What Are World-Class Sales Leaders Doing That Others Aren’t?

July 11, 2019

An exceptional 9% of sales leaders qualify as world-class because they excel in 12 key sales practices. A new study [download page] from CSO Insights reports that these world-class sales leaders have higher win rates, quota attainment, seller retention and revenue plan retainment. So what are these world-class sales practices?

First off, how did CSO Insights determine which organizations fall into the distinction of world-class? Of the more than 900 B2B respondents analyzed, those designated as world-class were the organizations which “averaged a 6 or 7 (on a 7-point Likert scale) across the set of 12 practices.” The top 12 practices were identified “based on correlation, connection to positive results and breadth of those connections across a range of success metrics.”

A full 89% of world-class organizations say that customers have consistently positive interactions in every channel they use to engage the business, compared to 36% of respondents as a whole. With customers interacting on several channels across their buying journey, sales professionals can be challenged by knowing where and who to interact with throughout the journey. To alleviate this, a survey from Pointillist found that about two-thirds of what they considered to be high-performing customer experience professionals are mapping out their customers’ journeys.

A study by Walker Sands found that while the majority of salespeople and marketers feel they can become less siloed, the data from CSO Insights shows it is a common occurrence. Some 56% of those surveyed reported that their departments are siloed from one another. The issue of sales and marketing alignment is oft-discussed, as alignment between departments is a priority for many marketers but others are finding it to be a challenge.

So, while an earlier CSO Insights survey found that while more than two-fifths (43%) of respondents said sales and marketing did not even have a clear definition of what constitutes a lead, this most recent study found that nearly all (95%) of world-class organizations say that sales, marketing and customer service are effectively aligned on customer wants and needs.

That alignment also extends through all sales functions including management, operations and enablement with almost all (96%) world-class organizations saying these areas are effectively aligned to drive results, compared to only 35% of all respondents.

While slightly fewer (88%) of those deemed to be world-class say they have a clear strategy for leveraging operational and customer data as an asset for the sales organization, only 30% of all respondents can say the same. At this point, it is clear that data is not just leveraged by marketing departments – it’s also important for sales professionals, with Copper finding that a majority of enterprise companies rely on CRM and use it more than any other channel.

To find out other qualities world-class organizations possess, you can find the report here.

About the Data: Analysis was conducted on responses from 949 sales leaders (excluding small and microbusinesses). This sample was global in nature and spans across B2B industries, with particularly strong representation from the technology, manufacturing, healthcare, professional services and banking/finance sectors.


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