Enforcing Execution Excellence in Enterprise Deals

Establishing clear standards for your revenue team ensures consistent deal execution. Learn how to empower your enterprise team & close more deals.


Modern B2B buyers are well-informed, take their time to consider options, and resist talking to sales teams until absolutely necessary. This makes the sales process more complex because buyers conduct extensive research and comparisons on their own, emphasizing the need for execution excellence.  

The number of decision makers in a sales cycle has also increased. In a company with up to 500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions. This number is even higher in large enterprises, where dedicated buying committees review potential options and make decisions. These committees often include members from various departments such as finance, operations, IT, and management. 

This means for revenue teams to succeed in today’s market, they need to be strategic, patient, and thorough. Sales teams have to engage with multiple stakeholders, address the concerns of numerous people, and provide detailed information to support each decision maker's needs. 

But this is easier said than done. Only 55% of reps have the skills to be successful. Even more sobering, only 8% of leaders are good at both strategy and execution. These statistics don’t reflect a lack of talent but rather a lack of proper training and access to the necessary tools to succeed. 

Hitting revenue targets in modern enterprise deals requires execution excellence, particularly in complex, multi-stakeholders scenarios. With so many decision makers and variables involved, precise and consistent execution helps reps close more deals while building trust and credibility with customers. 

In this article, we’ll explore how to set the standard for execution excellence. We’ll cover key strategies such as creating and enforcing effective playbooks, fostering a culture of continuous improvement, selecting the optimal tech stack, choosing the most effective sales methodology, and holding your team accountable.

B2B Enterprise Orgs Setting Standards for “Good” Pre-Internet 

Before the internet simplified finding information and comparing customer-facing assets, organizations had to define “good” on their own, often through trial and error. However, four companies — IBM, Xerox, PTC, Salesforce — stood out as leaders during this time. They established foundational standards for selling to and retaining customers, setting the bar for excellence in their respective fields. 


Since its founding in 1911, IBM has been at the forefront of innovation, laying the foundation for the IT sector through significant investments in research and development. 

This commitment created a culture of continuous improvement and technological advancement. Recognizing the critical role of customer service in long-term success, IBM prioritized extensive employee training. This ongoing learning and development includes role-playing, simulations, classroom training, case studies, computer-based training, and now, e-learning. 

These programs focus on employees' long-term development. As a result, IBM employees consistently deliver high-quality customer experiences, bolstering the company's reputation for reliability and excellence.

IBM has also maintained strict quality control measures, such as Six Sigma methodologies, aimed at minimizing defects and improving processes. These rigorous standards have enabled IBM’s products and services to consistently exceed customer expectations, allowing the company to thrive for more than a century in an increasingly competitive market.


Founded several years before IBM, in 1906, Xerox disrupted the business world with its cutting-edge office technology. One of its most successful innovations came in 1959 with the release of the Xerox 914, the first plain paper photocopier. Other notable inventions include two-sided copying machines, laser printers, and color copiers. 

The company’s long-standing success can be attributed to its innovative, forward-thinking approach to technology, its customer-centric sales strategy, and its dedication to continuous employee development.

Xerox involves customers in product development so it can make products people actually need. Even before the internet, the company would gather feedback directly from customers and use it to shape its innovations. 

In terms of employee development, the company says, “At Xerox, where you start is not where you’ll end up.” With abundant opportunities to learn different skills and advance in their careers, the company has fostered a culture of continuous improvement and growth for over a century. 


Since its founding in 1985, PTC has grown into one of the largest and fastest-growing technology companies in the world. The company serves a diverse range of sectors, including aviation, medical devices, technology, and environmental industries. PTC focuses on transforming how these industries design, manufacture, and service their products.

With a market cap of $21.10 billion, you might wonder what makes this company so successful, especially since it launched before the internet era and continues to thrive today.

PTC's success can be attributed to its focus on developing disruptive, reliable software solutions tailored to the needs of its clients. The company takes a customer-centric approach to product development, often working directly with customers on ideation and feedback to create products that address their pain points.

Additionally, PTC invests heavily in continuous improvement and employee development. By offering extensive training programs and opportunities for skill enhancement, PTC ensures its workforce remains highly skilled and motivated, contributing to the company's ongoing innovation and success.


Founded in 1999, on the verge of the dot-com bubble burst, Salesforce scaled rapidly, but faced challenges. By 2000, the company had to lay off 20% of its 40-person workforce. Despite these hurdles, Salesforce launched its innovative 1-1-1 model which commits 1% of Salesforce’s equity, technology, and employees’ time to build a more sustainable world. 

By 2001, Salesforce had become the fastest-growing customer relationship management (CRM) company in the world, serving more than 3,000 global customers. In 2004, Salesforce went public, and just four years later, it made history being the first cloud computing company to surpass the billion-dollar mark in annual revenue. 

Today, Salesforce has a market cap of more than $227 billion, transforming areas such as customer relationship management, sales, marketing, revenue operations, and customer service. The company’s success can largely be attributed to its customer-centric approach, innovative solutions, and commitment to continuous improvement. 

The red thread between these four companies and their long-standing success is clear: businesses that prioritize the needs of their customers and invest in the growth of their employees are more likely to succeed. This dual focus enables companies to remain responsive to market demands while simultaneously building a skilled workforce capable of driving innovation and excellence. 

The Execution Gap in Enterprise Sales

The execution gap in enterprise sales is the discrepancy between a company’s strategic goals and its ability to successfully execute on those goals. This gap often arises due to several common issues. These include: 

  • Unclear priorities: If reps are uncertain about where to focus their efforts and why, it creates misalignment. 
  • Unenforced methodology: Even with a strong sales methodology in place, if it isn’t consistently enforced, it will result in inefficiencies and inconsistencies in your sales process. 
  • Lack of guidance/coaching: Reps need ongoing support to improve and stay aligned with strategic goals. Without consistent coaching, they won’t know how to improve or understand why it’s important. 
  • Insufficient resources: Having the right information, tools, and resources is essential for success in sales. Without these, sales teams struggle to execute their strategies effectively.

To close the enterprise execution gap in sales, it’s important to be proactive about addressing these issues and keeping your team aligned. Additionally, consider involving your team in brainstorming sessions before making big changes. Not only will this improve adoption when you opt to rollout new initiatives, it will also give you an opportunity to gather feedback from your frontline team, understand their apprehensions, and hear their ideas. Engaging your team in this way creates a culture of open communication, making them feel valued and involved in the decision making process

Setting the Standard for Execution Excellence

To set the standard for execution excellence in enterprise sales, begin by translating your strategy into repeatable playbooks. These playbooks should offer simple, straightforward, step-by-step processes for your reps to follow. 

Once the playbooks are established, focus on creating a culture of continuous improvement. In this culture, reps understand that making mistakes is okay and that constructive feedback is there to help them improve.

You’ll also need to provide ongoing coaching for your team, allowing them to refine their approach through simulations, role-playing exercises, and real-time feedback. Then, set and enforce clear standards of what good performance looks like so your customers have a consistent experience. 

Lastly, introduce a sales methodology that works for your team and enables your reps to close deals more efficiently.

Now that you understand the basics of setting the standards for execution excellence, let’s dive deeper into each strategy. We’ll explore why each one is important and provide practical steps on how to get started.

Creating & Enforcing Sales Playbooks

Before diving into the creation of your enterprise sales playbooks, assess what works for your organization. To make this determination, you’ll want to: 

  • Analyze historical data: Review past successes and failures to identify patterns and insights. Leverage existing technology, such as your CRM, to showcase sales outcomes and pinpoint what strategies are most effective.
  • Review key metrics: Consider important metrics for your organization such as deal size, average time to close, conversion rates, and customer acquisition costs.  
  • Leverage technology: 
  • Gather feedback from your team: Ask your reps what methods they find most effective and what their biggest challenges are
  • Benchmark against industry standards: Examine the successful practices of other companies, including the sales methodologies they use. 
  • Engage with customers: Collect feedback from customers to understand their buying journey and analyze case studies to identify best practices and areas for improvement.

Once you collect these insights, you can start creating repeatable sales playbooks for your team based on proven best practices and effective strategies. Involve key stakeholders, such as your product and marketing teams, to ensure the playbooks contain accurate, up-to-date product information and align with your overall company objectives. 

Your repeatable playbooks should include: 

  • Step-by-step processes: Detailed stages of the sales process, from lead generation to close. 
  • Scripts and templates: Standardized communication templates for emails, calls, and meetings so all of your reps are working from a single source of truth. 
  • Qualification criteria: Clear criteria for qualifying leads to focus efforts on high-potential prospects.
  • Objection handling: Common objections with suggested responses to prepare reps for customer concerns.
  • Best practices: Documented best practices for each stage of the sales process based on data and feedback.Remember, you don’t want your reps ever having to guess what the next steps are - you want them to feel confident throughout the entire sales cycle. 
  • Performance metrics: Key performance indicators to track and measure the effectiveness of the playbooks.
  • Training materials: Resources and guides to help reps understand and implement the playbooks effectively.

B2B sales playbooks are an essential part of execution excellence, but they aren’t a “one and done” process. Regular updates and maintenance will be part of your playbooks to ensure they’re always accurate and contain the winning strategies your organization needs to succeed. 

B2B sales playbooks are essential for achieving execution excellence, but they aren't a "one and done" process. Regular updates and maintenance are crucial to ensure the playbooks remain accurate and reflect the latest winning strategies your organization needs to succeed. 

To enforce the playbooks, integrate them into your sales team’s daily workflows. Provide reps with comprehensive training on the content, and explain the benefit of using them and how they can help your reps close more deals. Use CRM systems and sales enablement tools to monitor adoption and track key performance indicators. Provide ongoing coaching and feedback to reinforce best practices and address any deviations from the playbook. Regularly review and update the playbooks based on performance data, market changes, and feedback from your sales team to keep them relevant and effective.

Continuous Coaching and Enablement 

Continuous coaching and sales enablement are key to creating a culture of execution excellence. These practices help reps improve both individually and as a team, driving your organization forward and continually challenging your team to excel.

Carve out regular time for feedback sessions, simulations, one-to-one coaching, and role-play exercises. Keep in mind, the more often you do this, the more ingrained these practices will become in your team's routine. Frequent coaching and training sessions help reinforce best practices, address skill gaps, and keep everyone aligned with the company’s goals and strategies.

Provide your frontline managers and sellers with the tools, resources, and training needed to do their jobs well. Doing this will improve employee retention and satisfaction, while also creating a better customer experience. 

Choosing the right sales methodology 

The right sales methodology can help your organization increase win rates by up to 15%. But before you choose a methodology, first consider factors such as your target market, sales cycle length, product complexity, and the unique needs of your customers.

Remember, there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach to sales. ​​What works for one company may not work for your organization. Before making a decision, spend time researching the five most effective sales methodologies: Solution selling, Challenger, SNAP selling, SPIN selling, and MEDDPICC.

Here’s a high-level overview of these sales methodologies:

  • Solution Selling: Focuses on understanding the customer’s needs and providing tailored solutions to address their specific problems.
  • Challenger: Involves teaching, tailoring, and taking control of the sales conversation to challenge the customer's thinking and add value.
  • SNAP Selling: Emphasizes simplicity, alignment, and prioritization to speed up the sales process and cater to busy, distracted buyers.
  • SPIN Selling: Uses a questioning framework (Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-Payoff) to uncover customer needs and demonstrate the value of the solution.
  • MEDDPICC: A complex sales methodology that involves Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Identify Pain, Champion, and Competition to navigate enterprise sales processes effectively.

To learn more about these sales methodologies and when to use them, click here to read our in-depth article. 

Selecting the right tech stack and tools for enterprise 

Choosing the right tech stack and tools for your team can make the difference between a highly efficient workforce and one that struggles to close deals. In sales, it's crucial to be discerning about which CRM, content management, and sales intelligence tools you select.

Here’s why:

  • CRM: A robust CRM system provides a centralized platform for tracking customer interactions, managing leads, and analyzing sales data. This streamlines processes, ensures consistent customer experiences, and enables data-driven decision-making, ultimately boosting your sales team’s performance.
  • Content Management: Effective content management tools organize and distribute sales collateral efficiently. They provide your team with easy access to the most relevant and accurate information, allowing them to provide prospects with valuable resources. This not only enhances the sales process but also maintains brand consistency and supports a more professional presentation.
  • Sales Intelligence: Sales intelligence tools offer critical insights into market trends, customer behavior, and competitive analysis. By leveraging these tools, your sales team can identify opportunities, tailor their approach to meet specific customer needs, and stay ahead of the competition. This strategic advantage helps execute sales plans more effectively and achieve better outcomes.

Selecting the right combination of these tools empowers your team to work smarter, not harder. It facilitates a seamless flow of information, supports strategic decision making, and enhances overall efficiency.

Fostering a Culture of Accountability

When it comes to creating a culture of accountability, you don’t want to be a “do as I say, not as I do” leader. If you are, your team will struggle to trust your guidance and may not take your expectations seriously. To foster true accountability, lead by example. Demonstrate the behaviors and work ethic you expect from your team. 

This allows you to then hold your team accountable to their goals and objectives without losing their respect along the way. Make sure you set clear expectations, regularly review performance metrics, and provide consistent feedback along the way. This way, no one is ever surprised when you hold them accountable. They’ll understand the standards and recognize that accountability, along with coaching and deal reviews, is a shared commitment to success and a key component of execution excellence.


In the introduction, we mentioned that only 55% of reps have the skills to be successful, meaning nearly half of your sales team isn’t operating at full capacity. Additionally, only 8% of leaders excel at both strategy and execution. 

Overcoming these challenges is no easy feat; it hinges on how well you set and enforce the standard for execution excellence. By building and utilizing effective playbooks, fostering a culture of continuous improvement, selecting the optimal tech stack, choosing the most effective sales methodology, and holding your team accountable, you can set your organization up for long-term success. 

And remember: continuous learning and improvement are key. Make it your mission to regularly assess your strategies, seek feedback from your team, and stay informed about industry best practices. This way, regardless of market conditions, your organization has the tools and skills necessary to weather any storm.