Sales excellence is sales performance that consistently surpasses your organization’s goals and targets. It is not only a measure of sales effectiveness but also demonstrates whether or not your sales team has a strong understanding of your buyers’ needs.
Here’s why sales excellence is important for organizations: In today’s competitive market, your company can stand out by providing superior value to your customer base. Sales teams centered on understanding and anticipating customers’ needs at every turn can give you a huge advantage that sets you apart from your competitors.
But it doesn’t happen when reps don’t have what they need to excel at every stage of the sales process – including the right tools, data, and coaching to empower continual improvement.
In this article, you’ll learn how to use analytics, key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your sales excellence, and seven ways to help your sales teams outperform.
How to measure sales excellence
Measurement is the key to ensuring your sales excellence efforts get the results you want and need.
For sales teams that consistently meet their goals, paying attention to key metrics can help them improve their performance even further.
For teams struggling to meet their objectives, the same metrics can help them figure out what’s not working and take steps to remedy those issues.
You can measure and track metrics in the following categories: sales productivity, sales performance, and sales proficiency.
You will track different sales metrics within each category depending on your industry and business objectives. Here are some commonly tracked metrics for each category:
- Time spent creating or personalizing content
- Percentage of high-quality leads contacted
- Percentage of marketing collateral used by sales
- Percentage of time spent on selling activities
- Average number of sales tools used every day
- Communication analytics like emails sent or calls made
- Percentage of sales reps who hit 100% of their quota
- Total revenue
- Sales velocity
- Year-over-year growth
- Customer lifetime value (CLV)
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
- Content engagement
- Time to ramp
- Time spent in sales onboarding sessions
- Time to full productivity
- Time to first deal
- Time to quota attainment
How to achieve sales excellence
Sales excellence is more than just the individual performance of your sales reps.
If one rep struggles with productivity, chances are others can benefit from the same solutions to streamline processes and eliminate activities that aren’t driving sales.
If another rep is outperforming, finding out why is an opportunity to build new ideas into your sales playbook.
That’s why successful sales organizations take individual, team, and organizational steps to improve performance across the board. This approach, combined with data and analytics, will help your sales teams improve conversions and close more deals.
Let’s explore seven powerful tactics for achieving consistent sales excellence.
1. Invest in improved sales enablement technology
One of the first things you can do to improve sales performance and create an outstanding sales team is to evaluate your current sales tech stack. Are the tools you currently have empowering reps to perform at their peak?
A simple, effective tech stack includes components that integrate seamlessly to save time, deliver the KPIs that matter, boost sales engagement, and help you make data-driven sales decisions.
Your team needs an intuitive, easy-to-use CRM platform and an all-in-one sales enablement and engagement solution. You may also consider digital asset management, LMS, contract management, and market intelligence.
To find out what tools you need, talk to sales reps to discover where they’re struggling and where their deals tend to stall. Let their answers dictate your tech stack choices, and remember that every new tool or solution needs to add value and minimize complications.
No matter which platforms you pick, give your sales team proper training and support so they can implement the new solutions into their workflows.
Focus on team-wide adoption of your most important platforms and always look for integration and automation opportunities to save your sales team time and energy.
2. Sales enablement
Sales enablement is the systems, activities, processes, and information that support and promote sales interactions with prospects and customers. Your sales enablement efforts ensure your sales teams have everything they need to sell effectively.
Using a sales enablement solution to combine all your sales tools and content into a single, easy-to-use app, you can help your sales reps improve productivity, effectiveness and win more deals – without needing to jump back and forth between multiple systems.
Once you’ve researched the customer journey, create helpful content that maps to the buying process and enables your sales team to deliver value to their prospects.
Your sales enablement content can include things like:
- Your sales playbook
- Email or call scripts
- Best practices
- White papers
- Blog posts
- Pricing breakdowns
- Frequently asked questions
- Competitive battle cards
- Demo messaging
3. Offer consistent training and coaching
To create a top-performing sales team, cultivate a culture of continuous improvement.
Consistent training arms all your sales reps with the most up-to-date knowledge of your company’s products, services, and processes, so they feel empowered navigating the complexities of customer engagement.
Sales coaching through one-on-one meetings can help leaders assess each sales rep’s strengths and weaknesses so that they can offer personalized recommendations for improvements.
You can use CRM data and analytics to identify the activities and inputs that have the most value (like making calls, sending emails, or making connections on social media) and use this data to coach sales reps toward meeting their goals.
Providing great coaching can give your organization a substantial competitive edge. According to Gartner's research, only 40% of sales professionals say they work within a well-established coaching culture, and only 42% of sales reps report that managers at their company are held accountable for providing consistent coaching.
4. Perfect and personalize your presentations
Hiring the right sales reps and making sure you’re matching those reps with the right opportunities is essential – but so is helping them create the best possible presentations for their customers.
Segment your customer base, create personas based on buyer journeys, and map out the specific problems each segment is struggling with. Then use that information to identify ideal value propositions for each group and create customized sales presentation decks that spotlight those value propositions.
An end-to-end sales enablement solution helps you create custom-tailored slide decks that include personalized pitch content and data for each prospect – without spending much time on each presentation. The process is automated seamlessly with your CRM. Your key account managers can share top-performing slides and best practices for presenting results and driving sales, thereby creating richer, more personalized decks – all within the sales enablement platform.
These improved presentations will make a bigger impact on your customers, increasing your key account managers' perceived value while saving time and energy.
5. Create a positive culture
Sales excellence is tightly connected to your team’s culture. When you create a positive culture, you’ll attract and retain hard-working, loyal sales reps that are easily coachable and dedicated to serving your customers.
Your sales leaders should try to create an environment where all reps feel encouraged and supported. Reward excellent performance and improvement when you see it, encourage collaboration, and always give credit where credit is due.
You can develop a positive culture within your sales team by:
- Hiring salespeople slowly and deliberately
- Emphasizing activity over results
- Recognizing the successes of your team members
- Fostering an atmosphere of healthy competition
- Collaborating and sharing knowledge
- Avoiding micromanagement and encouraging autonomy
- Leading with empathy and support for the customer
A toxic sales culture will result in low morale and higher turnover, so it’s worth your while to put some effort into developing a positive atmosphere that helps sales reps thrive.
6. Be flexible
There is always room for improvement – and the best sales leaders and reps recognize that the pursuit of sales excellence will always require change as part of the process. Cultivate an atmosphere of flexibility in your sales team, and let them know that change is a critical part of growth.
This has never been more true as sales teams continue to refine the virtual sales process. New technologies, platforms, and ways of engaging are constantly evolving. Sales excellence means anticipating and adapting to meet buyers where they are.
7. Build relationships, first and foremost
Today’s customers expect a highly personalized buying experience, and they’ll gravitate toward salespeople who reject pushy sales tactics and embrace the role of trusted advisors.
The best sales reps will tell you that building authentic relationships with customers is critical to their success. But even this can be fueled with the right tools and data. Content automation can give reps access to personalized content they can easily share with buyers on their preferred channels, during virtual meetings, and any time they want to connect.
Use your ideal buyer personas to help salespeople personalize their outreach efforts, build trusted relationships, and deliver the right content at the right time to every customer.
Optimizing your sales excellence efforts
Every sales organization will have a unique formula for driving sales and maintaining high-quality performance over time.
Use this guide to start developing your own customized sales excellence initiatives. The key is examining your current performance and finding avenues for improvement – even if those improvements are small – every effort toward developing sales excellence can help if it’s maintained consistently.
Talk to us today about how Pitcher can help you develop sales excellence by taking a data-driven approach to content, training and coaching.
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