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 Many times I see that companies measure their sales efforts against competitors in their industry.   Sometimes this makes sense and is often necessary for many reasons.  Knowing the competition, how we are performing compared to the competition, how we compare with market share of sales…these are all important.

But also consider comparing yourself to the universe of sales forces outside your industry.

It is well documented that world class companies like Apple, Disney, Southwest, Google, Ford, Starbucks, etc. all have histories of going outside their industry for ways to improve.   For example, Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks, said he learned more about how to create a unique experience by studying Disney.   And Apple never compare themselves to Dell, HP, etc.  They are always looking outside the computer industry for inspiration.

One of the ways you may want to see how your sales force compares is to check out the Aberdeen Group study that looked at Best of Class sales forces (Top 20%) and what they did in comparison to the others.  In a nutshell:

 1. Best of Class salespeople spend an average 4.33 hours a month in self-development, while all others spend 2.54.

 2. Best of Class sales organizations have 83% accuracy of their sales pipeling, while Laggards (the bottom 30%) are only 44% accurate.

 3. 77% of salespeople in Best of Class achieved quota, while only 26% of Laggards did.

 (If you would like to see the whole report, just send me an email and I’ll get it to you.)

To compare yourself to the best of ALL sales forces and not just competitors, you may consider having an outside analysis done of your sales force’s skills, strategies, management processes, hiring process, etc.  When picking a report, make sure the report compares your results to the top sales forces.

 I have some recommendations for reports like this, so email me if you would like them.

 jwilliamson@sandler.com

- Jody Williamson

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