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What Keeps Sales Leaders Up at Night? And how Sales 2.0 can help

I just finished reading an advance copy of the 2010 Sales Effectiveness Study released by CSO Insights, which reveals what sales leaders across the country worry about most. Sales leaders know that their sales organizations could perform better – if they only had a faster way to diagnose and stop the many efficiency leaks. Below are some of the key findings, comments, and suggestions.

Research fact: The top three objectives for sales leaders in 2010:

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Comment: Every sales leader is focused on increasing revenues. There is no silver bullet for achieving that goal.

The most surprising result of the survey was the fact that sales organizations that implement Sales 2.0 technology actually overachieve compared to others that are slow to catch on to this powerful sales effectiveness trend.

Phone Works founder and CEO Anneke Seley and author of the book Sales 2.0 presented an eye-opening slide last week in a Citrix-sponsored Webinar (see below).

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Comment: What would happen if your reps could improve their quota by 13 percent? That’s one of the key benefits of moving up to Sales 2.0.

Research fact: Thirty percent of all forecasted deals that didn't materialize were lost to the competition. Why? These competitors either had a better relationship with the customer or received a better price or terms.

Research fact: Almost 24 percent of all forecasted deals end up in no sale. What this really means is that the prospect decided not to buy from anyone.

Research fact: Nearly 62 percent of all sales leaders surveyed say that their ability to generate new leads needs improvement.

Comment: Too many salespeople are pursuing leads that have not been properly qualified. As a result, they’re chasing garbage trucks instead of Brinks trucks. The majority of sales managers are not happy with their lead-management efforts.

Action idea # 1: Invest in a Sales 2.0 tool, such as Marketo, that delivers marketing automation, lead nurturing, and lead scoring to generate more high-quality leads while improving sales effectiveness.

Research fact:Forty-seven percent of the companies surveyed (1,600 companies participated) reported that their salespeople generate their own leads.

Comment: You may say, "That’s what they are paid for." Correct, but ask yourself: Are you happy with the results? What if there was a better way to improve your bottom line?

Action idea # 2: Move up to a Sales 2.0 solution, such as one from Inside View. Give your salespeople access to real-time sales intelligence that significantly increases sales productivity. Armed with company information and social information on one screen, salespeople will engage buyers at a level that’s almost competition proof.

Research fact: Only 51.8 percent of all sales reps make their quota.

Comment: Does this make you wonder what is not working in your sales process? Which step is the most time consuming? How can you convert more of the salesperson’s screen time to face-to-face selling time (or headset to headset)?

Action idea # 3: Invest in a Sales 2.0 tool, such as Big Machines, that accelerates the product configuration, quote, and proposal processes, helping salespeople sell more and a lot faster with 100 percent accuracy. Your salespeople can configure, quote, and propose a solution in 10 minutes, instead of sitting in front of a computer screen for four hours.

Action idea # 4: Drive a repeatable sales process across your entire sales organization with such Sales 2.0 tools as the sales playbook by Kadient. Kadient arms salespeople with sales playbooks (integrated with your CRM program) that include the situation-specific content, tools, and coaching steps needed to close more sales.

Research fact: Forty-four percent of all companies surveyed confirmed that their sales compensation needs improvement.

Comment: When it comes to compensation, salespeople can be very sensitive, and their pride in their achievement can be easily hurt. Here are the most common compensation problems: payout mistakes, payment delays, disconnect between incentive comp and profit margins, error prone and time-consuming spreadsheet work.

Action idea # 5: Step up to an Xactly solution that transforms compensation management into a strategic tool to motivate sales reps. It makes sales compensation faster and easier while cutting errors and aligning sales compensation with the company’s bottom line.

Research fact: Forty percent of sales leaders say they don’t have timely access to accurate metrics.

Comment: Most successful sales organizations have established a culture of measurement where critical processes are associated with performance metrics. While forecasting accuracy can help companies shave inventory cost, the 2010 CSO Insights survey states that only 12 percent of companies intended to implement technologies to optimize pipeline/forecast management.

Action idea # 6: Right90 can help sales leaders quickly and accurately generate a reliable and trusted sales forecast. As a result, companies save on inventory cost, avoid canceled orders, and optimize their manufacturing cost.

Comment: Selling and sales management is changing from 1.0 to 2.0. To see the latest Sales 2.0 solutions in action, check out the Sales 2.0 Conference on June 28th in Boston.

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quaker92

Great post. There are a few Sales 2.0 tools that can help sales professionals. One tool/category that was not mentioned is business collaboration software. I think it can be used as a supplement to your traditional CRM solution. We use it and there is not a better way to create, categorize and exchange information with clients both pre and post sale. It is one of the few technologies that adds direct value to the client and prospect as well as our internal teams. We currently use a product called the BCN by DRE Software (www.dresoftware.com). You should check them out and inquire about their corporate plans. The service they provide is excellent.

Nigel Edelshain

Gerhard,

Right on. I believe 2010 is the year when we need to CHANGE sales people's BEHAVIOR.

It's amazing in the real world that these great Sales 2.0 tools exist but SO many sales forces are NOT yet using them.

Now the rubber must hit the road. It's time for the PEOPLE element of the Sales 2.0 revolution to happen.

Thanks as always to shining a light on this great opportunity for all professional sales people and managers.

Nigel

Chad Levitt

This is an excellent post and brings into focus some areas sales organizations and reps need to improve. If only 51% of reps are making quota there is much work to be done by sales organizations and reps. Learning to sell socially, use social media platforms and adapting inbound marketing techniques to the sales process are all ways sales reps can sell more effectively in Web 2.0. The New Rules of B2B Selling are in place and opportunity is there for those who know learn how to game the new rules. Check out www.NewSalesEconomy.com for more on how to use sales 2.0, social media, and inbound marketing as a sales strategy for the Web 2.0 world.

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