have historically been presented as serving internal needs, rather than creating an external competitive advantage.

Adopting intelligent sales x-ray apps embedded in the CRM has proven to lift sales performance significantly. By driving a vision of leveraging the CRM to create a competitive advantage through specific field initiatives, new long-term sales habits are formed and leveraged.

Once sellers and first-line leaders see the power of intelligent sales tools, they start bringing new insights to leveraging relationships, executing the right strategy, and aligning the political structure of your accounts. Then the CRM finally becomes a competitive advantage.

  1. Embedding a Culture of Proactive Demand Creation

High-performing sales organizations are shredding their historical reliance on competitive RFP opportunities, given that if you did not have an active role in influencing or creating the scope and criteria, someone else did. Hence, the win rates are trending lower and lower.

The real winning comes from proactively creating new opportunities through a strategy of thought leadership and taking the risk to have a point of view that creates a collaborative discussion with new suspects.

Differentiation is shifting away from the solution and moving to the trust, integrity, and value of the insights provided by the individual seller, then attributes of the company, and finally, the differentiation of the solution.

Insights and collaboration are in; solution selling is out!

  1. Changing the Management Dynamic From Cadence to Coaching

For years, pipeline reviews, forecast reviews, and quarterly “commits” have been the norm. Over time, this has driven an inspection culture often confused with coaching.

Business management is critical – it is important to know what the quarterly numbers will be. While this assists the business, it does not contribute to the salesperson’s win rate, pipeline growth, or any other metric.

High-performing sales organizations are driving specific strategies to shift the balance from cadence to coaching, investing in coaching programs and coach-the-coach for first-line sales leaders. This is not generic coaching skills, but specific deal coaching approaches. This includes leveraging sales tools within a CRM and enabling leaders to install a regular coaching rhythm every week to bring discipline and build new habits.

As the gravity of commoditization continues to pull everything down to the lowest common denominator (price, of course!), technology continues to develop at exponential speed. The competition becomes less traditional, and these strategies are becoming imperative to creating the “A Team” sales organization of the future.



Join the discussion One Comment

  • Kevin
    Three comments to support your analysis:
    – Qualification – the best incentive to adopting an “objective science-based qualification process”, is that the sales leader will not allocate a pursuit budget until that process is complete and validated on the basis of objective, evidence-based scoring.
    – Win rates – it’s really simple…the value of wins as a percentage of the value of all qualified outcomes in a defined period. Many organisations exclude ‘no outcome’ or ‘we withdrew” which serve only to mislead.
    – Win-loss reviews – why wouldn’t an organisation want to know – from the client and the engagement team why we won or lost? Some organisations have relegated win-loss reviews to a form completed by the sales lead. The outcome? We won because I’m brilliant or we lost because of price.
    Finally, the worse thing to “any deal is a good deal” is “we might as well respond as we have nothing else to do”!

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