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How to Capitalize on CSO Insights’ Latest Research

January 29th, 2015
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Any business savvy individual should have an understanding of the phenomena influencing the sales world… but who really has time for the kind of intensive data crunching required to get at the most valuable nuggets of information? Fortunately, the CSO Insights think-tank has recently completed its annual research analyzing various sales trends throughout the business world.

CSO Insights surveys thousands of Chief Sales Officers to gather information on challenges and strengths that have influenced their work. Data from these latest reports show some disconcerting trends, but understanding the implications of these trends opens up opportunities for companies to realize their fullest sales potential. Those interested in the full details can buy the report from the following link: http://www.csoinsights.com/publications. Luckily for you, we’ve summarized some of the results here!

The bad news: The percentage of sales reps meeting their quotas declined for the first time since 2008, dropping from 63% in 2012 to 58.2% in 2013. The percentage of “Revenue Plan Attainment” also decreased for the first time in four years, dropping from 89.2% in 2012 to 83.9% in 2013. Additionally, “Sales Forecasting Accuracy” is the lowest it has ever been, hovering at just above 45%… you don’t have to be a statistician to realize that VP’s of Sales could very well have a better outcome flipping a coin!

The decreases in these areas could stem from other declining trends relating to the use of formalized systems. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system usage, for example, is down for the first time in 15 years, suggesting that, as a whole, sales teams are becoming relatively complacent. This means brands that are able to tighten up their CRM could be in an especially advantageous position over the competition.

The study also examines four distinct types of sales processes (in increasing levels of formalization: Random, Informal, Formal, and Dynamic) and compares them against five levels of client relationships (in increasing closeness of client-relationships: Approved Vendor, Preferred Supplier, Solutions Consultant, Strategic Contributor, and Trusted Partner). The findings show that as organizations employ increasingly formalized processes, the lower levels of relationship have a reduced negative impact on performance. So a firm operating with a “formal,” i.e. explicitly defined and regulated, process will obtain more conversions even when the client relationship is less established.

The highest performing firms, however, utilize a “dynamic” sales process and constantly monitor changing market conditions to modify and refine their strategy accordingly. This process not only mitigates the influence of a weaker client-relationship, but can also improve that relationship through providing a platform for consistent client interaction. Implementing a dynamic sales process helps solidify a brand’s status as a high-performance entity in their field.

Just because other firms are experiencing difficulties in hitting their sales goals, doesn’t mean you need to struggle too. Step up with internal methods for contact management by incorporating CRM systems and formalized, dynamic sales structures based on analytics. While the competition is slowing their roll, you can take advantage of their complacency and use your sales team to its fullest potential to capture, compel, and close your target market.

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