5 Secrets Of Successful Sales Teams

Salesforce, one of the big players in sales and customer relationship management (CRM) cloud software, recently picked the brains of over 2,300 global sales leaders. Here's five secrets of the best sales teams in the world.

#1 Customers and growth matters most

Unsurprisingly, customer connections take top priority. Even though acquiring new customers is absolutely crucial, creating deeper customer relationships was also very important to global sales teams. Interestingly, the amount of recurring revenue was somewhat less significant. Perhaps in a rapidly-changing customer environment we can't always count on customer loyalty - "customer churn" is now a fact of life. You have to focus on the big picture and instead automate the process of recapturing customers.

#2 High performing sales teams use sales analytics

The report found that high performing sales teams are 3.5 times more likely to use anlaytics compared to underperformers. Over 50% of high performers used analytics versus 16% for underperformers. Additionally, top teams were almost 5 times more likely than underperformers to rate their sales analytics capabilities as "outstanding or very good". 

What exactly are sales analytics? Salesforce reports it involves:

  • Basic and predictive sales analytics
  • Gathering insights across the entire customer lifecycle
  • Customised dashboards using defined KPIs
  • Collect, analyse and act on prospect or customer feedback via multichannel surveys and social platforms

#3 High performers sell more with mobile

Here's an interesting but overlooked fact - high performing sales teams were found to be "significantly more likely" to use a mobile sales app, allowing them to track and progress deals wherever they are. 60% of high performers used mobile sales apps versus only 28% of underperformers.

Additionally, top performers were found to have an "outstanding or very good capability" in mobile sales, knowing how to use their smartphones confidently. Underperformers lagged far behind, with less than 10% admitting to having mobile mastery. 

#4 Teams that sell together, win together

Salesforce says that high performers are nearly 3 times more likely to view sales as the responsibility of the whole organisation. This stands in stark contrast to moderate and underperforming sales teams - how often have we seen most of a company think of sales as "just something for the salespeople to handle, I'm in accounting for goodness' sake!" (no offense to the accountants reading this). Suffice to say, customers and potential customers demand a unified brand experience no matter what part of the business they deal with - and this significantly affects sales.

#5 High performers are high tech

The report found that "top teams supercharge their processes with tech". 31% of high performers had heavy tech adoption vs a paltry 4% of underperformers. Interestingly, all respondents had around 50% of "moderate tech adoption". However, high performers used tech intensely where it matters - in areas such as sales analytics, customer insights, competitive intelligence and targeted sales content. Does this spell the doom of old-school salespeople?

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Photo credit: Flickr/Flazingo.com. Research credit: "State of sales [2015]" by Salesforce Research.