This week’s guest author Howard Highsmith, CMC is the Founder & Chairman of B2B Institute.  A Certified Management Consultant; Howard helps organizations operating in complex sales environments achieve their revenue goals.

Note:  This post is the first in a three-part series about three principles that are imperatives to organizations’ becoming Best-in-Class.  We start with Organizational Excellence and the critical role that business acumen plays through individual sales initiatives and accountability leading to goal attainment.  The second part; Managing To Goal is a defined methodology and business model for managing a revenue generation strategy and the last part of the series is; Governance, a time-driven process for proving the model and being held accountable for results.  
Building a Best-in-Class Organization for Solution and Value Added Providers

Intro:  An important paradigm shift has been taking place for the past several years from the feel good, ‘New Normal Era’ to the ‘On Demand Era.’  As the name implies buyers in this on demand era are aggressively demanding delivery of product and/or service at a high level of excellence from its providers and… at no surprise, delivered at very competitive pricing.  For solution and value added provider organizations operating in the higher cost of sales end of the complex sales process this new era is putting significant pressure on revenue generation strategies and in particular, with regard to new business development activity.

Accountability for generating revenue by frontline sales efforts from existing clients and new business development has never been more important.  In this context, organizations must take extra care to clearly define frontline sales roles, duties, goals and objectives and utilize assessment tools in the selection process.
Here’s a current reality relative to revenue generation:

77% of sales reps in Best-in-Class organizations achieved their annual quota,
compared to 38% for Industry Average and 26% for laggard companies.
Study conducted in October 2010 by the Aberdeen Group:

Business Acumen – Let’s face facts; it simply isn’t enough anymore to just work harder, you must also work smarter if you are to consistently achieve your corporate revenue and personal earnings goals.  What are the qualities of a best-in-class person?  Of the almost two hundred sales people that have worked for me over my career, I have observed the following:  “In every size organization there are a few sales persons who pay unrelenting attention to their personal sales activity and their sales pipeline and more.”  What is the benefit of this unrelenting attention?  These people consistently outperform their colleagues.  Why is this so?  Fundamentally, it is because these people invest part of their time to fully understand what their corporate and personal benchmarks are.  They don’t need nor want to be micro-managed to achieve results, they want management to encourage and support their efforts.  What are their benchmarks?  This answer will vary a bit; in most cases these people know what their monthly and annual revenue goals are and exactly where they stand against their goals year-to-date.  They are constantly evaluating their next steps with each individual opportunity against a defined sales map.  They are not stopped by obstacles; they find a way around them.  They know with relative accuracy the total amount of revenue opportunities that should be (or needs to be) in their pipeline at any given time.  And finally, they know with reasonable accuracy when near term revenue opportunities will close – and more.

I have had the pure pleasure to work with a select group of these best-in-class people as their advocate to deliver real value to the customer, generate revenue for the corporation and maximize individual earnings.  This process isn’t rocket science; it is Business Acumen at work and… at its best!

Business Acumen Reference:  Originating within corporate learning and development circles, Business Acumen is a concept pertaining to a person’s knowledge and ability to make profitable business decisions.  Despite a lack of consensus on an exact definition, Business Acumen is often closely linked with the fields of behavioral economics and financial literacy.  Additionally, Business Acumen has emerged as a vehicle for improving financial performance and leadership development.  Consequently, several different types of strategies have developed around improving business acumen.  Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Never Give Up!
Where are you in this continuum?  How well do you pay attention to your numbers?  As you read this – could you say what your corporate revenue goal is and where you stand year-to-date?  Do you have personal benchmarks?  It is important to recognize the process of moving from a laggard or industry average status to become best-in-class is not some light switch you just turn on; it takes an investment in time, hard work, persistence and working smart.  In summary; this process involves adopting a Deliberate Practice Regimen.

Good Luck and Good Selling.

2 thoughts on “3 SECRETS TO BUILDING A BEST-IN-CLASS SALES ORGANIZATION: Secret #1 Organizational Excellence”

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