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What Separates the Best Sales Organizations from The Rest?

One of our primary goals at the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research is to find out what real sellers and sales leaders are doing to achieve their results. With What Sales Winners Do Differently, we wanted to know what individual sellers do to win sales opportunities compared to those who come in second place.

In our recent Top-Performing Sales Organization study, we shifted our scope to an organizational scale, looking to answer the question: what do the Top-Performing Sales Organizations—those with the best sales results—do differently than The Rest?

Factors that define Top Performers compared to The Rest include:


Top Performers represented the top 20% of all respondents to our study. The remaining 80% made up The Rest. So, what makes the two groups different?

We included 72 factors in our study that impact an organization's ultimate sales performance and growth. We surveyed 472 sellers and sales executives in companies with sales forces ranging in size from 10 sellers to 5,000+, and asked them if they agreed with each of the 72 factors.

3 factors stood out as representing the largest gap between what Top Performers do vs. The Rest.

The Top 3 Differences Separating the Top-Performing Sales Organizations from The Rest

  1. Our sales organization is effective at maximizing sales to existing clients across capability areas

  2. Our company leaders prioritize developing sellers to be as valuable to our buyer as possible

  3. We are effective at assessing seller skills, knowledge, and attributes that support top sales performance

We also asked companies about their sales priorities for the year ahead. The top 2 priorities include:

  1. Increase business with existing accounts (50%)

  2. Improve ability to communicate value (42%)

See the trend?

Communicating value, developing sellers to be valuable to buyers, and maximizing sales to existing clients all go hand-in-hand. If you can't communicate the value you provide across the capability areas of your company, it's hard to convince existing clients that they will benefit from your other products and services.

Clearly Top-Performing Organizations are much further ahead than The Rest on these 2 key priorities...and they're reaping the rewards.

Additional Reading
[New Research] Benchmark Report on Top Performance in Strategic Account Management

When we studied strategic account management in 2012, 59% of sales leaders believed there was greater than 25% revenue growth potential in their existing accounts.

In a separate, more recent research initiative, we found that the #1 priority for sales leaders in the year ahead is to increase business with existing accounts. We also discovered that Top Performers are nearly 2x more likely to be effective at maximizing sales to their existing accounts.

5 Essentials for Managing Your Sales Organization’s Talent

Attracting and retaining top sales talent is a huge challenge for many companies.

If you want to take your sales results to the next level, your organization must have the right people in the right roles, performing at a high level day in and day out. You also need the right management team with an effective process in place to ensure this all happens.

How to Maximize Prices and Improve Margins

With increased product and service commoditization, sellers in almost every industry complain about price pressure and shrinking margins.

At the same time, there are some sellers and sales organizations who are consistently winning sales against lower-priced competitors and growing their margins.