The Execution Edge

One of the common themes in conversations we’re having with business executives is how different things are today than they were 1, 3, or 5 years ago. Many say that sales which used to come predictably and quickly are now less predictable and taking twice as long to close.

In response, firms increasingly pursue new growth strategies. Yet, according to Forrester, CEOs see their growth strategies being impeded by sluggish adjustments in sales execution.

There’s mounting pressure to improve B2B sales practices. Well intentioned responses to this pressure often fail to improve results. Typical changes focus on:

  • Faster execution, with the aim of completing existing tasks more efficiently OR
  • Feeding more info to Reps, with the aim of helping them do their work more knowledgably

What’s missing from such changes is any proof that new practices produced better results. What’s worse is that such attribution of impacts, where there is any, is a long time in coming. Therefore, adjustments are shaped by assumptions of what works best absent any proof of what does work best. Several months later, when revenues fall short of expectations, the head scratching begins anew, pressures for change re-appear, and the whole vicious circle starts in earnest again.

If we want better results from sales practices, what’s needed is more proof of how today’s practices are affecting results. Approaches that shrink the time it takes for Reps and their managers to observe root cause effects. Approaches that provoke small, smart, improvements in practices. Informed by a clear read on what’s working and what isn’t.

Imagine, for instance, a sales team growing its average margins 24.8% in four months. In the same market. With the same sales team. Just imagine.

Such adaptive sales organizations out-perform expectations. As they learn, faster than others, their execution keys to getting better results. That’s the performance edge, in execution, that growth-focused CEOs are after.

About the Author

John Cousineau is the founder and CEO of innovative information inc. His firm helps sales organizations increase revenues by using analytics to identify, share, and improve best practices in Bus Dev.

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