Practice doesn’t make perfect; it makes permanent. The key therefore is to practice right.
This is one of several insights offered in Perfect Practice. It’s a cookbook, from 3 former educators, that offers some intriguing insights into how sales execution [as a form of practice] can improve sales performance.
One of the keys to ‘perfect practice’ is improving what’s learned from what’s done. Effective practice requires feedback that clarifies how practices impact outcomes. Such feedback typically arrives as analytics, supported with coaching. By contrast, in Business-to Business [B2B] sales, it’s hard to practice, productively, when our sense of how productive we are is more intuitive than observed. It’s a bit like practicing to become a concert pianist with a piano that emits no sound.
Based on the authors’ findings, here are 7 leadership recipes for improving B2B sales productivity with ‘perfect practice’ on the front-lines of sales execution:
- Be systematic, and data-driven. Mastery demands it. Give feedback with a number. It allows people to know where they stand and lets coaches set goals without being the source of judgement.
- Set specific actionable steps for incremental improvement. It’s the greatest lever to developing talent and getting the game right. This requires analyses of what it means to get it right.
- Deliver feedback with speed. Brief feedback given right away improves performance far faster than more extensive feedback later. The speed of feedback is crucial determining its success.
- Don’t ignore mistakes; support people fixing mistakes before the mistakes become bad habits. Which required fast data on what mistakes, if any, are occuring. You can’t fix mistakes that you can’t see.
- Identify simple, repeatable, actions that can be quickly mastered. Make simple behaviors a habit. Like calling the right prospects, at the right times, for the right reasons. Like listening more than talking. When simple things that matter are practiced intentionally, they can solve big problems.
- Reinforce how behaviors influence outcomes. What buyer issues, with what types of buyers, yield sales conversations? What conversational and follow-up practices yield next conversations? Watch for the right things, then measure success. Measure the effectiveness of your practices AND how often you’re engaged in the right practices.
- Practice success. What you practice, and how well you practice it, affects how much success will come from what you’re doing.
To improve B2B sales productivity, what’s practiced matters. How well the right things get practiced matters most.
In this, both coaching and analytics have key roles to play.
About the author
John is the founder and CEO of innovative information inc., makers of Amacus. His firm provokes improved B2B sales productivity by helping sales teams see + improve the buyer value of their sales practices.
Follow John at @jcousineau.
Looking for even more helpful sales tips? Download the free e-book below for a full 100!