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Top Takeaways From Ebsta’s 2024 B2B Sales Benchmarks Report

Being a high performer in the Sales world has always been tough.  

But then came COVID…and then inflation.

The result?  Sales is still tough–actually more so than before.

BUT..thankfully there are companies like Ebsta (yes, shameless plug for our awesome partner) around to help!  They just released their 2024 B2B Sales Benchmark report, revealing the attributes of top performers according to an analysis of $54 billion in revenue.  

Bottom line:  it is an absolute MUST READ for anyone/any company looking to see what top performers do and how they can apply some of the insights to their own sales processes.

How Do Top Performers Do It?

In 2023, only 31% of reps exceeded quota (these are the people we need to learn from).

There are 5 key attributes which separate top performers from average performers:  

  • Pipeline Generation
  • Qualification
  • Objection Handling
  • Relationship Management
  • Deal Management. 

In keeping the vibe of 5…here are 5 key takeaways from each:

Pipeline Generation

Precision Targeting Boosts Sales Effectiveness

Top performers excel by focusing on high-potential accounts and personas, leading to a significant sales velocity increase (+488% for certain personas) and a 3.4x higher closing velocity for high-intent accounts. Successful prospecting relies on leveraging historical data and predictive insights.

Untapped Potential in Partnerships for Lead Generation

Partnerships deliver a 3.8x higher lead conversion velocity, yet only 8% of businesses utilize this channel. Expanding beyond traditional methods like outbound and paid channels presents a valuable opportunity for accelerated lead generation.

Tailor Lead Sources to Company Size for Optimal Results

Larger companies (500+ employees) benefit from organic inbound strategies, doubling sales velocity. Smaller companies (<500 employees) find outbound efforts more valuable, with average deal values tripling those from inbound sources. Tailoring lead generation to company size is key for efficiency.

Finance Leaders Facilitate Deals, Not Hinder Them

Finance leaders, including VPs of Finance, contribute to the third-highest velocity among analyzed personas. The challenge is strategic timing for involving them in the sales process, debunking the notion of finance as an obstacle and positioning them as crucial allies.

Data-Driven Prioritization Drives Success

Top performers rely on data to prioritize sales efforts, from choosing target accounts to selecting lead generation channels and adapting strategies to different company sizes. A data-driven approach ensures a tailored and effective sales approach.


Methodology Effectiveness

Top-performing sales professionals, once engaged with prospects, exhibit a 588% higher likelihood of effectively following a methodology. This indicates that they not only understand but also implement a structured approach to navigate the sales process.

Strategic Pipeline Management

High achievers in sales demonstrate diligence in managing their pipelines. They utilize a qualification methodology to assess whether a prospect is a suitable fit as a customer. By doing so, they are 366% more likely to close opportunities at the 'Discovery' stage, avoiding wasted time on unviable deals.

Proactive Qualification

For top performers, qualification doesn't just mean checking a box; it serves as the foundation for a proactive sales process. Instead of hoping for opportunities, they leverage their discovery insights to engage key decision-makers early with targeted messaging, leading to a 489% higher likelihood of involving the "Economic Buyer" before the "Solution Presented" stage.

SPICED Methodology

Utilizing the SPICED methodology, top-performing sales reps average 4.7 meetings with 3.4 contacts to achieve over 80% completion. Completing SPICED by the Solution Presented stage increases the chances of winning a deal by 307%. In addition, top performers show a 349% higher likelihood of successfully completing the SPICED methodology.

MEDDPICC Methodology

In the context of the MEDDPICC methodology, high-performing sales professionals engage in an average of 5.6 meetings with 5.2 contacts to achieve over 80% completion. Completing MEDDPICC by the Solution Presented stage boosts the likelihood of winning a deal by 324%. Additionally, top performers demonstrate a 361% higher probability of successfully completing the SPICED methodology.

Objection Handling

Critical Skill for Top Performers

Handling objections is a crucial skill for sales professionals, with top performers being 843% more likely to overcome objections compared to their peers. This skill enables them to build compelling business cases and navigate initial reservations.

Timing Matters

The majority of objections arise early in the sales process, presenting both obstacles and opportunities. Analysis shows that 77% of slipped opportunities featured key objections raised early. Top performers, 366% more likely to close at the "Discovery" stage, demonstrate the importance of addressing objections proactively.

Deal Progression and Objection Handling

Top performers not only handle objections but also leverage their qualification to anticipate and overcome objections. They are 366% more likely to close an opportunity at the "Discovery" stage, demonstrating a proactive approach to objection handling that positively impacts deal progression.

Impact on Deal Lost Reasons

While average performers often lose deals due to reasons like lack of budget, priority, or competition, top performers are 364% less likely to lose a deal due to indecision. Their reasons for closing opportunities differ, with features and ROI being standout concerns, showcasing a more strategic approach to deal closure.

Opportunity in Objections

Objections present opportunities for top performers. They can turn concerns over ROI into accelerating deals, especially when addressed early in the process. Timely handling of objections is crucial, as delaying responses to objections, particularly regarding ROI, significantly decreases the likelihood of closing deals by 79%.

Relationship Management

Success Depends on Relationship Quality

The foundation of successful negotiations lies in cultivating high-quality relationships with the right individuals within the target organization. High-performing negotiators are significantly more likely to possess the necessary strong relationships, with a 519% increase in their likelihood of success compared to others.

Early Engagement with Economic Buyers is Crucial

Top performers are 241% more likely to involve the 'economic buyer' before reaching the stage of presenting a solution. Successful deals engage with a total of 9 contacts by the solution presentation stage, while unsuccessful deals typically involve only 2 contacts on average, highlighting the importance of early engagement.

Activity Levels Reflect Deal Progress

Activity metrics serve as indicators of a deal's progression, with successful negotiations demonstrating a 100% increase in activity during the discovery stage and a 240% increase during negotiation. Conversely, lost deals exhibit 58% more activity in early stages and a 75% decrease in later stages, emphasizing the significance of balanced and appropriately timed activity.

Effective Negotiation Requires Early Stakeholder Engagement

To excel in negotiations, top performers initiate engagement with key stakeholders before presenting a solution. The negotiation stage witnesses intensified activity with these stakeholders to finalize details. In contrast, unsuccessful deals involve early activity but lack reciprocation and engagement, leading to a limited number of stakeholders during solution presentation and increased activity during later stages, indicative of a reduced likelihood of closure.

Late Engagement Damages Deals

Unsuccessful deals often feature a burst of activity with few contacts, primarily in one direction. This one-sided flurry, combined with minimal stakeholder engagement during solution presentation, results in increased activity as the deal stalls in later stages. By this point, the damage to the negotiation process has occurred, significantly reducing the likelihood of a successful closure.

Deal Management

Proactivity in Partnership

Top performers in deal management distinguish themselves by taking a proactive approach in partnering with buyers. Instead of waiting for buyers to come to them, they guide and collaborate with buyers to find the right solutions. This proactive engagement contrasts with average performers who often passively wait, leading to indecision.

Strategic Time Management

Time is a critical resource in deal management, and top performers excel in strategic time management. Spending an appropriate amount of time in each stage of the deal is crucial. The likelihood of deal slippage significantly increases if too much time is spent in a particular stage, with a 50% longer "Qualification" stage resulting in a 120% higher chance of slippage.

Momentum Maintenance

Maintaining momentum during the in-flight phase of deals is a hallmark of top performers. They define and consistently update next steps as deals progress, reflecting on the necessary actions to advance the deal. Unlike average performers who may skip stages, top performers thoroughly execute each stage, ensuring continuous progress.

Strategic Discounting

Top performers exhibit restraint in offering discounts, using them judiciously when necessary. In contrast, average performers often resort to early discounting in an attempt to revive or rescue opportunities. The data reveals a significant 39% drop in win rates when discounts are offered prematurely.

Proactive Pipeline Generation

Successful deal managers not only focus on current opportunities but also proactively self-source future pipeline. They cultivate and maintain quality relationships both during and outside the sales process. Instead of imposing solutions prematurely, they nurture relationships so that when the time is right, the prospect already considers them as a preferred vendor.

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