cashStrategy is critical to many aspects of sales: competitive differentiation, quota attainment, building a strong team, and pipeline management. But according to new research from Sales Benchmark Index, having a solid strategy in place also benefits sales leaders personally.

For instance, sales leaders who head up a team using a best-in-class strategy outearn their peers by 37.5% -- a whopping sum of $153,126. They also enjoy greater job security, staying in their positions for five or more years. The outlook is much bleaker for their laggard counterparts, who are ousted after a year and a half on average.

That’s the good news. The bad news? The majority of sales leaders can’t even correctly define “strategy,” much less recognize if they have an effective or ineffective one in place.

In SBI’s research report How To Make Your Number in 2015, the organization notes that best-in-class sales leaders “had a clear definition, and a well-articulated description of their specific sales strategy.” To them, sales strategy meant “an operating plan for a company’s sales force,” and its purpose was to “allocate sales resources efficiently to drive selling costs down and revenues up.”

But their average counterparts choked on this question. “When we asked average sales leaders for their definition of sales strategy, they provided an incorrect answer,” the report states. “In most cases, they confused sales tactics with sales strategy. When we asked average sales leaders to describe their sales strategy, they could not.”

SBI delved deeper to uncover the reasons behind average sales leaders’ strategy issues. The top three problems, according to sales leaders, were the strategy was too similar to the competition’s, not aligned with buyer needs, or merely an amalgamation of tactics rather than a true strategy. According to the research, 78% of sales leaders are using the wrong sales strategies.

If you realize that you are indeed using the wrong strategy, the report offers six steps for how to get on the right track. Take some time to evaluate your sales strategy in the coming months -- organizational benefits aside, your wallet may thank you for it. 

Originally published Sep 24, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated June 15 2021

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