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Just Ignore Sales Ops Best Practices. Seriously.

If your organization has ever done much in the way of sales process improvement, the prospect of incorporating all the current best practices into your organization can be daunting. When you hear about the great results that “rock star” companies are able to achieve, you might even be tempted to adopt a “why bother?” attitude. After all, it seems unlikely that your firm will ever be one of those on the leading edge establishing best practices.

Don’t give up before you’ve begun!

But the companies that haven’t yet focused on adopting the plethora of best practices are often the ones that experience the biggest gains in the least amount of time. While we would love to see you adopt all the most current best practices, it’s really not necessary to achieve some dramatic improvements to sales results. Just a few key changes can work wonders.

Did you ever watch the “The Biggest Loser”? Whatever you think about whether the show was helpful or harmful for the participants, it illustrates our point about the opportunity for improvements pretty well. This reality show was on TV for many years, and it featured overweight contestants competing to lose weight over the course of a season’s worth of episodes. The way the show was set up, the people who lost the biggest percentage of their body weight had the best chance of winning.

You didn’t have to watch very many episodes to understand that someone who weighed 400 lbs when a season began had a much better chance of winning than someone who weighed 180 lbs. That’s because if you are significantly overweight, making just a small change in your diet and exercise routine can result in pretty significant weight loss. But if you are closer to the “ideal” weight, you’re going to have to work really hard to shed even a pound or two.

If you weigh 400 lbs, you might be able to lose 20 percent of your body weight – 80 pounds – just by adding a daily walk to your routine and cutting back on desserts for a couple months. And that weight loss is going to have a pretty significant impact on how you feel. Yes, you’ll still have a plenty of room for improvement, but those small changes can make a big difference. You might wish that you could get down to 150 lbs immediately, but making incremental gains over time is a much more achievable – and probably better – approach.

By contrast, if you weigh 180 pounds, dropping 20 percent of your weight – 36 pounds – is probably going to require some more intense exercise and a stricter diet. And anyone who has ever tried to diet can tell you that the last 10 pounds before your goal are usually the hardest.

Sales improvements work in the same way. If your company is in bad shape, making a 20 percent improvement is going to be fairly easy. By contrast, if you already implemented just about every improvement strategy and approach out there, making enough tweaks to get a 20 percent improvement may not even be possible.

If you’re at one of those companies with plenty of opportunities for sales process improvement, we have some suggestions for how to start. “Better” Practices for Sales Operations addresses your situation. It offers suggestions for ways to start making progress towards generating better sales results under less-than-ideal circumstances.

You should also check out How to Optimize Your Sales Funnel It explains how to boost sales performance with small improvements in just the right places.

Finally, we also recommend Getting Serious About Sales Effectiveness. It covers some of the most essential concepts and the mindset that you need to excel. If you start thinking like others in leading sales organizations, you’ll find that it’s just a matter of time before the results follow.

While the best practices might be out of reach today, they might not be so unattainable a few years from now — if you start making small changes today.

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