Every sales organization is unique, with its own business model, culture and processes. Over the years, we have noticed that some companies do certain things better than others. In fact, we’ve noticed that the really successful companies – those companies we would classify as world-class sales organizations – have some very consistent and noteworthy practices. And if you keep these sales organization best practices in mind, you can aspire to this standard of excellence.
1. A plan that fairly compensates the sales force while protecting the organization’s viability
A world-class sales organization has incentive compensation plans that are fair and profitable. In other words, they pay well while also preserving the company’s growth and viability. It’s a delicate balance, but an exemplary sales organization can make it work.
World-class sales organizations also have incentive compensation processes and systems with proven records of consistency and accuracy. They maintain clear communication and access to plans, an ability to process analytic data and reporting, and the capacity to operate in competitive environments and adjust as needed for growth.
These companies successfully:
- Attract key performers
- Engage key performers
- Retain key performers
2. Alignment between the sales force and the overall business strategy
An effective sales force maintains alignment – a direct connection between the sales force incentive programs and the company’s business goals. A world-class sales organization understands this. In achieving alignment, these organizations ensure that their compensation plans:
- Clearly communicate the corporate strategy to the sales force
- Showcase the products that have a strategic impact on the organization
- Reflect both corporate and individual goals
- Reward the sales team according to corporate strategy
World-class organizations also ensure that their sales staff understands the business, its priorities, objectives and strategies.
3. An understanding of the market, how to adjust to it, and the flexibility to change based on analytical data and educated decision-making
Adapt or die. How many times have we heard that? Turns out, it’s true. A world-class sales organization understands they are operating in a dynamic marketplace. Their success depends on a sense of flexibility, which allows them to:
- Act on trends in regions and for specific products
- Rapidly organize and reorganize the sales organization
- Measure the impact of changes, improve, and iterate
4. Sales resources focused on generating revenue, along with the tools and resources to see the impact of the sales
World-class sales organizations have visibility – they can leverage their systems to see how their sales efforts translate into revenue. They have the ability to see sales and earnings predictive reporting, and analytical tools to predict the profitability of sales. World-class organizations rely on these tools to focus on revenue generation instead of tracking and chasing earnings.
5. Tools and resources to track performance, reward top performers and identify where to focus resources
World-class sales organizations make sure their managers have the analytical tools to analyze sales and profitability, and to make ‘educated’ decisions, particularly when it comes to tracking performance. This enhanced visibility allows managers to:
- Identify and work with team members that have potential to grow
- Create more top performers and avoid the headaches of making new hires
- Adjust targets, metrics and goals based on market turns so as to not overwhelm, discourage, or conversely, make it too easy for sales staff
They also maintain a system and processes that retain sales performance activities despite staffing changes.
6. Systems in place that allow the organization to scale growth based on revenue and market
When companies reach the growth stage, they aren’t just reacting to incoming changes. They are scaling for growth. This requires:
- Predefined metrics that allow for predictive analysis
- Sophisticated incentive plans to communicate goals and targets
- They develop tools to make educated decision making versus wild guess decision making this the organizational standard
When a company strives to become a world-class sales organization, there are some key fundamentals they must achieve to make it happen.
To learn more about how your business can become a world-class sales organization, contact Intangent today.