Have we found the Silver Bullet of Sales Effectiveness?

5 minute read

I did not know about this, but in June and July 2010, Aberdeen Research surveyed 835 end-user organizations to learn about their use of sales effectiveness solutions, examine their performance, and determine the causality of approach and result. Imagine our delight when Aberdeen informed us that customers of The TAS Group outperformed everyone else! (See chart below.)

I could go on about how we always knew this. Our unique (maverick?) approach that we’ve been taking was strategically sound, based on scientific principles, and supported by unique automated intelligence etc., but while this is true – we knew how well our customers were doing – we didn’t know the extent of the gap between us and others.

For us this was a great opportunity to learn from an unbiased source about what’s working for our customers, and why our customers are more successful than all others. So, we engaged further with Aberdeen, and asked them to dig into the reasons for our customers’ success. There are valuable lessons here for everyone, so I wanted to share with you what we’ve learned.

Alignment of Stakeholders

You may have read my post on our Customer Success Charter, where we expend considerable resource to ensure that all stakeholders – including the sponsoring executive, sales management, sales reps and supporting functions like sales operations and L&D – are aligned on the desired and expected outcome of the sales effectiveness initiative. The independent data from Aberdeen shows that this approach works.

For example, of all the companies surveyed 68% (81% of TAS Group customers) report that top executives are active sponsors, and the consequences are:

  • 18%+ difference in team attainment of quota
  • 25%+ difference in customer renewal rate
  • 25%+ difference in the number of reps achieving quota
  • 24%- reduction in sales turnover.

Sometimes it is hard to map these statistics to your business, so to help you determine what this means to you, I’ve come up with a notional company with salesforce of 100 reps, each with an average quota of $1,000,000, and each achieving average quota attainment of 62% – the Aberdeen average. (TAS Group customer average is 75%)

Team Attainment of Quota: If you have 100 reps, each with $1m quota, your increased revenue would be 18 x $380k (remembering that average team quota attainment is 62%.) That’s a lot of money. On its own that’s a $6.8m opportunity.

Reduction in Sales Turnover: As claimed by Aberdeen, the average cost to replace is $30,420 and the average time to productivity is 5 months. So if you can reduce that by 24%, or 4 reps per hundred, then your saving in replacement cost is $121,680, and the revenue opportunity cost is $1m x 5/12 x 62% x 4 which is $1.03m.

CRM Integration

You’re possibly fed up of hearing me hark on about this one, but it’s always made sense to me that if you’re a sales rep, you want to have the sales methodology available to you when you’re working your opportunity in your CRM. It should be smart, contextual and intelligent, and guide you to what you have to do next to win the deal. From the Aberdeen report the case for this is hugely compelling with 55% of Best in Class customers (65% of TAS Group customers) adopting this approach. Just look at the difference in Year-on-Year change. While it’s never as simple as this, the inference from the data is that if you integrate your sales methodology with your CRM you will grow. If you don’t you will shrink.

Performance Dashboards and Sales Analytics

You might survey and blog post I did regarding ‘What Motivates Sales People’.

The result of that survey pointed to the desire to be continually making progress and the need for tools and analytics to support that desire. The Aberdeen report suggests that Best-in-Class companies adopt both Performance Dashboards and Sales Analytics to answer in real-time, the question “How am I doing?”.

For our customers we provide Dealmaker Performance Coach as part of our Dealmaker Sales Performance Automation solution to address that need. Based on Aberdeen’s data, customers of The TAS Group lead others 71% to 58% in using these tools – and remember The TAS Group customers are outperforming everyone else.

Coaching, Coaching, Coaching

Finally, and I was really delighted to see this, sales coaching works.

You may have seen my recent posts on this here, here and here. Aberdeen says that “Customized Coaching Deployments are Married to Best in Class Capabilities”. Here’s some of the data for Best-in-Class companies. Those who follow this course

  • Customized coaching used 16% more than average by Best in Class companies These companies achieve 20% better quota attainment for first year reps
  • Use of formal sales methodology used 73% more than average by Best in Class companies
  • Best in Class companies use manager specific training 80% more than average.
  • External (versus internal) sales effectiveness provider used 60% more of the time by Best in Class companies.


Now, of course we’ve not found the silver bullet, and while each of these independently help a lot, it’s the combination of approach, methodology and supporting technology that has contributed to our customers’ success.

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