Bastian: Speed Kills — Optimizing Sales Performance with Deadly Accuracy


As organizations continue to rebuild and grow, the first area of focus is sales. In every for-profit business, all things begin and end with the strength (or weakness) of its sales department.

Now that the economy is ramping up again, optimizing sales performance will dictate the success or failure of an organization as the business landscape grows and becomes even more competitive.

Due to these factors, businesses are taking a much more innovative approach to maximizing the results of their salesforce with this goal: Make more money is less time.

Ironically, it all starts with an investment of just that — time and money.

Sales groups will optimize their performance when they begin to dedicate time and resources toward training, onboarding, and continuous support of their sales force.

In a CSO Insights Study published in the Harvard Business Review, it was noted that companies tend to adopt one of four levels of adherence to a sales process:

Level 1

Random Process: A company may be perceived as being anti-process, though what they really lack is a single, standard process. Essentially, every salesperson does their own thing their own way.

Level 2

Informal Process: A company exposes their salespeople to training and indicates that they should use these skills in their selling efforts, but that use is neither monitored nor measured.

Level 3

Formal Process: A company not only provides training, but also regularly reinforces the use of defined sales skills (sometimes religiously). They conduct periodic reviews of the process to see how effective it is, and then make changes based on that analysis.

Level 4

Dynamic Process: A company dynamically monitors and provides continuous feedback on salespeople’s application of prescribed sales skills. They also proactively modify the process when they detect key changes in market conditions.

As you might expect, when companies get more focused on training, process, and support, the win rate of deals increases. At Level 4, sales organizations are optimizing the performance of their people and seeing higher returns on the initial investments they’ve made with their employees.

So, how do you get started?

It all begins with strategy. Sales organizations need to be able to define their goals and objectives, map their processes, and train their people in a consistent, continuous flow of learning and support. These strategies also need to be consistent with the overall corporate culture and align directly with the comprehensive performance of the business.

By investing in planning, training, and continuous support of your sales team, companies have the opportunity to accelerate business growth and maximize the performance of their entire team.

And that is time and money well spent.

Joseph F. Bastian, president of The Human Performance Network, is a regular contributor to  and DBusiness Daily News.