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5 lessons from informed innovations in B2B sales productivity in 2011

As 2011 draws to a close, time to reflect back on the over 6000 words I shared thru 18 blog posts this past year. They were, in the end, a window into the work of our clients. With a big thanks to those of you who’ve been part of our continuing conversation, here are the five key lessons arising from those conversations + results we’ve been seeing:

Lesson One: sales leaders understand there’s a need for more craftsmanship on the front-lines of sales execution and know there’s a new coaching role emerging for themselves in making it happen. Lessons from Twyla Tharpe struck a chord.

Lesson Two: the science of predictably high sales performance is improving, interest it it continues to build, and technologies are emerging that make it increasingly possible. Highlights from from the Sales2.0 Conference are an example.

Lesson Three: the real science behind improving sales productivity is more than just analytics. Like Moneyball, it uses data unconventionally to spot new ways to compete that others are missing. Those new ways are enabled with a shift in what players are held accountable for and how they’re coached.

Lesson Four: what’s working and not working in B2B sales is a lot less obvious than those involved are inclined to assume. With better metrics on what’s being achieved from what’s being done, surprises become the norm. Buyer traction is often less than most Reps assume, and more variable between Reps than most Managers desire. Once spotted, performance gaps are often being narrowed by basic adjustments in the fundamentals of selling.

Lesson Five: the emerging sales management challenge is less about getting things done RIGHT NOW and more about getting things done RIGHT. Efficiency has been the focus; effectiveness is becoming the focus. As sales management evolves into its emerging coaching role, the focus is less about compliance and more about personal accountabilities. There’s considerable practical wisdom on the front-lines of sales. ‘Moneyball’ firms are harnessing + nurturing it.

May the champagne you pop on New Years Eve be a precursor to the champagne you and your team pop at your 2012 fiscal year-end. And may one or more of the above lessons be helpful to you in getting to that ‘popping moment’. Happy New Year!

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Use this word cloud to quickly navigate into our posts on these and other issues:

(double click on a word to highlight it)

This entry was posted in Change management, Craftsmanship, Metrics, Productivity, Results, Return on Effort, Sales coaching and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 5 lessons from informed innovations in B2B sales productivity in 2011

  1. John Holland says:

    The linchpins of sales performance improvement are first level sales managers. Many got promoted because they were top individual performers and struggle to impart intuitive skills to their sellers. Assessment is difficult without a standard approach, standard skill set and a way to pinpoint deficiencies. Putting more structure into the various stages of sales/buying cycles is needed to allow organizations to rely less upon art and more upon science with their salespeople.

    • John says:

      John: thanks for your perspectives. Agreed. Effectively, Lesson Six: in firms that are using science to hone sales performance, they’re executing in structured ways that show how sales efforts impact sales results.

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