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A Survey of Sales Effectiveness:Global Research on What Drives Sales Success                       Contributors:          ...
IntroductionTo gain a better understanding of the sales skills andbehaviors required to succeed in today’s marketplace,Ach...
Key Findings               The selection of important               sales activities differed for               respondent...
Key FindingsThe following bullets summarize the key findings              • Sales leaders were more likely than outside sal...
To better understand the relationship between sales               • Sales training activities and sales performance in tod...
We asked sales professionals to select the three activities    • Following up after the salethat are most critical to thei...
Sales Performance                    We observed sales perfor-                    mance in two ways. The first             ...
The performance of sales professionals participating in        We would also expect that the performance of sales-the stud...
Table 2. Key Sales Activities Selected Most Often by High, Medium, and Low Performers   Sales Phase             High Perfo...
Survey respondents were asked to select their most challenging sales phase and the phase where they have hadthe most succe...
We examined the relationship between sales performance and agreement with the organizational support activities.  The foll...
Latent Class Cluster Analysis:Coaching and Training                        The LC approach assigns                        ...
The Latent Class (LC) analysis is an extension of thetraditional cluster analysis approach. In general, clusteranalysis is...
The Impact of Training & Coaching  • Agreement with “my organization offers training               • More than a quarter o...
The following analysis considers the relationship between      • Communicating solutions through engagingthe identified clu...
Table 5. Key Sales Activities Selected by Respondents With Various Levels of Training and Coaching   Sales Phase          ...
We also looked at the relationship between the coaching/           The table on the following page (Table 6) shows thetrai...
Table 6. The Relationship Between Training & Coaching and Organizational Support      On a scale of 1 (completely disagree...
Deal Size and Company Revenue                 This section examines the                 relationship that company and     ...
This section examines the relationship between the ave-            The size of the sales deal shows a higher level variati...
Table 7. Key Sales Activities Selected by Respondents According to Deal Size and Revenue                                  ...
The size of sales deals showed no relationship with thelevel of support an organization offers to their sales-people with ...
Sales Position                 The level of support sales                 professionals receive from                 their...
We asked respondents to identify their position in the          interests in outside topics” more highly than salessales o...
Table 9. Key Sales Activities Selected by Outside Salespeople vs. Sales Leaders   Sales Phase             Outside Salespeo...
Table 10. The Relationship Between Sales Position and Organizational Support      On a scale of 1 (completely disagree) to...
Primary Sales Focus(New Business vs. Servicing Existing Business)                            Those respondents who said   ...
More than half (55%) of all sales professionals responding        • Using social media to networkto the survey said that t...
Table 11. Key Sales Activities Selected by Respondents Who Focus On Finding New Businessvs. Servicing Existing Customers  ...
Conclusion
Sales success is created by providing differentiated and      Even with the right sales skills and sufficient organiza-exc...
Appendix
Appendix 1: Correlation Coefficients for Sales ActivitiesThe following is a correlation coefficient matrix that shows the ...
A Survey of Sales Effectiveness: Global Research on What Drives Sales Success
A Survey of Sales Effectiveness: Global Research on What Drives Sales Success
A Survey of Sales Effectiveness: Global Research on What Drives Sales Success
A Survey of Sales Effectiveness: Global Research on What Drives Sales Success
A Survey of Sales Effectiveness: Global Research on What Drives Sales Success
A Survey of Sales Effectiveness: Global Research on What Drives Sales Success
A Survey of Sales Effectiveness: Global Research on What Drives Sales Success
A Survey of Sales Effectiveness: Global Research on What Drives Sales Success
A Survey of Sales Effectiveness: Global Research on What Drives Sales Success
A Survey of Sales Effectiveness: Global Research on What Drives Sales Success
A Survey of Sales Effectiveness: Global Research on What Drives Sales Success
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A Survey of Sales Effectiveness: Global Research on What Drives Sales Success

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To gain a better understanding of the sales practices required to succeed in today’s marketplace, AchieveGlobal conducted a worldwide survey of more than 1,000 sales professionals. Read our research to uncover important conclusions around sales activities that lead to success.

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Transcript of "A Survey of Sales Effectiveness: Global Research on What Drives Sales Success"

  1. 1. A Survey of Sales Effectiveness:Global Research on What Drives Sales Success Contributors: Mark Marone, Ph.D. Chris Blauth
  2. 2. IntroductionTo gain a better understanding of the sales skills andbehaviors required to succeed in today’s marketplace,AchieveGlobal conducted a worldwide survey of morethan one thousand sales professionals. We report thefindings in this paper and draw several important con-clusions around the sales activities that generate results.This study focuses on two key areas of sales:• First, sales professionals were asked to select the most important activities in each sales phase that they feel have the greatest impact on their success.• Second, the study investigates the level and type of support sales professionals receive from their organi- zation in terms of training, technology, and customer support.In this report, we look at these two areas and comparethe responses for different groups of sales professionals,including:• Their sales position in the organization• Their focus on new or existing business• The size of the company and average size of their sales deals• Their sales performance (ranked as high, medium or low by a number of factors)Examining the responses by different groups yieldsinteresting findings regarding what sales professionalssay are the most important activities contributing totheir success and the degree to which their organizationprovides critical sales support.Specifically, new insights around the critical elementsthat affect the customer’s experience were uncovered.The role of sales coaching and training, and its impor-tant influence on success, was also investigated.1 | A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS
  3. 3. Key Findings The selection of important sales activities differed for respondents based on their sales performance, deal size, and the training and coaching they received.
  4. 4. Key FindingsThe following bullets summarize the key findings • Sales leaders were more likely than outside salesfrom the survey: professionals to agree that their organization• The sales phase that respondents said they had supports the sales force with training, coaching, the most success with was “Establishing Rela- technology, equitable treatment, etc. tionships and Uncovering Needs” (36%), while • Those focusing primarily on servicing existing the number one phase they found most challenging customers performed better over the past year in the past year was “Developing New Business” (54%). compared with those focused on developing• There is a remarkable consistency in the selec- new business. tion of the three most critical activities in each • Sales managers responded similarly to salespeople, sales phase, with some noted exceptions. but outside sales professionals responded most• Across each sales phase, there is more varia- differently from sales leaders and executives. tion (less agreement) in “Developing Business,” • The two most influential variables that defined “Presenting a Solution,” and “Closing a Sale.” the groups in the cluster analysis and had the• There is less variation (more agreement) with strongest relationship with organizational support “Preparing to Sell,” “Establishing Relationships,” activities are Sales Coaching and Sales Training. “Following up after the sale,” and “Personal • Respondents in the substantial and moderate Selling Attributes.” (High/Medium) coaching/training clusters were• There was tremendous agreement with the top more likely to have larger deal sizes, reported three selections of activities in the Personal Sales a better sales performance over the past year, Attribute category. These activities are primarily and generally came from larger companies. related to integrity: being direct and honest, • Similar to respondents reporting a larger deal treating others with respect, and demonstrating size, the high and medium coaching/training a higher ethical standard. groups were more likely to select those activities• When analyzing variation in activities by that are more strategic in nature. Those from the different groups, we see the most difference low coaching/training cluster were more likely to in responses by Deal Size (and Company Size), select activities that are tactical in nature. followed by a cluster of respondents that said • The coaching/training clusters are highly their organization provides Training and correlated with organizational support. That Coaching, and then Sales Performance. There is, those organizations that offer training and is also a high level of variation for certain countries. coaching are more likely to support the sales• Respondents agreed most that their organiza- force in other ways. tion succeeds in “Clear Company Objectives,” “Fair Treatment of Salespeople,” and “Salespeople Meeting Operational Requirements.”• They agreed least often that their organization “Used Metrics and Dashboards Effectively,” “Salespeople Followed the Sales Process,” and “SFA Made Selling Easier.” These organizational support activities, however, were more prevalent for high-performing salespeople.3 | A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS
  5. 5. To better understand the relationship between sales • Sales training activities and sales performance in today’s economy, we • Sales coaching asked respondents to rate on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “completely disagree” and 5 being “completely agree”, • Company objectives that are clear to salespeople their agreement with statements regarding their own • Fair treatment of salespeople by sales leaders organization’s support of their sales effort. Through our secondary research and interviews with sales organiza- • Implementation of metrics and dashboards tions internationally, we identified the importance of to track performance an organization in supporting sales efforts through trai- • Effective sales-force automation ning, coaching, technology platforms, customer service, • Appropriate recognition and reward effective compensation and reward systems, and other policies and procedures that facilitate successful sales. • Sales compliance with operational/report requirements • Service, expertise, and support provided by non-sales We analyze the relationship between the ratings of se- resources in the organization lected sales support activities by sales performance, sales position, country, and other variables. Respondents rated The following table (Table 1) ranks the mean score their agreement with the following support activities: (five-point scale) from highest (activity with highest level of agreement among respondents) to lowest (activity • Resources and tools to research customers/markets with least agreement). Respondents were in most agree- • Formal sales processes ment that their organization’s objectives are clear to • Compliance with formal sales processes salespeople and in least agreement that their sales-force automation system makes their job of selling easier.Table 1. Level of Agreement With Statements Related to Organizational Support On a scale of 1 (completely disagree) to 5 (completely agree), to what extent do you agree with the following? TOTAL Our company objectives are clear to salespeople. 3.96 Our sales leaders treat salespeople fairly and equitably. 3.88 Salespeople in my organization meet operational requirements for reporting, completing necessary paperwork, attending meetings, etc. 3.80 People in no-sales roles provide the expertise and support needed to secure the sale and provide service to customers after the sale. 3.77 My organization provides resources to help salespeople to research and understand customers and their markets. 3.75 Salespeople in the company are appropriately recognized and rewarded for selling efforts. 3.69 My organization offers training that salespeople need to do their job. 3.53 Our salespeople receive valuable coaching from their sales managers. 3.53 We have a formal sales process that defines how we sell. 3.47 My organization effectively uses metrics or dashboards to manage sales performance. 3.40 Our salespeople consistently follow a formal sales process. 3.27 Our sales force automation system makes the job of selling easier. 3.19 A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS | 4
  6. 6. We asked sales professionals to select the three activities • Following up after the salethat are most critical to their success in each of six sales - Establish regular contact with customers to maintainphases. Throughout this report, we analyze respondents’ long-term relationships.selection of a series of sales behaviors and activities thatare categorized by different phases of the selling pro- - Ensure that your organization delivers what wascess. Following are the phases within the sales process promised to the customer.and the top three rated activities within each phase: - Quickly resolve service issues and requests.• Preparing to sell A seventh section includes activities that reflect overall - Have a complete understanding of the products and/ personal selling attributes that are critical for success. or services being sold. The top three activities selected most often in this category are: - Actively build and maintain a network of contacts. - Be direct and honest in all communication. - Understand the competition within your marketplace. - Treat prospects, customers, and internal partners• Developing business with respect. - Effectively use telephone/in-person/electronic means - Maintain high ethical standards. to secure appointments with decision makers. In the following sections, we examine the relationships - Generate referrals from the existing customer base of different groups of sales professionals with the sales and contact network. activities they selected as being most important to their - Prospect continuously to keep the pipeline full. success. We also highlight any differences in the level of organizational sales support for each category of• Establishing relationships respondents. - Ask questions to uncover customer needs and motives. - Build trust during each customer interaction. - Listen actively by expressing interest and asking follow-up questions.• Presenting a solution - Configure solutions to meet the unique needs of the customer. - Clearly explain the links between solutions, benefits, and customer needs. - Offer unique ideas and insights that prospects have not considered before.• Closing the sale - Resolve customer concerns including price objections. - Stay alert to buying signals and ask for the business at the right time in the sales cycle. - Look for innovative ways to meet client needs.5 | A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS
  7. 7. Sales Performance We observed sales perfor- mance in two ways. The first involved creating an indicator of success based on the percent change in respondents’ quota, average deal size and overall sales revenue.
  8. 8. The performance of sales professionals participating in We would also expect that the performance of sales-the study is a key variable for comparing the relationship people be related to organizational support, sincebetween the selection of sales activities and organiza- organizational support should improve sales results.tional support. More specifically, we would expect that Again, as we show on the next page in table 2, there arespecific sales activities tend to be selected as important relationships between performance and ratings of severalsuccess factors by higher performing salespeople, selling-support activities.while those not performing as well tend to focus onother activities. • High performers were more likely to select the following as being critical to their success:We observed sales performance in two ways. The first - Possess an understanding of products/servicesinvolved creating an indicator of success based on being sold.three questions relating to the percent change in quota,change in deal size, and change in overall sales revenue. - Have an in-depth knowledge of the customer’sThese three questions were combined to create an index industry.of overall individual sales performance for the past year. - Identify new opportunities in existing accounts.High Performers represent those who have a combinedscore that falls in the top third of the combined scores - Conduct in-depth research of prospectfrom the three questions, while Medium Performers fall organizations.in the middle third and Low Performers in the lowest - Ensure that the organization delivers what isthird. This provides a comparison of respondents to promised.others who answered the survey rather than to an - Exhibit sales tenacity.industry or market benchmark. • Lower performers more often selected the followingThe second method for observing success was merely as one of their top three success factors:to compare those respondents reporting an increase ofmore than 10% in sales growth from the prior year with - Actively build and maintain a network of contacts.those reporting more than a 10% decline in sales revenue. - Aggressively pursue leads.Overall, there is a moderate relationship between sales - Tell stories to illustrate important points.performance and the priority of sales activities for certain - Look for innovative ways to meet client needs.phases of the sales process as measured by the perfor-mance indicator and change in sales revenue. - Provide customers with ongoing advice.7 | A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS
  9. 9. Table 2. Key Sales Activities Selected Most Often by High, Medium, and Low Performers Sales Phase High Performers Medium Performers Low Performers Preparing to Sell Possess an understanding of Actively build and maintain a network products/services being sold. of contacts. Have an in-depth knowledge of the Understand the competition within your Understand the competition within your customer’s industry marketplace. marketplace. Developing Business Identify new opportunities in existing Effectively use phone/in person/electronic Generate referrals from the existing accounts. means to secure appointments with decision customer base and contact network. makers. Conduct in-depth research of prospect Prospect continuously to keep the organizations. pipeline full. Agressively pursue leads Establishing Relationships Uncover needs the customer might not be Understand the customers buying process. Build trust during each customer interaction. aware of Presenting a Solution Configure solutions to meet the needs of Articulate business case to show financial Cleary explain the links between solutions, the unique customer. benefit to customer. benefits, and customer needs. Offer unique ideas and insights that prospects have not considered before. Tell stories to illustrate important points. Closing the Sale Stay alert to buying signals and ask for the Stay alert to buying signals and ask for the Look for innovative ways to meet client needs. business at the right time in the sales cycle. business at the right time in the sales cycle. Resolve customer concerns including price Effectively use internal resources to close objections. the business. Following After the Sale Ensure that your organization delivers what Provide customers with ongoing advice and Quickly resolve service issues and requests. information. was promised to the customer. Personal Attributes Be direct and honest in all communication. Be direct and honest in all communication. Be direct and honest in all communication. Be appropriately persistent. A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS | 8
  10. 10. Survey respondents were asked to select their most challenging sales phase and the phase where they have hadthe most success in the prior year. The following table (Table 3) shows the percent of responses by sales performance.While a majority of all respondents said that developing new business was their most challenging phase, high performerswere more likely to also mention “presenting a solution” and overall “personal attributes”. Lower performers had relativelymore challenges with “closing a sale” in the prior year.Both groups had success with “establishing relationships and uncovering needs”, but high performers were more oftensuccessful in “developing new business” when compared with low performers.Table 3. Most Challenging and Most Successful Sales Phases Selling Phase MOST CHALLENGING PHASE MOST SUCCESSFUL PHASE HIGH LOW HIGH LOW PERFORMERS PERFORMERS PERFORMERS PERFORMERS Preparing to Sell 7.1% 6.7% 3.9% 7.3% Developing New Business 50.6% 57.9% 16.0% 8.4% Establish Relationships 11.7% 7.6% 39.2% 35.9% Presenting a Solution 7.1% 3.7% 11.4% 15.6% Closing The Sale 10.1% 17.0% 16.3% 13.4% Following Up After the Sale 7.8% 5.1% 7.1% 10.4% Personal Attributes 5.2% 1.8% 6.2% 8.5%9 | A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS
  11. 11. We examined the relationship between sales performance and agreement with the organizational support activities. The following table (Table 4) shows the mean score (on a five-point scale) for sales performance (high/low) together with change in revenue (increase/decline). Here we see that sales performance and change in revenue are highly correlated both with each other and with agreement on seven organizational support activities. Overall, respondents that are more successful work in organizations that are more likely to provide: • Coaching • Clear company objectives • Fair treatment • Effective use of metrics/dashboards • Meeting operational/reporting requirements • Effective SFA • Sales/service support from non-sales roles Three of the seven highly correlated organizational support activities can be considered operational or technological in nature. The use of dashboards/metrics, meeting operational requirements, and an effective SFA rely more on systems and processes rather than behaviors.Table 4. Relationship Between Sales Performance and Agreement With Organizational Support Activities On a scale of 1 (completely disagree) to 5 ( completely agree), to what extent do you agree with the following? SALES PERFORMANCE CHANGE IN REVENUE Increase Decline High Low >10% >10% Salespeople receive valuable coaching from their 3.7 3.4 3.6 3.3 sales managers. Our company objectives are clear to salespeople. 4.1 3.8 4 3.7 Our sales leaders treat salespeople fairly and equitably. 4 3.7 4 3.6 Effectively use metrics or dashboards to manage 3.5 3.2 3.5 3.2 sales performance. Salespeople meet operational/reporting requirements. 3.9 3.7 3.9 3.5 Our SFA system makes the job of selling easier. 3.4 3 3.3 3.1 Non-sales roles provide the expertise/support needed. 3.9 3.6 3.9 3.6 A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS | 10
  12. 12. Latent Class Cluster Analysis:Coaching and Training The LC approach assigns respondents into clusters or groups based on similar responses to the questions that have the most influence in distinguishing each group.
  13. 13. The Latent Class (LC) analysis is an extension of thetraditional cluster analysis approach. In general, clusteranalysis is the classification of similar objects into groupswhere the number of groups as well as their definitionsare unknown. The LC approach identifies latent variablesthat explain the association among a set of observedvariables. Each latent class, like each cluster, groupstogether similar cases that express similar preferencesin other variables.In the LC approach, respondents in the same latentclass share a common joint probability distribution amongcertain variables. Although respondents in the same latentclass (cluster) cannot be distinguished from each otherbased on their observed responses, they are similar toeach other with respect to these underlying variables iden-tified by the LC model. Respondents are classified intothat group having the highest membership probabilityof belonging given the set of responses for that case.This multivariate approach considers a group of variablesto define a cluster, with some variables being more domi-nant and having more influence than others. We foundin our analysis that there are two questions or variables inthe survey that are most influential in defining the clustersthat emerge: ratings for 1) “Our salespeople receivevaluable coaching from their sales managers” and 2)“My organization offers training that salespeople needto do their job.”Focusing on the two questions above reveals key diffe-rences between the clusters, which can be summarizedas follows:• Cluster 1: Substantial or “High” coaching / training of salespeople• Cluster 2: “Moderate” coaching / training of salespeople• Cluster 3: Minimal or “Low” coaching / training of salespeopleWe examine the data here for each cluster as they repre-sent unique groups with distinct preferences. The valueof the LC approach is that it identifies those characteris-tics or variables that are responsible for defining distinctgroups that represent different preferences on othervariables. A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS | 12
  14. 14. The Impact of Training & Coaching • Agreement with “my organization offers training • More than a quarter of all “high” and “moderate” clusters that salespeople need to do their job,” and “our reported an increase in performance to quota of more salespeople receive valuable coaching from their sales than 10% compared to less than 20% of those respondents managers” identifies clusters that are highly related to in the “low” coaching and training cluster. overall organizational support and sales performance. • Change in average deal size is directly related to the • Moderate and substantial (medium and high) coaching amount of training and coaching received, that is, more and training tends be related to higher deal sizes, greater respondents reported an increase in average—deal size increases in personal sales revenue, and generally more for the “high” cluster compared with the “low” group. overall success compared with those receiving minimal • The clusters are also related to company size. A higher coaching and training. percentage of respondents from “high” and “medium” • More than 22% of those reporting “low” training and clusters are from larger companies compared with coaching support reported a decline in sales revenue respondents from the “low” cluster. of more than 20% compared with only 10.4% of those reporting “high” training and coaching support. Decline by >20% in Sales Revenue by Increase of 10% or More in Performance to Quota in Training/Coaching Cluster Past Year by Training/Coaching Cluster25% 30% 22.5% 28.4% 26.0%20% 25% 19.6%15% 13.0% 20% 10.4%10% 15%5% 10% High Moderate Low High Moderate Low Coaching/ Coaching/ Coaching/ Coaching/ Coaching/ Coaching/ Training Training Training Training Training Training Training/Coaching Cluster by Company Revenue Change in Average Deal Size by Training/ 100% Coaching Cluster 90% 15.7% 27.1% 26.4% 80% 8.5%14% 12.0% 70% 12.7% 15.7% 12.8%12% 60% 10.0% 11.9% 18.7%10% 50% 7.8% 8% 6.6% 40% 6% 30% 60.1% 4.1% 4.4% 48.2% 42.3% 4% 20% 2% 10% 0% 0% High Moderate Low High Moderate Low Coaching/ Coaching/ Coaching/ Coaching/ Coaching/ Coaching/ Training Training Training Training Training Training Declined by > 20% Increased by > 10% $500m+ $150-$499m $50m-$149m Under $50m 13 | A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS
  15. 15. The following analysis considers the relationship between • Communicating solutions through engagingthe identified cluster and sales activities. Variation in the presentations and proposalsclusters, from high to low, should correlate with a varia- • Effectively using closing skills to gain commitmenttion in the selection of the top three activities deemedcritical for sales success. We might expect that those • Maintaining high ethical standardswith more training and coaching will more often select • Requesting client feedbackactivities that are more strategic, rather than tacticalin nature. Those respondents reporting less coaching and training support (from the “low” cluster) more often mentionedRespondents who get more support in terms of training the following as their top three critical success factors:and coaching are more likely to select the following asbeing an important contributing factor to their success: • Building a network of contacts• Goal setting • Identifying all players in an account• Forecasting sales results (while they view that as less • Aggressively pursuing leads important than other types of planning activities) • Configuring the solution to meet the client’s needs• Having an in-depth knowledge of the customer’s • Crafting agreements that balance the needs of the industry customer and the organization• Uncovering client needs • Acting as the customer’s advocate and taking• Creating a call strategy before meeting the customer responsibility to meet their needs• Articulating a business case that shows how a solution will financially benefit the client A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS | 14
  16. 16. Table 5. Key Sales Activities Selected by Respondents With Various Levels of Training and Coaching Sales Phase High Training & Coaching Medium Training & Coaching Low Training & Coaching Preparing to Sell Have an in-depth knowledge of the Actively build and maintain a network customer’s industry. of contacts. Set personal sales goals. Actively forecast and track sales results. Developing Business Prospect continuously to keep the Generate referrals from the existing Use phone/electronic means to secure pipeline full. customer base and contact network. appointments Use social media to network and source Identify new opportunities or buying centers Agressively pursue leads. leads. in existing accounts Quickly and accurately qualify prospects. Establishing Relationships Ask questions to uncover customer needs Identify all the key players who participate in and motives. or influence the buying process. Create a call strategy before meeting with the customer or prospect. Presenting a Solution Clearly explain the links between solutions, Configure solutions to meet the unique benefits, and customer needs. needs of the customer. Articulate business case to show the financial benefit to customer. Communicate solutions through engaging presentations and proposals Closing the Sale Effectively use internal resources to close Look for innovative ways to meet Stay alert to buying signals and ask for the the business. client needs. business at the right time in the sales cycles. Craft agreements that balance the needs of customers with needs of organization. Following After The Sale Act as the customers advocate by taking Request customer feedback. the responsibility to meet their needs. Personal Attributes Maintain high ethical standards. Treat prospects, customers, and internal Treat prospects, customers, and internal partners with respect. partners with respect. 15 | A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS
  17. 17. We also looked at the relationship between the coaching/ The table on the following page (Table 6) shows thetraining cluster and the sales professional’s primary focus mean scores on a five-point scale, with 5 representingof either servicing existing customers, developing new completely agree and 1 representing completelybusiness, or both. disagree. The mean or average rating for each activity is consistently higher as we move from low to moderate• Of those receiving low coaching and training, more to high cluster. than half (58.2%) spend most of their time servicing existing customers rather than finding new business. This suggests that organizations that engage in higher levels of training and coaching will be more likely to• More than a third of respondents from the high coaching support the sales organization in other ways. /training cluster are primarily engaged in finding new business (compared to 28% of respondents from both the moderate and low clusters).We can say that there is a strong correlation between thelevel of coaching and training received by respondentsand the organizational efficiency and support they re-ceive from their organization. In fact, the cluster definedby training and coaching is a strong predictor of otherorganizational support activities. Coaching/ Training Cluster by Primary Sales Activity 60% 58.1% 53.2% 54.9% 50% Finding New Business 40% 34.5% Servicing Existing Customer 30% 28.3% 27.5% About Equal 20% 18.7% 16.8% 14.4% 10% 0% High Moderate Low Coaching/ Coaching/ Coaching/ Training Training Training A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS | 16
  18. 18. Table 6. The Relationship Between Training & Coaching and Organizational Support On a scale of 1 (completely disagree) to 5 (completely agree), to what extent do you agree with the following? RECEIVE COACHING / TRAINING High Moderate Low My organization provides resources to help salespeople to research. 4.7 3.6 2.5 We have a formal sales process that defines how we sell. 4.5 3.3 2.0 Our salespeople consistently follow a formal sales process. 4.2 3.1 1.9 My organization offers training that salespeople need to do their job. 4.7 3.4 1.9 Our salespeople receive valuable coaching from their sales managers. 4.7 3.4 1.8 Our company objectives are clear to salespeople. 4.8 4.0 2.6 Our sales leaders treat salespeople fairly and equitably. 4.7 3.8 2.7 My organization effectively uses metrics or dashboards to manage 4.4 3.3 1.8 sales performance. Our sales force automation system makes the job of selling easier. 4.4 3.0 1.7 Salespeople in the company are appropriately recognized and rewarded 4.7 3.5 2.5 for selling efforts. Salespeople in my organization meet operational requirements for 4.6 3.7 2.8 reporting, completing necessary paperwork, attending meetings, etc. People in non-sales roles provide the expertise and support needed 4.6 3.6 3.0 to secure the sale and provide service to customers after the sale.17 | A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS
  19. 19. Deal Size and Company Revenue This section examines the relationship that company and deal size have with the impor- tance of sales activities and organizational support.
  20. 20. This section examines the relationship between the ave- The size of the sales deal shows a higher level variationrage size of sales deals and preferences for sales activities with sales activities compared with the other variablesand organizational support. In addition, we look at com- we’ve analyzed. The following table (Table 7) summarizespany revenue as a measure of company size to identify for small/large deals and small/large company size thevariation in responses for preferences of sales activities activities most often selected by respondents from theseand organizational support. groups. Deal size and company size are strongly related.We examine deal size and company revenue together, Findings show that respondents that reported larger dealsince they are so closely related-that is, deal size is di- sizes selected activities that are more strategic in nature.rectly proportional to company size. While this is clearly Small deals (under $10,000) are generally less complexnot always the case, more often than not, larger deals and require a different focus and set of activities than(particularly those over $500,000) are made by sales- deals over $100,000 or $500,000.people from larger companies.As the figure below shows, deal size is also directlyrelated to change in personal sales revenue over thepast year. Respondents with larger deal sizes were morelikely to have an increase in the percent change of salesrevenue. More than two-thirds (68%) of sales profes-sionals with an average deal size greater than $500,000experienced a greater than 10% increase in sales growthfor the past year, compared with just 51% of those withaverage deals of less than $10,000. Deal Size by Change in Sales Revenue 67.7% 70% 66.2% 59.4% 60% > 10% Decline 49.3% 50.7% 50% > 10% Increase 40.6% 40% 33.3% 33.8% 30% 20% 10% 0% <$10,000 <$10,000- <$100,000- <$500,000+ $99,999 $499,999 19 | A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS
  21. 21. Table 7. Key Sales Activities Selected by Respondents According to Deal Size and Revenue Lower Company Higher Company Sales Phase Smaller Deal Size Large Deal Size Revenue Revenue Preparing to Sell Possess an understanding of Develop formal strategies for Understanding of products/ Develop formal strategies for products/services being sold. territories/accounts services being sold territories/accounts Set personal goals Accurately forecast and track Accurately forecast and track sales results sales results Developing Business Effectively use phone/electronic Quickly and accurately qualify Aggressively pursue leads Identify new opportunities in means to secure appointments propects existing accounts Generate referrals from the Conduct in -depth research of Use social media Quickly and accurately existing customer/contacts prospects qualify prospects Prospect continuously to keep Conduct in-depth research the pipeline full of prospects Aggressively pursue leads Use social media Establishing Relationships Uncover needs the customer Understand the customer’s Build trust might not be aware of buying process Presenting a Solution Configure solutions to meet Explain links between solutions/ Highlight value of your organi- Explain links between solutions/ needs of customer benefits and customer needs zation compared to competitors benefits and customer needs Offer unique ideas and insight Articulate business case shows Articulate business case shows that prospects have not financial benefit to customer financial benefit to customer considered before Highlight value of your Communicate solutions Articulate a business case that organization compared to through engaging shows how a solution will financially competitors presentations benefit the customer’s organization Closing the Sale Stay alert to buying signals/ Craft agreements that balance Craft agreements that balance ask for the business at the needs of the customer & your needs of the customer & your right time organization organization Develop creative trade-off and Effectively use internal resources alternatives during negotiations to close the business Effectively use internal resources to close the business Following After The Sale Quickly resolve service issues Actively manage all post-sale Quickly resolve service issues Act as customer’s advocate by and requests interactions and request taking the responsibility to meet their needs Personal Attributes Be direct and honest Navigate within our Be direct and honest Navigate within our organization to organization to secure needed secure needed resources resources Treat prospects/customers/ Maintain high ethical standard internal partners with respect A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS | 20
  22. 22. The size of sales deals showed no relationship with thelevel of support an organization offers to their sales-people with regard to training, sales automation, servicesupport, coaching, etc. There is, however, differences fororganizational support for different size companies. Thefollowing table (Table 8) shows statistical differences inratings of organizational support by company size.Larger companies are more likely to offer:• A formal sales process• Training• Use of metrics/dashboards to manage sales performance• An effective sales-force automationSmaller companies are more likely to agree that:• People in non-sales roles provide expertise and support needed to secure the sale and provide service to customers after the saleTable 8. The Relationship Between Company Revenue and Organizational Support On a scale of 1 (completely disagree) to 5 (completely agree), Company Revenue to what extent do you agree with the following? Less Than $50m- $150m $500m+ $50m 149m $499m We have a formal sales process that defines how we sell. 3.2 3.5 3.6 3.7 My organization offers training that salespeople need to do their job. 3.3 3.5 3.5 3.8 My organization effectively uses metrics or dashboards to manage 3.1 3.4 3.7 3.7 sales performance. Our sales-force automation system makes the job of selling easier. 3 3.2 3.4 3.4 People in non-sales roles provide the expertise and support needed 3.8 3.7 3.7 3.6 to secure the sale and provide service to customers after the sale. 21 | A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS
  23. 23. Sales Position The level of support sales professionals receive from their company varies depending on their position in the sales organization.
  24. 24. We asked respondents to identify their position in the interests in outside topics” more highly than salessales organization. About 13% of respondents are inside leaders, while sales leaders said that “understandingsales professionals, while 36.8% are outside sales, 27% the customer’s buying process” was more important.sales managers, and the remaining 22.5% are salesdirectors or above, including VPs and executives. • Presenting a Solution – Outside sales professionals gave more importance to “configuring solutions toSince many of the respondents are from smaller com- meeting client needs”, while sales leaders said “tellingpanies, the profile of the sales manager in this study is stories to illustrate important points” was morevery close to that of the salesperson-that is, many sales of a priority.managers in smaller organizations either have a terri-tory and revenue responsibility themselves or because • Closing a Sale – Sales executives were more likelythere are fewer management layers, they are closer to to say that “developing creative tradeoffs andthe salesperson. Consequently, there is little to no dif- alternatives during negotiations” was a criticalference in the responses between the salesperson and success factor compared with outside salespeople.their manager for many variables. We have highlightedthose incidences where there are significant differencesbetween outside salespeople and their manager.In addition, we do not report inside salespeople responsesexcept for the rare instances where there are significantdifferences between their responses and outside sales-people. There are, however, often significant differencesbetween the salesperson and the sales leader. As such,our analysis primarily focuses on these findings.When comparing the selection of the top three importantactivities, the position of the sales professional matteredlittle. There is a greater difference in the response ofsales professionals depending on their position when weexamine their ranking of various types of organizationalsupport.The following table (Table 9) show the top three selec-tions and any other significant differences in responsesof outside sales professionals compared with salesexecutives for activities in each sales phase.• Preparing to Sell – Sales leaders were more likely to select “in-depth knowledge of customer’s industry” (53%) compared to outside sales professionals (38%)• Developing Business – Sales professionals’ ranking of the top three most critical activities differed from sales leaders, with sales professionals placing more emphasis on identifying new opportunities in existing accounts” compared with sales leaders.• Establishing Relationships – Outside sales profes- sionals rated “expressing interest and asking follow-up questions” and “establishing rapport with shared23 | A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS
  25. 25. Table 9. Key Sales Activities Selected by Outside Salespeople vs. Sales Leaders Sales Phase Outside Salespeople Sales Leaders Preparing to Sell Actively build and maintain a network of contacts. Have an in-depth knowledge of the customer’s industry. Understand the competition within your marketplace. Developing Business Identify new opportunities and or buying centers in existing accounts. Generate referrals from the existing customer base contact network. Prospect continuously to keep the pipeline full. Establishing Relationships Listen actively by expressing interest and asking follow-up questions. Understand the customers buying process. Establish rapport with shared interests in non-work topics. Presenting a Solution Configure solutions to meet the unique needs of the customer. Tell stories to illustrate important points. Closing the Sale Stay alert to buying signals and ask for the business at the right time Look for innovative ways to meet client needs. in the sales cycle. Develop creative trade-offs and alternatives during negotiations. Following After The Sale Establish regular contact with customers to maintain long-term Ensure that your organization delivers what was promised. relationships. Personal Attributes Treat prospects, customers, and internal partners with respect. Maintain high ethical standards. The following table (Table 10) shows the significant • Both managers and leaders are more likely than sales differences in responses between salespeople, managers, people to agree with the statement: “Sales professionals and leaders for specific types of organizational support. in my organization receive valuable coaching from The table reports differences in mean or average scores sales managers. (on a five-point scale), as well as differences in the • Similarly, leaders are more likely to agree that company percentage of responses rating a 4 or 5 (strongly agree/ objectives are clear to salespeople and that sales agree) and a 1 or 2 (strongly disagree/disagree). leaders treat salespeople fairly and equitably • More managers than salespeople believed that their compared with salespeople. organization has a formal sales process that defines • Compared with outside salespeople, sales executives how they sell. were more likely to say that salespeople are recognized • Sales leaders are more likely to agree that their sales- and rewarded for their efforts, and that non-salespeople people actually follow that process. provide expertise and support to win sales and provide after-sales service. A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS | 24
  26. 26. Table 10. The Relationship Between Sales Position and Organizational Support On a scale of 1 (completely disagree) to 5 (completely agree), to what extent do you agree with the following? Salesperson Manager Leader We have a formal sales process that defines how we sell. 3.3 3.6 3.4 Our salespeople continuously follow a formal sales process. 3.1 3.3 3.3 Our salespeople receive valuable coaching from their 3.3 3.6 3.7 sales managers. Our company objectives are clear to salespeople. 3.8 3.9 4.1 Our sales leaders treat sales people fairly and equitably. 3.7 3.8 4.1 Salespeople in the company are appropriately recognized and 3.5 3.7 3.9 rewarded for selling efforts. People in non-sales roles provide expertise/support to win sale 3.7 3.8 3.9 and provide after-sales service.25 | A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS
  27. 27. Primary Sales Focus(New Business vs. Servicing Existing Business) Those respondents who said they are primarily responsible for servicing new customers performed better overall com- pared with those developing new business.
  28. 28. More than half (55%) of all sales professionals responding • Using social media to networkto the survey said that their primary activities focused on • Understanding the customer’s buying processservicing existing customers. Just 28% said that they areprimarily responsible for finding new business, while 17% • Creating a call strategy before meeting the customersaid they are tasked equally with finding new business and • Crafting agreements that balance the needs of theservicing existing customers. customer with own organizationThose respondents who said they are primarily responsi- Salespeople focused on finding new business (hunters)ble for servicing new customers performed better overall placed more emphasis than those servicing existingcompared with those developing new business. Nearly customers on the following:two-thirds (65%) of those servicing existing customersreported sales revenue growing by more than 10% in the • Prospecting continuously to keep the pipeline fullprevious year compared with 51% of sales professionals • Identifying all key players who influence buyingresponsible for finding new business. processWe sought to test whether or not there is a variation in • Articulating a business case that shows how a solutionresponses by salespeople focused on different objec- will benefit the customer’s organizationtives, since the strategies and activities should vary for • Effectively using closing skills to gain customerthose developing new business compared with those commitment to complete the saleattempting to retain and grow current accounts. • Acting as the customer’s advocate by takingThe table (Table 11) on the next page highlights the responsibility to meet their needssignificant differences in responses of salespeoplefocused on servicing existing customers compared withthose finding new business for each sales activity. Sales-people focused on servicing existing customers (farmers)were more likely to say that the following activities werecritical to their success:• Understanding strategy of your own organization• Identifying new opportunities/buying centers in existing accounts Primary Activity by Sales Revenue Declined by > 20% 70% 64.7% Increased by > 20% 60% 51.3% 48.6% 50.0% 50.0% 50% 40% 35.3% 30% 20% 10% 0% Finding New Servicing Existing About Equal Business Customers27 | A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS
  29. 29. Table 11. Key Sales Activities Selected by Respondents Who Focus On Finding New Businessvs. Servicing Existing Customers Sales Phase Finding New Business Servicing Existing Customers Preparing to Sell Have in-depth knowledge of the customer’s industry. Understand the competition within your marketplace. Understand the strategy of selling organization and the salespersons role. Developing Business Generate referrals from the existing customer base and Prospect continuously to keep the pipeline full. contact networks. Identify new opportunities in existing accounts. Use social media to network and source leads. Establishing Relationships Ask questions to uncover customer needs and motives. Build trust during each customer interaction. Identify key players in the buying process. Ask questions to uncover needs and motives. Create a call strategy before meeting with customer Presenting a Solution Clearly explain the links between solutions, benefits, and customer Configure solutions to meet the unique needs of the customer. needs. Articulate business case that shows how solution will financially benefit the customer. Closing the Sale Effectively use closing skills to gain customer commitment to Look for innovative ways to meet client needs. complete the sale. Craft agreements that balance the needs of the customer with the needs of your organization. Following After The Sale Act as the customers advocate by taking the responsibility to meet their needs. Personal Attributes Treat prospects, customers, and internal partners with respect. Maintain high ethical standards. A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS | 28
  30. 30. Conclusion
  31. 31. Sales success is created by providing differentiated and Even with the right sales skills and sufficient organiza-exceptional customer experiences throughout the entire tional support, meeting customer needs and providingsales and post-sales process. This is accomplished first an exceptional experience at each defining moment isby understanding the needs of customers and then not possible without strong leaders who set expecta-bringing the resources necessary to meet and exceed tions and align all systems to the overall strategy. Indeed,those needs. Uncovering and meeting customers’ needs our research has shown all of these factors must worktogether with executing at each defining moment are in tandem-that is, the combination of mastering criticalthe hallmarks of a successful sales process. sales skills together with leadership and organizational support are critical elements to retaining and growingWe looked at 45 activities across six phases of the sales the customer relationship over the long term.process, each of which represents a set of “definingmoments” that shapes the customer’s impression of theorganization. We found that the activities that lead tosuccessful sales outcomes are those that involve bothstrategy and skills that add value at every “defining mo-ment”–that is, at every opportunity for a buyer to judgeyour organization.Depending on the performance of sales and servicebehaviors, buyers will judge their experience as beingpositive, neutral, or negative. Excelling at each sales andservice effort will produce a consistent positive experi-ence across each defining moment. The balance ofhow all these defining moments add up are what leadsto customers perceiving the salesperson as productsellers, friendly visitors, or trusted business advisors.The aggregation of these defining moments is a criticalinput to the customer’s decision-making process andtheir overall experience.In addition to sales skills, the resources and support anorganization devotes to the sales and service effort aredirectly related to the customer experience and, thus,company performance. In this research, the activities salesprofessionals selected as most important to their ownsuccess differed by the level of coaching and training theyreceived. In fact, we found that organizations providingmore sales support in addition to training and coachingperformed better overall and more often emphasizedthose sales activities that had the most impact onsales success. A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS | 30
  32. 32. Appendix
  33. 33. Appendix 1: Correlation Coefficients for Sales ActivitiesThe following is a correlation coefficient matrix that shows the strength of the relationship between each pair ofactivities. The relationship between two variables is stronger as the coefficient increases. Any number above .5typically represents a strong correlation.The highlighted cells in the table represent those relationships that are above .5. Of the 18 cells with a correlation coef-ficient above .5, 12 pairs (cells) involve either the training or coaching activity. This suggests that high ratings on trainingand coaching have a significantly positive relationship with high ratings on other organizational support activities.As the correlation coefficient matrix shows, Coaching is highly correlated with “clear company objectives” (.573) andtraining shows a strong relationship with “providing resources and tools to help sales people research/understandcustomers” (.542), “a formal sales process” (.542), and the “compliance with the sales process” (.552).Two other strong relationships identified in the matrix is between “recognition and reward” and “fair treatment ofsales people” (.589), and between “our SFA is effective” and “effective use of dashboards and metrics” (.624). s. riately the ers ools tc. g al es r ing letin g rm anc ics o kes er t sale chin efin d . eff rop und and t sale ly tan a fo ma eet mp fair din ing eet ers ure e orm etr ing e app aft the td se coa o e th e. he ort at ow g m , co ar t em s m erf s m tha ople ark ch a urce job g th able ed provid , at rep ion foll yst r cle s p use for any a Correlation ess tom sec spe so in ets nd ork for izat ns alu ntly are ten ort roc rain the res es re e s tively sale . sell cus to atio p ger e v erw ent gan erv ort n roles iste es sp ard om rs t Coefficients ana receiv and le to rovid . ir m ear ctiv tom heir eat nag ec pap em y or ale ons ice eed ale rew he c d t offe s s. ma n eff ed upp ale s tr obje al s ot eas e au ary quir m le c p nd in t pro nd s on-s sale eople nee tion to der od tom sp tion rm ess l re le in (Sales Survey) s to tio ess peop ing orc ny ier. le sell a fo itab lea ard niza ople niza and ise a in n cus lp sale aniza sm ople pa ers eop ize eop nec tiona peop sell ales-f heir sp equ sales s spe com we ave m t sale hbo rga s p sale spe rga ly. ert ple ogn sp es . da rg . . s s rec 0 Sale das My o sale My o how e h ope 1 Sale exp 2 Peo vid to My o sale ur job Our fro Our and Our sale ur roc 2W 6O 3O of ra 8 9 5 4 he 7 .1 1 1 1 16. 16. 16. 16. 16. 16. 16. 16. 16. 16. 16. 16 16.1 My organization provides resources and 1 tools to help salespeople to research and understand customers and their markets. 1 16.2 We have a formal sales process that .455 defines how we sell. 1 16.3 Our salespeople consistently follow .418 .763 a formal sales process. 1 16.4 My organization offers training that salespeople need to do their job. .542 .564 .552 1 16.5 Our salespeople receive valuable .494 .521 .520 .685 coaching from their sales managers. 1 16.6 Our company objectives are clear to .486 .390 .381 .486 .573 salespeople. 1 16.7 Our sales leaders treat salespeople fairly .445 .243 .273 .380 .507 .540 and equitably. 1 16.8 My organization effectively uses metrics .384 .532 .469 .514 .514 .454 .397 or dashboards to manage sales performance. 1 16.9 Our sales-force automation system makes .481 .498 .516 .544 .511 .404 .423 .624 the job of selling easier. 16.10 Salespeople in the company are 1 appropriately recognized and rewarded for .464 .324 .363 .447 .483 .491 .589 .398 .476 selling efforts. 16.11 Salespeople in my organization meet 1 operational requirements for reporting, .442 .355 .424 .495 .458 .427 .410 .438 completing necessary paperwork, attending .389 .458 meetings, etc. 16.12 People in non-sales roles provide the 1 expertise and support needed to secure the sale .409 .287 .278 .348 .393 .354 .476 .316 .407 .468 .440 and provide service to customers after the sale. A SURVEY OF SALES EFFECTIVENESS | 32

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