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Today, customers are often more than 50 percent through the buying process when they meet sales representatives for the first time.
Companies can increase their relevance to this informed and demanding customer base by using an agile selling approach.
Agile selling uses connected customer insights to differentiate the buying process, provides a consistent buying experience across all channels, and leverages social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) capabilities to reduce time to market.
In collaboration with Accenture, the 19th annual study on sales performance optimization was conducted by CSO Insights, a leading research and benchmarking resource for chief sales officers (CSOs). The report presents a number of key findings and an analysis of emerging sales trends and issues as well as suggesting measures to help organizations optimize sales effectiveness.
Infographic: CSOs Mind the Gap: Leading Practices for Agile Selling Download Infographic [PDF, 1.75MB]
The Accenture and CSO Insights research surveyed more than 1,200 companies worldwide to:
Accenture’s analysis and insights focus on inputs from 177 respondents from companies with at least US$1 billion sales revenue.
The research emphasizes that CSOs face significant challenges in meeting their revenue objectives. Agile selling can help companies operate at dramatically different execution speeds and collaboration levels. When done strategically, it can help achieve the flexibility, accountability and responsiveness required to capitalize on growth opportunities in today’s challenging environment.
To be effective in this new era, CSOs recognize that they and their C-level counterparts need to take a holistic, customer-centric approach that draws together marketing, sales and service to deliver a consistent and superior customer experience. Within the sales function, CSOs are focusing on improving sales effectiveness—from strategy, processes and incentives to talent enablement and operations.
Data from CSO Insights 2013 show that:
Seventy five percent of CSOs are targeting more than 5 percent revenue growth this year…yet almost half (47 percent) have concerns about how to achieve that growth.
Less than one-quarter of total leads come from existing customers…but it’s faster to sell to an existing customer (76 percent say it takes six months or less to close a deal with an existing customer versus only 43 percent reporting that short time frame with new customers).
Sixty five percent of sales reps’ time is non-customer facing…and one-third of reps are not expected to make quota.
Seventy six percent of CSOs perceive that mobile CRM (such as tablets and capabilities) improves the sales team’s performance…yet less than one-half (48 percent) of companies are currently providing access to critical sales and customer information on mobile devices.
Read additional findings in the report. [PDF, 681KB]
Based on the research and our experience with leading companies around the world, we have identified the following ways to help CSOs improve sales effectiveness:
Enhance integration of marketing, sales and service: Align heads of sales, marketing and service around common, customer-centered objectives.
Improve the customer experience at each touch point: Create a tailored and integrated customer experience across all channels.
Strengthen immature sales methodologies and processes: Balance the art of selling with the science of analytics and structured processes/methodologies.
Apply more science to sales talent acquisition, development and retention: Transition from unscientific hiring practices to the creation of robust, effective sales teams.
Drive better outcomes from sales technology enablement: Leverage social, mobility, analytics and cloud (SMAC) to increase sales effectiveness.
July 11, 2013
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