“It is not the strongest of species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
— A saying commonly attributed to Charles Darwin (in error) **
That old saying has a point. The business landscape is rapidly changing. Sellers struggle to keep up. But if I’ve seen anything at Holden International over the last 10 years while assessing 28,000 B2B sellers and coaching over 50,000 competitive deals, it’s that smart sales leaders lead change movements if they are nimble and observant enough to align internal capabilities with external opportunities.
Over the next four weeks, I’ll share key insights into how sales teams can maneuver top trends to improve sales performance, particularly through a robust incentive compensation strategy. Five trends have disrupted the skills, attitudes, behaviors, and approaches that have traditionally driven sales performance:
- Online distribution models do not require human sellers
- Access to information has increased buyer leverage
- The Great Economic Recession has increased buyer scrutiny and complexity
- Globalization has increased competitive intensity
- Seller performance is not meeting company expectations
How have these trends impact on your sales environment? What about your company’s prevailing attitude toward your sales force? Though each disruptive trend significantly impacts the sales role, the last point is key --- The Aberdeen Group recently found that under half of sellers reach quota! As a professional charged with top line growth, the questions becomes:
- What can I do about it?
How you motivate your team to sell enriches what you sell. My research shows the most competitive sales organizations orient themselves around a high-performing sales infrastructure and support high-performing individual sellers. You can read more in my upcoming book, The New Power Base Selling. Let’s take a look at 3 key characteristics of these successful organizations:
View the Sales Function as a “Management Science” That can be Managed and Replicated Across an Organization
Though sales success does require some art, sales leaders can use science to accurately predict results by hiring, motivating, training and retaining the right people. This requires access to real-time sales data.
Follow a Sales Methodology That Integrates Relevant Skills for Winning in Their Market
My top-performing clients conduct reviews every month for all deals over a certain revenue size. Companies transform the adoption and impact of their sales methodology when they isolate key performance indicators of their top players and motivate the rest of the team to produce the same behavior. This impacts formation of individual quotas, territories, and compensation plans.
Measure (and Compensate) Sales Performance Appropriately
With a strategic mix of sales performance metrics, the sales enterprise can link compensation to leading and lagging indicators across the entire company, including HR, Marketing and Finance. By clearly connecting compensation to winning behavior, these organizations drive results faster.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll explore each individual characteristic and share action steps that thousands of sellers around the globe have taken to inspire their teams to achieve stellar sales results. Unless we get serious about change, our teams will quickly go from being OUTSOLD to OUTPLACED. Ready? **This line was changed. We previously attributed the quote to Darwin, an apparently common mistake.
Ryan Kubacki is President of Holden International, a global sales training and advisory firm. He is also co-author of The New Power Base Selling: Master the Politics, Create Unexpected Value & Higher Margins, and Outsmart the Competition.