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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
[Take the Survey] New Research: What’s Working in Sales Prospecting, What’s Not?

By: Mary Flaherty and Mike Schultz

If there's a black box in the world of sales, it's prospecting. What to do, how to do it, and what it means to be good at it. And with all the conflicting advice out there, it's especially difficult to figure out where to start and how to get better.

Making the Business Case for Sales Training: New Research on Supporting Top Performance

Executives are always on a mission to prove Kirkpatrick Level 4 measurement of training: Results. Specifically, they want to know to what degree targeted outcomes occur as a result of the training event and subsequent reinforcement.

There is relatively little data on how sales training correlates to business performance and results.

That is, until now.

Infographic: 5 Sales Skills to Differentiate Your Team

In our recent Top-Performing Sales Organization study, we were particularly interested in the sales skills that stood out when sellers not only met their goals, but also believed their goals were challenging.