What is sales excellence? Well, excellence is an amorphous and difficult thing to not only define but also achieve. We could spend years in therapy talking about how to know when you’ve achieved excellence in both your personal and professional life. When will all these feelings of inadequacy and inability to measure up to Bill who lives next door ever subside? Probably never! But I don’t get paid to be a therapist so that’s fine, you’ll be fine, deep breaths. Instead we’re going to talk about sales excellence because that’s just what we do over here.
Like we just talked about, defining sales excellence is a difficult task. Even more difficult is tacking on objective measures to sales excellence that allows an organization to say, “radical, we are most excellent at sales!” Every organization is going to have their own unique blend of metrics and measurements they use to determine their standing. To borrow a phrase, you know sales excellence when you see it.
However a sales excellence definition in broad strokes goes like this: Sales excellence is the measure of how successful not only an entire organization is at closing more deals, but also a measurement of the success of individual sellers. Sales excellence takes into account how quickly deals are closed, how many deals are won, a sellers comfort with all of the tools at their disposal, an organization’s ability to support sellers, and much more.
All the preamble is of course not to say you should just throw a dart at the wall and be done with it, there are actionable steps you and your organization can take today to start measuring sales excellence. And by gosh, we’re going to talk about those steps!
Defining Sales Excellence and Measuring Sales Excellence
One of the most important steps your organization will have to take is defining sales excellence internally. You will need to have frank discussions about what success looks like and how success is achieved. Maybe throw some chairs around and really let loose. Actually, don’t do that. Forget I said that, OK? Can we just move on with the blog? Great, thanks.
Anyway, those discussions should settle some benchmarks for obvious things like quotas, deals sourced, meetings held, engagement effort, account mapping, etc. etc. Those are classic sales metrics that reveal the success of a seller.
But since we’re in the era of sales enablement you also need to start thinking about how other metrics factor into sales excellence. Sellers aren’t just going door-to-door anymore. That died with Willy Loman. Sellers must be finely-tuned machines that are in touch with not only sales best practices, but also have a keen understanding of Marketing’s efforts, and—especially—be attuned to the personal needs of each buyer.
To account for these shifts in the duties of a seller your metrics for sales excellence should consider these things:
- Time to Full-Ramp: Onboarding might be the most crucial time for a seller. More work put in at the beginning yields better results, quicker. Factoring in how quickly a seller is up-to-speed is a good measure of how effective they are at selling.
- Content Engagement: How often is a seller utilizing the content that exists for the express purpose of moving a buyer along their path?
- Sales Communication Analytics: An effective sales communication tool will leverage a platform that sellers spend a majority of their time within. Measuring how often a seller is accessing the types of communiques—things like industry news, content announcements, organizational updates—will show an eagerness to be prepared and present buyers with the most up-to-date information possible.
I’m going to repeat myself here because that’s important for the conclusion of any piece of writing. Every organization is going to have their own unique formula for determining sales excellence. But don’t get hung up on just the traditional sales metrics. Oftentimes there are other measurements that can reveal important trends and reveal sales excellence in their own right. Finally, always remember to be excellent to each other.