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Analyzing Sales Performance: Components of Strategy

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Written by Mike Schultz
President, RAIN Group

As they say, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. If you want to drive sales performance at a company, you can focus on all sorts of tactical areas—from people and training to enablement and operations—but none of these address the fundamental questions: Where are we going? What are we doing to achieve our goals? Who will lead us there?

Thus Strategy is one of eight categories of the Sales Performance WheelSM we study when analyzing how to drive the performance of a sales organization. The Strategy category of the wheel focuses on the factors that most affect the direction of the sales organization.

Below are 5 components related to sales strategy we analyze:

  1. Go-To-Market Strategy: Every sales organization has a direction. The question is whether it’s the right direction. Sales leaders must make conscious decisions about how they drive value for their market, how they make money, how sales, marketing, and delivery operations work with each other, why they win and grow, and their expectations for what the sales organization needs to do to bring their vision to life.

  2. Value Proposition: When we say “value proposition,” we don’t mean in the sense of an elevator pitch. We mean, from a strategic perspective, what value the overall organization, including the sales organization, actually brings to the table. This area also covers competitive position. Why buyers buy, and why they buy from you are critical factors that shape the sales organization and how it operates.

  3. Priorities: Every sales organization (well, every sales organization that wants to make progress) has priorities. The question is whether they have the right priorities, the right plan to execute those priorities, and the right leaders and team to execute them.

    According to our research, 69% of Top-Performing Sales Organizations prioritize improving sales force effectiveness. Only 57% of The Rest do. Further, only 51% of The Rest agree that “when company leaders set a priority, the priority gets done.”

    Read to learn how we define 3 performer groups: Elite, Top Performers, and The Rest.

  4. Pricing Strategy: There are numerous pricing strategy decisions organizations need to make. Some organizations discount because they must, and some do so intentionally as a part of a greater plan. Some seek to achieve premium pricing, while others are content with market rate. Some pursue high pricing to build strategic competitive advantage. Some pursue low pricing for the same reason.

    58% of Top Performers agree that “our pricing strategy allows us to capture maximum prices in line with the value we provide,” compared to only 41% of The Rest. Regardless, you need to define the best possible pricing strategy for your organization.

  5. Leadership: Who leads the sales organization, with what styles, how they collaborate with the rest of the organization, and how they collaborate and communicate with the sales team are all critical factors in sales effectiveness and optimization. Without strong leadership, even the best sales strategy will fail.

There are innumerable actions you can take in the name of improving sales performance. But many actions turn out to be meaningless if they aren’t informed and guided by a strong sales strategy and sales leadership.


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Topics: Sales Performance Improvement