Have You Benchmarked Your Sales Effectiveness?


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In this blog, we spend most of our time exploring topics related to selling more effectively. As our industries continue to evolve, there are many new variables, trends, and technologies to factor into selling efforts. At the same time, a basic practice—benchmarking—can provide you with some clear insight into where you should focus your efforts. While I am a firm believer that many decisions can and should be made on intuition, having some facts to back that up is always a good thing, and benchmarking can provide those facts.

For example, a study conducted by SAP in 2011 found that best run sales teams have 70% less customer churn and 50% less sales force turnover. Taking a look at where you stand on these metrics can help you evaluate where you invest time and money to drive improvement.

There are a number of different ways to benchmark your sales effectiveness. Here are three:

  • SAP Value Management Program – SAP has a team that functions independently from SAP product groups that does benchmark studies across a wide variety of business areas, including sales effectiveness. Their approach involves you completing a survey, getting some immediate summary results, and providing assistance along the way in both survey completion (if there are questions) and analyzing the results. For sales effectiveness, we have worked with them to create a shorter version of the survey that gives you a basic idea of where you stand on some key metrics. You can go here to use that survey. If you find this information interesting, you can explore working with the Value Engineering team on a more comprehensive study.
  • The Sales Executive Council (part of the Corporate Executive Board) often does benchmarking surveys on a variety of topics. They are currently doing one, sponsored by SAP, on Sales Effectiveness. To participate (the program is open now), visit this link. You will receive a copy of the results when the survey is complete.
  • Finally, one of the key organizations that contribute to our blog, Sales Benchmark Index, uses benchmarking as a core part of their sales consulting model. You can learn about their programs here.

In closing, I always remember this information nugget from a presentation by Colin Powell on Decision Making:

Part 1: “Use the formula P=40 to 70, in which P stands for the probability of success and the numbers indicate the percentage of information acquired.”

Part2: “Once the information is in the 40 to 70 range, go with your gut”

Benchmarking your Sales Effectiveness will help you get to that 40 to 70 percent range to provide you the information you need to balance your intuition with facts and make good decisions.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Hank Barnes
Hank Barnes provides research and advisory services on go-to-market strategies--particularly around marketing, positioning, and customer experience--for technology providers. Hank has more than 25 years of high-technology sales and marketing experience in both field and corporate roles, both as an individual contributor and the marketing leader for several startups. He is a long-time proponent of customer-centric marketing and the use of customer experience as a key differentiator for business success. His posts here include content from his days with Adobe, SAP, and now Gartner


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