Stephen Newman’s Blog

“If I spray the shotgun pellets around enough, surely I will hit something.”

Early findings in the Miller Heiman 2010 Global Sales Best Practices Study show that in 2009, many sales people returned to the ‘shotgun approach’ – a clue, perhaps, that things were more difficult in 2009.

I’ve just come back from the Miller Heiman global conference in Las Vegas. It was a huge success.  People often ask me “How many of the World-Class sales performance organisations are Miller Heiman clients?” Simple – Miller Heiman was quoted by 34% of all participants as their key methodology and grew to 49% of the World-Class group. No other methodology is reported by a significant portion of the overall or World-Class groups. So Miller Heiman practitioners do seem to improve their odds of being World Class.

It’s astounding to see how well Miller Heiman has done, considering what this early glimpse of the 2010 Global Sales Best Practices Study reveals.

Get sight of the ‘first cut results’ here and now.

This global study of sales best practice is in its eighth year. But in 2009 the love affair with growth stopped. Economies went into recession. People found it really difficult to sell and grow. OK, no surprise here. But the survey shows that sales professionals did not help themselves. Remember, this study compares the practices of world class sales organisations to the rest. It is clear that the gap between average performance and fundamental sales best practice significantly widened at the expense of the organisations that did not remain focused.

In most organisations sales and marketing teams ‘disconnected’. They were less aligned in trying to find customers than world class organisations, who stayed calm and continued to partner their colleagues in marketing.

In many sales organisations people collaborated less in their search for business. Many reported more lost deals but couldn’t explain why. Meanwhile world class sales organisations took the trouble to find out and learn. There is much more in the study and a full executive summary will be available soon. But in my opinion 2009 will go down as a year of not just economic stress but one of ‘sloppy selling’.

My advice. Take aim. Keep steady

The big guns that stayed focused on their selling process and kept their target in site experienced better fortunes. Sales strategy is an effective weapon when you concentrate the mind. So it’s worth remembering a few traditional sales practices.

To register for a future copy of the executive summary of the Miller Heiman Global Sales Best Practices Study,  email

If you would like to benchmark your company against the study participants contact Stephen Newman on +44 (0)1923 818967 or email:

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