Sales Culture Trends: Is What We Are Doing Enough?

According to our recent sales culture research, the answer is no – on average, sales organizations are not improving. Four separate DoubleDigit Sales surveys from 2008 to 2016 reveal that across everything, from selling skills to management, the average sales organization remains just that: average.

Yet, the best sales organizations have evolved in response to the changing marketplace. They aren’t altering what they’re doing, but rather how they’re doing it – and how frequently.

So, how have the best sales organizations adapted? Let’s first define ‘Best.’

To qualify as best in our research, sales organizations must have attained:

  • More than 110% of revenue plan and;
  • More than 60% of salespeople at or above plan

Eleven organizations (6%) of the 183 responses to our 2016 survey qualified as best.

Several key differences have emerged between the best and average sales organizations:

They spend more direct time with their salespeople

The best sales organizations meet with their salespeople frequently and consistently. For reference, 60% of the best sales organizations hold weekly team meetings; this is compared with the average of 44%.

Likewise, 60% of best sales organizations’ managers hold weekly one-on-one meetings with sales reps, as compared with 25.5% of the average organizations. These frequent meetings drive accountability and results.

They use pipeline reports to drive productivity

Interestingly, although more frequent, the best sales organizations’ meetings were rated as only marginally more effective than average. But the impact of the frequent meetings jumps off the page in one category: “Pipeline helps drive productivity.” Here, the best score a whopping 8.6 out of 10, as compared with a pedestrian 6.3 out of 10 on average.

Clearly, the best now use pipeline reports more effectively. These leaders don’t wait for monthly reports. They access instant data on activity and build it into their weekly meetings to boost prospecting efforts and have more productive conversations.

They have a consistent focus on prospecting

The best scored higher in selling skills than average. Prospecting, in particular, stood out. When asked whether each member of the sales force has the skills to effectively prospect for new business, the best scored 6.4 on a scale of 1-10. This is compared with 5.6 on average, and up from the best’s 5.7 score in 2013.

Likewise, in response to a question whether each member of the sales force makes time to prospect for new business, the best organizations scored 6.8 out of 10. This compared favorably with a 5.5 score in average organizations.

The best organizations demonstrate that you can improve your sales culture through training and effective management, even in a challenging economy.

In fact, when we asked the best organizations to rate their sales culture, they scored themselves 7.5/10. Yet, when asked if they are happy about the current state of their culture, they scored themselves lower at a 5.7/10. They recognize that they haven’t attained what’s possible; which is why the best keep getting better.

For more insights on what drives highly engaged, productive sales cultures, access our Sales Culture Effectiveness Report.

Building a great sales culture – like a solid pipeline – takes relentless focus on behavior change. Ask us how.