July 12, 2011 by Bob Hill
Posted in: sales management, Special Report - Sales & Marketing
Here are the four common practices of world-class sales organizations any manager can incorporate to achieve top-tier results:
Habit #1: Sell a promise, not a product. Best-in-class businesses always align their mission and values with the needs of their customers. One is always a reflection of the other. A lot of today’s progressive companies have shifted to a service-first approach, where the focus is on earning buyers’ business by:
- Streamlining the buying process as much as possible to make it easy for customers to do business
- Using testimonials that drive home the company’s commitment to every buyer’s long-term success
- Focusing on long-term ROI, as opposed to price, and
- Creating incentives for sales reps (and buyers) based on long-term loyalty, rather than one-time deals.
Habit #2: Create success first, sales second. In an age of increased competition, a company’s ability to partner with buyers is key to keeping them from looking elsewhere.
High-performance companies maintain their edge by offering buyer-centric benefits like: free training, educational resources, on-site promotional events and membership into company-sponsored industry groups.
It not only increases the value of every offer, it boosts loyalty by creating the impression that changing suppliers would mean giving up access to a variety of exclusive amenities.
Habit #3: Create a strict system of accountability. Traditional sales organizations base bonuses solely on sales. But many of today’s top companies place more emphasis on strict accountability for profit margins and repeat business.
For example, they restructure the bonus scale to base commissions on net profits rather than gross volume. This way, salespeople aren’t so quick to give concessions that hurt profitability.
Also important: Top companies focus on key metrics that reflect the department’s goals and follow up regularly to gauge progress.
Habit #4: Evolve with your buyers. In a service culture, companies focus on how buyers’ needs are changing and what they can do to respond to those changes. Salespeople are required to stay in constant contact with buyers, which keeps them in tune with emerging trends and boosts buyer loyalty.
Based in part on the white paper The 7 Habits of Highly Successful On-Demand Companies (PDF).