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What Defines a Top-Performing Sales Organization?

Two sellers are talking at the end of the day. One turns to the other and asks, “How was your day?”

“I had a great day,” the second seller says. “I sent out two proposals this morning, had a great first meeting with a new potential buyer, and finally got a meeting with a decision maker I’ve been trying to reach for a year!” Feeling proud, he asks the first seller, “How was your day?”

He answers, “I didn’t sell anything either.”

This is one of the challenging-yet-great things about sales. It’s measurable. At some point, you have to bring in the wins or you fail. Which begs the question, “What brings in the wins?” A few years ago we studied this from the buyer perspective and published the results in our book Insight Selling.

Now we’ve turned our attention to the organizational differences. Through the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research study, The Top-Performing Sales Organization, we studied 472 sellers and executives representing companies with salesforces ranging in size from 10 to 5,000+. 37% of respondents had less than $50M in revenue, 38% had between $50m and $1B in revenue, and 27% had greater than $1B in revenue. Respondents were located in the Americas, EMEA, and Asia-Pacific, and represented 26 industries.

While quite a bit of research has been published on what sellers do to achieve top performance, there’s relatively little on what separates top-performing sales organizations from the rest. There’s no common definition of “Top Performance” for a sales organization, so it’s not easy to isolate what the better-performing sales organizations do differently than the rest.

We’re working to change that.

Top Performance Defined

We categorized respondents into 3 performance groups based on five factors:



Top Performance Results

Here are the averages for the three performer groups across these 5 topics:

Win Rates Organizational Sales Goal Attainment



Organization Sales Goals are Challening Capture Maximum Prices in Line with Value Provided



In sum, Top Performers:

  • Win more sales
  • Set more challenging sales goals and achieve them
  • Are more likely to capture maximum prices
  • Are more likely to grow revenue and profitability

When we compared Top Performers to The Rest across 75 factors of the RAIN Group Sales Performance WheelSM, we learned that Top Performers lead and manage their sales teams quite differently.

Benchmark Your Organization Against Top Performers


Additional Reading
[New White Paper] Competencies of Strategic Account Managers

As part of our research this year, we have learned:

  1. The number one priority of sales leaders for the upcoming year is to increase business with existing accounts.
  2. Since 2012, there has been a marked increase in growth potential within existing accounts.
Top 12 Differences Between the Best Sales Organizations and The Rest

In our Top-Performing Sales Organization research, our goal was to assess what the Top Performers do differently than The Rest to achieve the best results. Top Performers have higher win rates, meet their annual sales goals, are more likely to set challenging sales goals, and are more likely achieve maximum prices in line with the value they provide.

We analyzed data from 472 sellers and executives representing companies with sales forces between 10 and 5,000+ sellers. Top Performers represent the top 20% of our database. The Rest—the bottom 80%.

5 Sales Skills You Need to Master

To succeed in sales, you need to have the right skills. You have to be able to lead masterful sales conversations, manage opportunities, uncover needs, negotiate the best deals, fill the pipeline, develop relationships, manage sellers, and the list goes on.