When What’s Happening in B2B Sales Is Clear, Performance Can Improve


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Jon Vander Ark of McKinsey is the co-author of Sales Growth. As a summary of their findings, Vander Ark and his co-authors recently suggested in the Harvard Business Review that “CEOs Need to Get Serious About Sales” by:
a/ cranking up analytics to create greater visibility into what’s working + find opportunities for growth,
b/ building a ‘lean’ sales machine that’s continuously experimenting + learning [as in this example that we’ve seen], plus
c/ making sales success a cross-functional team sport

In this recent 20 minute audio interview, Vander Ark gives an example of how small acts to improve the visibility of new, large, potential deals enabled an industrial firm to double their sales. His example illustrates how simple awareness of key situations can trigger contributions and learnings that improve the performance of sales teams.

In a related interview with Anthony Iannarino, Vander Ark notes how experimentation with disciplined execution can let important issues trump urgent issues [the inverse of what’s normal]. In this case, a European firm concluded it needed to put more effort into Business Development. By creating ‘hunter days’ in which everyone in the firm called on 10 prospects, they went on to generate two months worth of leads in a single day.

Their findings confirm what we’re seeing: when what’s happening in B2B sales is clear for all to see, performance can improve. When it’s clear what’s working and what’s not working, choices about what practices to engage in become obvious. Analytics help. Analytics applied to disciplined, experimental, sales execution help more. Analytics that seed the development of good sales habits help most.


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