Lead-to-Win 2012Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize the Last Mile of the                              Sale...
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Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 3Table of Conten...
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Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 5closed sales de...
Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 6Now, let’s take...
Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 7enhanced spend ...
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Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 12Figure 4: Sale...
Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 13Additional pro...
Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 14are more likel...
Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 15see these tech...
Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 16 Technology In...
Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 17(e.g. logging ...
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Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 19Best-in-Class ...
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Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 22Table 4: The P...
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Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize the Last Mile of the Sales Cycle

  1. 1. Lead-to-Win 2012Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize the Last Mile of the Sales Cycle March 2012 Peter Ostrow
  2. 2. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize the Last Mile of the Sales Cycle Page 2 Executive Summary Contemporary technology tools hold significant promise for better sales Research Benchmark team performance in 2012, as top-performing selling teams search to reduce Aberdeen’s Research their sales cycles and increase their win / loss “batting average.” Companies Benchmarks provide an that fail to keep up with the Best-in-Class, on the other hand, will find in-depth and comprehensive themselves struck in the difficult selling environment of the economic look into process, procedure, recession, with a restricted ability to close deals at the bottom of the methodologies, and customer acquisition funnel. technologies with best practice identification and actionable Best-in-Class Performance recommendations In October and November 2011, Aberdeen surveyed 295 end-user organizations about their sales effectiveness practices. Aberdeen used the following three key performance criteria to distinguish the selling organizations within Best-in-Class companies: • 92% average overall team attainment of sales quota in the last measured year, compared with 56% among Industry Average firms and 13% within Laggard companies • 10.7% average year-over year increase in average number of proposals, quotes or RFP responses delivered to customers/prospects, per sales rep, per month, versus a 3.4% increase for Industry Average firms and a 4.2% decline among Laggards • 4.2% improvement in (reduction of) the average sales cycle, versus a 1.3% improvement for the Industry Average and a 3.0% worsening of (increase in) the cycle time among Laggard respondents Competitive Maturity Assessment Survey results show that the firms enjoying Best-in-Class performance share several common characteristics, including: • 88% have legal compliance ensured by pre-approved quotes, NDA’s, proposals or contracts • 71% have executive-level sponsorship for initiatives aimed at “The number one change I am shortening the sales cycle trying to implement is to get sales management to recognize that the customer buying process is different than when Required Actions we started 10 years ago.” In addition to the specific recommendations in Chapter Three of this report, to achieve Best-in-Class performance, companies must: ~ Daniel Sise, Director of Business Development, Laser • Reduce friction in this “last mile” of the sales cycle by ensuring that Technology process and technology initiatives are focused on shrinking the average sales cycle, as well as on winning more deals • Evaluate the ROI of configure / price / quote, contract management, electronic signature, CRM, and content management solutionsThis document is the result of primary research performed by Aberdeen Group. Aberdeen Groups methodologies provide for Telephone: 617 854 5200 © 2012 Aberdeen Group. objective fact-based research andrepresent the best analysis available at the time of publication. Unless otherwise noted, the entire contents of this publication are copyrighted by Aberdeen Group, Inc. www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897and may not be reproduced, distributed, archived, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written consent by Aberdeen Group, Inc.
  3. 3. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 3Table of ContentsExecutive Summary....................................................................................................... 2 Best-in-Class Performance ..................................................................................... 2 Competitive Maturity Assessment ....................................................................... 2 Required Actions...................................................................................................... 2Chapter One: Benchmarking the Best-in-Class .................................................... 4 The Maturity Class Framework ............................................................................ 5 The Best-in-Class PACE Model ............................................................................ 6 Best-in-Class Strategies........................................................................................... 6Chapter Two: Benchmarking Requirements for Success ................................... 9 Capabilities and Enablers ...................................................................................... 10Chapter Three: Required Actions ......................................................................... 18 Laggard Steps to Success ...................................................................................... 18 Industry Average Steps to Success .................................................................... 18 Best-in-Class Steps to Success ............................................................................ 19Appendix A: Research Methodology..................................................................... 21Appendix B: Related Aberdeen Research ............................................................ 23FiguresFigure 1: Business Pressures Creating Sales Process Friction ............................ 4Figure 2: Best-in-Class Strategic Actions ................................................................. 7Figure 3: Additional Best-in-Class Achievements: Current Performance ..... 11Figure 4: Sales Funnel Management Effectiveness by Best-in-Class ................. 12Figure 5: Sales Contract Accuracy by Best-in-Class ........................................... 13Figure 6: Critical Lead-to-Win Enablers by Best-in-Class ................................. 15Figure 7: Sales Tools Managed without IT, by Best-in-Class ............................ 16Figure 8: Bottom-of-Funnel Sales Effectiveness by Best-in-Class ..................... 17Figure 9: Lead-to-Win Budgets on the Rise.......................................................... 20TablesTable 1: Top Performers Earn Best-in-Class Status.............................................. 5Table 2: The Best-in-Class PACE Framework ....................................................... 6Table 3: The Competitive Framework..................................................................... 9Table 4: The PACE Framework Key ...................................................................... 22Table 5: The Competitive Framework Key .......................................................... 22Table 6: The Relationship Between PACE and the Competitive Framework ...... 22© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
  4. 4. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 4 Chapter One: Benchmarking the Best-in-ClassSales opportunities represent a net-new customer potentially spending forthe first time, or an existing account that may buy again, or be up-sold orcross-sold into new products or services. Once a sales lead or opportunityis officially “in the pipeline,” the typical field or channel sales representativeor “closer” has every motivation to move the opportunity through the salescycle as quickly as possible, hopefully to a positive outcome. A successfulsale results in incentive compensation, quota achievement, professionalpride and even promotional opportunities for sales professionals whoconsistently meet or beat their quota. Still, the potential barriers to a quick,decisive “win” can be many: complex pricing negotiations, detailed productconfigurations, gaps in communications, insufficient access to internalresources, competitive bids, and even trigger-shy prospects or customers.Aberdeen’s research shows that lead conversion efficiency is the toppressure creating friction in this vital and complex sales cycle (Figure 1).Figure 1: Business Pressures Creating Sales Process FrictionPercentage of Respondents 48% All companies 50% 40% 29% 30% 26% 26% 24% 20% 10% We don’t Insufficient Lost efficiency Our average Our cost convert visibility into/ “re-inventing deal size of sales enough control of the wheel” in is too is too leads sales pipeline contract or small high to sales proposal creation n = 295 Source: Aberdeen Group, November 2011Converting more leads to sales is a common theme in Aberdeen’s researchinto both Sales and Marketing Effectiveness, and both lines of business tendto agree on the importance of making the conversion process moreefficient. In Aberdeen’s benchmark study on Sales and Marketing Alignment:The New Power Couple (December 2011), the leading business goal among385 survey respondents was increasing top-line revenue – a refreshingaspiration to see among primarily marketing-oriented survey respondents–at 65%, followed by improving the quality of leads provided to sales (38%)and improving up-sell / cross-sell opportunities (23%). Only 21% ofcompanies indicated that sending more leads from marketing to sales, i.e.quantity over quality, was a goal associated with better sales / marketingalignment. The lesson of the current research is to reduce friction in theprocess of converting better quality leads, more quickly and profitably, into© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
  5. 5. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 5closed sales deals. The additional business pressures cited in Figure 1complement this idea of maximizing “deal velocity;” companies recognizethe need for better visibility, efficiency and cost containment as componentsof successful sales operations.The Maturity Class FrameworkAberdeen used three key performance criteria to distinguish the Best-in-Class sales organization respondents from Industry Average and Laggardorganizations: • Current average overall team attainment of annual sales quota “Make sure your system flags • Year-over- change in the average number of proposals, quotes or the status of quotes (i.e. pending signature, signed, billing RFP responses delivered to customers/prospects, per sales rep, per approval, etc.) so theres no month question as to their status.” • Year-over-year change in average sales cycle – in which a decline or shortening of the cycle represents a positive trend ~ Stelios Valavanis, Founder and President, onShoreOrganizations with top performance based on these criteria earned Best-in- NetworksClass status, as described in Table 1. For additional details on the AberdeenMaturity Class Framework, see Table 5, The Competitive Framework Key,in Appendix A.Table 1: Top Performers Earn Best-in-Class Status Definition of Mean Class Performance Maturity Class  92% average overall sales team attainment of annual quota Best-in-Class:  10.7% average year-over year increase in average number Top 20% of proposals, quotes or RFP responses delivered to customers/prospects, per sales rep, per month; 68% of aggregate showed improvement performance scorers  4.2% average year-over-year improvement in (reduction of) average sales cycle; 39% showed improvement  56% average overall sales team attainment of annual quota  3.4% average year-over year increase in average number of Industry Average: proposals, quotes or RFP responses delivered to Middle 50% customers/prospects, per sales rep, per month; 35% of aggregate showed improvement performance scorers  1.3% average year-over-year worsening (growth) in average sales cycle; 26% showed improvement  13% average overall sales team attainment of annual quota  4.2% average year-over year decrease in average number Laggard: of proposals, quotes or RFP responses delivered to Bottom 30% customers/prospects, per sales rep, per month; 12% of aggregate showed improvement performance scorers  3.0% average year-over-year worsening (growth) in average sales cycle; 8% showed improvement Source: Aberdeen Group, November 2011© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
  6. 6. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 6Now, let’s take a deeper look at how the best sales performers managetheir people, processes, services, and technology to consistently out-perform the competition around these metrics.The Best-in-Class PACE ModelAchieving corporate goals with best practices in sales effectiveness requiresa combination of strategic actions, organizational capabilities, and enablingtechnologies and services summarized in Table 2.Table 2: The Best-in-Class PACE Framework Pressures Actions Capabilities Enablers We don’t convert  Maximize up-sell /  Automated reminders of critical  Incentive/ comp management enough leads to cross-sell to customer expiration or renewal dates  CRM/SFA sales existing customers  Executive-level sponsorship for  Sales forecasting/ analytics Our average deal  Improve our initiatives aimed at shortening the  Lead management size or contract understanding of sales cycle  Web analytics/ visitor tracking value is too small prospect /  Replication of “A players” by customer buying  Sales intelligence Our cost of sales identifying and sharing their winning is too high behaviors documentation  Sales performance management  Ensure that (SPM)  Centralized repository for sales customers/prospec proposals or contracts  Sales contract management ts can measure the  Defined metrics for analyzing the sales  Electronic/digital signature value of their productivity impact of changes in our  Video for sales/ marketing product or sales cycle  Content management (incl. sales solution playbooks) Source: Aberdeen Group, November 2011Best-in-Class StrategiesIn response to the pressures above, the Best-in-Class are creating anenvironment more conducive to sales effectiveness, and then using thesepractices to achieve better business resultsFigure 2 displays the most popular strategies Best-in-Class companies use toimprove sales effectiveness around the “last mile” of the sales process(companies could select their top-two). By more than a two-to-one marginover other companies, these top performers indicate that better up-sellingand cross-selling was a key business strategy. Aberdeen research publishedin Leveraging the 360 Degree Customer View to Maximize Up-Sell and Cross-SellPotential (September 2011) explored this business imperative in depth,finding that Best-in-Class companies (evaluated by customer retention rateand annual improvements in team sales quota attainment and reducing thesales cycle) showcased in their ability to maximize the “share of wallet”among their customers. In addition to creating a more efficient single viewof their prospects and customers, these top performers used sales proposal/ quote configurator solutions more frequently than Laggards (54% to 43%),along with sales contract management software (48% vs. 46%) and CRMplug-ins to enable content management (29% vs. 26%). In the context of thecurrent research, the opportunity to use these technology enablers tosupport up-selling and cross-selling existing customers into fresh and© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
  7. 7. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 7enhanced spend is a wise strategy, particularly if we subscribe to the popularsales maxim that “it costs far less to keep an existing customer spending,than to find a new customer to allocate budget to us.”Figure 2: Best-in-Class Strategic Actions 60% 57% Best-in-Class All Others “There is need for all 49% departments to be on the same Percentage of Respondents 50% page with regards to product 40% offering and customer 37% 33% relationship management, so as 28% 29% 29% to increase project/sales wins 30% 27% and ROI.” 20% ~ Robert Munjanganja, Executive Director,; Business 10% Development and Stakeholder Engagements, Macbeth Trading 0% Maximize Better Influence Ensure up-sell/ understand sales ability for cross-sell buying prospects customers behavior at a more to senior measure level ROI n = 295 Source: Aberdeen Group, November 2011Respondents are also trying to “better understand buying behavior” amongprospects and customers in order to improve sales effectiveness at thebottom of the funnel. This behavior is also more popular among the Best-in-Class than other firms, by a 32% margin (49% vs. 37% selecting this as atop-two action). Much as marketing / sales alignment is supported by amarketing team’s ability to better identify, communicate with, and intrigueprospective buyers based on optimally satisfying their business needs, so toocan the sales team use elements of the opportunity management cycle tolink this kind of knowledge to better quota attainment results. As we willsee in the next chapter, when the sales team has a better understanding ofbuyer behavior, supported by a more frictionless process, all parties in thebuyer-seller relationship benefit. By using seamless sales contractmanagement that identifies customer requirements faster, configure / price /quote (CPQ) deployments that take into account a buyer’s specific product/ solution needs, and customer-centric content management solutions,contemporary sales teams can achieve the results demonstrated by theirtop-performing peers, colleagues and competitors.© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
  8. 8. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 8 Case Study — AAA AAA is a leading provider of auto, insurance, travel and financial services, based in the U.S, and serving more than 50 million customers (both businesses and consumers) across the country. AAA NCNU is the division serving customers across Northern California, Nevada and Utah. The company was concerned about the economic instabilitys potential impact on its average deal size, in addition to other challenges regarding its cross- sell and up-sell effectiveness and its sales pipeline. To address these pressures, it focused on sales process automation. “We’ve decided to replace most of our manual sales processes with more automatic processes in order to improve our sales productivity at each stage of the selling cycle and help our sales reps continually move deals through the funnel,” says Melissa Felder, VP of Sales Operations at AAA NCNU. One of the building blocks of AAA NCNU’s sales productivity initiative was implementing a new CRM system on April 2010. Previously, the company was using an in-house program to manage its selling activities, and it was struggling with visibility into crucial information such as sales volume and the number of opportunities at each stage of the sales cycle. “With the implementation of our new CRM system, we can now easily access our sales volume and average deal size, and identify opportunities to better manage leads at each sales stage, explains Felder.” Another key component of AAA NCNU’s sales productivity initiative is the workflow to manage its contracts and sales collateral. When the customer signs a contract, the company automatically uploads that contract to a centralized document repository system, where it can track all records based on customer information. In regards to the impact of technology on their sales productivity efforts, Felder notes: “We’re increasingly doing more business in the digital format and technologies such as electronic signature are immensely helpful in speeding our sales processes.” AAA NCNU’s sales productivity programs have demonstrated their impact; the company has improved key sales effectiveness indicators, including average deal size and quota attainment results, despite the impact of economic instability. In addition, it has improved its customer retention / renewal rates. “Looking forward, we’re constantly aiming to streamline our sales processes for continuous improvement in results of our efforts at each stage of the sales cycle,” concludes Felder.© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
  9. 9. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 9 Chapter Two: Benchmarking Requirements for SuccessEffective sales operations deployments play a critical role in an Fast Factsorganizations ability to turn the strategies identified above into profit. Thefollowing sections discuss how top performers distinguish themselves from √ Answering the question,other companies through implementing capabilities and enablers that “Which single metric is thesupport sales effectiveness, particularly around the final stages of sale funnel most important measurement of how salesmanagement. technologies impact yourAberdeen Group analyzed the aggregated metrics of surveyed companies to company’s performance?,”determine whether their performance ranked as Best-in-Class, Industry 63% of the Best-in-ClassAverage, or Laggard. In addition to having common performance levels, each indicated “revenue growth,”class also shared characteristics in five key categories: (1) process (the compared to 55% among the Industry Average and 40% ofapproaches they take to execute daily operations); (2) organization Laggards.(corporate focus and collaboration among stakeholders); (3) knowledgemanagement (contextualizing data and exposing it to key stakeholders); (4) √ Corporate revenue grew ontechnology/service (the selection of the appropriate tools and the effective an annualized basis by 17.7%deployment of those tools); and (5) performance management (the for the Best-in-Class, 4.4%ability of the organization to measure its results to improve its business). for the Industry Average, and dropped by 2.1% amongThese characteristics (identified in Table 3) serve as a guideline for best Laggard companies.practices, and correlate directly with Best-in-Class performance across thekey metrics.Table 3: The Competitive Framework Best-in-Class Average Laggards Automated reminders of critical customer expiration or renewal dates Process 58% 52% 47% Legal compliance ensured by pre-approved quotes, NDA’s, proposals or contracts 88% 76% 68% Executive-level sponsorship for initiatives aimed at shortening the sales cycleOrganization 71% 57% 52% Replication of “A players” by identifying and sharing their winning documentation 56% 42% 38% Centralized repository for sales proposals or contracts Knowledge 83% 76% 67%© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
  10. 10. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 10 Best-in-Class Average Laggards  96% Incentive/ comp  84% Incentive/ comp  67% Incentive/ comp management management management  94% CRM/SFA  87% CRM/SFA  85% CRM/SFA  90% Sales forecasting/  76% Sales forecasting/  58% Sales forecasting/ analytics analytics analytics  88% Lead management  77% Lead management  52% Lead management  86% Web analytics/  70% Web analytics/  65% Web analytics/ visitor tracking visitor tracking visitor tracking  82% Sales intelligence  62% Sales intelligence  47% Sales intelligence Enabling  79% Sales performance  48% Sales performance  36% Sales performanceTechnology management (SPM) management (SPM) management (SPM)  76% Sales contract  71% Sales contract  74% Sales contract management management management  68% Electronic/digital  61% Electronic/digital  55% Electronic/digital signature signature signature  67% Video for sales/  53% Video for sales/  44% Video for sales/ marketing marketing marketing  43% Content  35% Content  22% Content management (incl. sales management (incl. sales management (incl. sales playbooks) playbooks) playbooks) Performance analytics against agreed-to objectives (metrics) are reviewed regularly 74% 60% 39%Performance Defined metrics for analyzing the sales productivity impact of changes in our sales cycle 54% 45% 41% Source: Aberdeen Group, November 2011Capabilities and EnablersBased on the findings of the Competitive Framework and on interviews withend users, the Best-in-Class demonstrate that certain corporate capabilitiesand technologies can lead to measurable business success in salesoperational management. These deployments help create both themeasurable business results shown in Table 1 above, which were used todefine the Best-in-Class, and additional benefits summarized in Figure 3.Each of these key performance indicators (KPI’s) is crucial to effective salesteam management: • Customer renewals are clearly important for any business. With 46% and 66% higher rates than Industry Average and Laggard firms, the Best-in-Class are essentially “working smarter instead of harder,” based on the safe assumption that maintaining business is a more effective way of reaching sales quotas than locating net-new opportunities. A high customer retention rate does more than reduce burn-out or industry churn pressures on the sales team; the sales cycle can be more easily understood, and forecasting accuracy© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
  11. 11. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 11 improved, when working with a known commodity – an existing account – than with a less-familiar first-time buyer. The Best-in- Class customer retention rate in the 360º Customer View research referenced above was 91%, compared with 83% and a remarkably low 10% among Industry Average and Laggard companies.Figure 3: Additional Best-in-Class Achievements: Current “Become very familiar with your marketing automationPerformance software and manage the leads Best-in-Class Industry Average Laggard in your sales funnel based on 90% 83% the trigger events that indicate 76% buying signs. Build and enforce Percentage of Respondents 75% the right business processes 57% between sales and marketing 60% 50% 47% teams and track performance 45% 40% of these processes based on the metrics that matter to your 30% 26% organization.” 17% 19% 15% ~ Randy Shattuck, Founder, The Shattuck Group 0% Customer Reps Lead renewal achieving conversion rate quota rate n = 295 Source: Aberdeen Group, November 2011 • With more than three-quarters of sales reps achieving their annual sales quota, Best-in-Class companies are significantly reducing the strain of turnover and under-performance felt by the Industry Average and Laggard cohorts, who see fewer than one-half and one-fifth of reps hitting their number respectively. Aberdeen research published in Sales Performance Management 2012: How the Best-in-Class Optimize the Front Line to Grow the Bottom Line (December 2011) demonstrates the high stakes associated with sales turnover, with a $119,830 average “fully loaded” annual cost of a field sales professional, and a $35,670 estimated average cost to replace a single contributor in the same role. The lesson here: more reps achieving quota is good for everyone involved. • Finally, the fact that Best-in-Class companies enjoy a lead conversion rate more than double that of the Laggard performers (40% vs. 19%)—showing that they are more successful at responding to the top business pressure cited above. The Best-in-Class strategies and capabilities have led to a direct solution for their biggest problem.© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
  12. 12. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 12Figure 4: Sales Funnel Management Effectiveness by Best-in-ClassPercentage of respondents indicating 4/5 on 1-5 Best-in-Class Industry Average Laggard 75% 72% 67% 65% 58% 55% 44% 45% scale 37% 35% 29% 25% Rapidly and effectively Avoiding “no-decision” sales responding to RFP’s / losses, i.e. sale is lost not to other formal bidding a competitor, but to the opportunities from prospect / customer simply current / prospective not moving forward customers with a purchase n = 295 Source: Aberdeen Group, November 2011To improve the lead conversion rate, sales leaders should focus on overallefficiency and reducing the friction within their portion of the corporatesales cycle. Figure 4 summarizes survey respondents self-assessments oftheir organizations core competencies; the figure shows the percentage ofeach maturity class which indicated they had a high level of performance(answering 4 or 5 on a 1-5 scale) in certain best practices. The Best-in-Class believe they are faster and more efficient in reacting to externally-provided sales opportunities, as well as in raising their sales “battingaverage” through fewer no-decision results. But how do the capabilities andenablers they adopt contribute to these achievements?ProcessThe Best-in-Class put more energy than other firms into automatedreminders of critical customer expiration or renewal dates. Aberdeenresearch presented in The Extended Sales Enterprise: Channeling Better Results(April 2011) showcased a Best-in-Class performance group that yieldedbetter total corporate quota attainment results and annualized leadconversion rate and deal size growth than other firms. Forty-seven percent(47%) of these top performers deployed automated renewal / upgradenotifications for themselves or partners, compared with 35% amongIndustry Average firms and 19% of Laggards. Knowing when a contract,service agreement or other chronologically-defined business relationship ispre-positioned to end or expire, making all relevant parties aware of thepending deadline with plenty of advance notice, and maximizing customerretention by building a process around this predictable event, is a common-sense capability better understood, and more widely adopted, by the Best-in-Class.© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
  13. 13. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 13Additional process capabilities adopted by a majority of Best-in-Classcompanies include: • Process for streamlining proposal, contract, quote and / or sales collateral workflow (72% vs. 59% of all others) • Process for sales representatives to share sales tips or other best practices with colleagues (52% vs. 47% of all others) “Remember the keys toOrganization pipeline success: Value, Velocity, Volume, ConversionAberdeens survey measured how much inefficiency plagued respondents and Win Rate.”ability to close and manage customer business effectively, by askingrespondents to indicate how many of their final contracts were subject to ~ Mike Bernard, Sales Teampost-sale amending (Figure 5). The majority of firms indicated that they had Lead, Hyland Softwarefairly manageable processes around corrections, amendments and changes,which speaks to a generally strong level of performance across the board. TheBest-in-Class, however, are 24% more likely than others (47% vs. 38%) toclaim their contracts were “nearly perfect,” while 21% less likely to indicatethey experienced “regular quality control issues.”Figure 5: Sales Contract Accuracy by Best-in-Class Best-in-Class All others Percentage of Respondents 50% 47% 46% 38% 38% 40% 30% 20% 12% 10% 10% 3% 5% 0% Our final Our final Our final The majority of contracts are contracts hold contracts often our final nearly perfect, up well, but we require contracts are and rarely regularly see amending after amended after require any minor quality the sale, the sale is made post-sale control issues sometimes with adjudication or or other significant n = 295 amendment amendments, changes post-sales Source: Aberdeen Group, November 2011Organizations that reap these results are more effective at replication– bothin pre-approved legally compliant documentation, and the sales content withinproposals, quotes and contracts that the best performers on the team areusing to achieve success. The idea of replicating “A players” is sustained byAberdeen research within Sales Training 2011: Uncovering How the Best-in-Class Sustain, Reinforce and Leverage Best Selling Practices (October 2011),which found that Best-in-Class firms (those with the most reps achievingquota and yearly improvements in average deal size and lead conversion rate)© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
  14. 14. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 14are more likely than others to identify this approach as a top-three strategicaction (28% vs. 24% among the Industry Average and 21% for Laggards).Additional organizational capabilities adopted by a majority of Best-in-Classorganizations include: • Administrator-level control over proposal or contract templates (76% vs. 69% of all others) • Managerial and executive visibility into all customer-facing documentation (70% vs. 66% of all others)Knowledge ManagementIn addition to the benefits of marketing / sales alignment described above,Aberdeen has shown the value of centralizing marketing materials inMarketing Asset Management: Managing Brand Compliance in DistributedMarketing Environments (March, 2010). In that report, Best-in-Classcompanies achieved better Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI), brandconsistency and reduced time-to-market by deploying library and digitalasset management technologies, as well as a process to disseminateinformation on best practices in managing marketing assets to both sales andmarketing teams. In the sales world, a similar capability pays off forcompanies more adept at achieving quota. The Best-in-Class are 24% morelikely to adopt sales collateral repositories than Laggard performers.Indeed, the top corporate strategic action seen in the 360º Customer Viewresearch referenced above, “integrating multiple internal sources of datainto a single view of each customer,” leads to a similar effort in which allstakeholders – not just sales, but marketing, service and other customer-touching team members – have role-specific access to the proposals, quotesand contracts that impact them all.Additional knowledge management capabilities adopted by a majority ofBest-in-Class organizations include: • Centralized repository of marketing and product information (84%) • Centralized repository for sales collateral (71%) • Guided selling methodology to help sales reps identify the optimal message and timing at each stage of the sales cycle (52%)Technology EnablersWhile the five enablers associated in this research with lead-to-win successare not as broadly adopted as those highlighted in Table 3, most arenevertheless seen as more vital to business operations by the Best-in-Classthan by other firms. Figure 6 shows how often each technology was ratedas a 4 or 5, on a scale from 1 (least important) to 5 (most important) basedon its overall value to corporate sales performance. Respondentspredictably felt that the foundational technologies of customer relationshipmanagement (CRM) or sales force automation (SFA) were important; Best-in-Class were much more likely than Industry Average and Laggard firms to© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
  15. 15. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 15see these technologies as critical. A content management / sales playbookwas the only enabler more likely to be identified as valuable by under-performing firms than by Best-in-Class firms—possibly due to a still-uncertain economic climate in which the most successful sales teams havebeen required to control costs by asking their marketing counterparts toown more of the content creation and management function. Fifty-fivepercent (55%) of Best-in-Class firms in the Sales and Marketing Alignmentresearch referenced above believed that the marketing team should ownthe lead nurturing process, compared with 46% and 36% of IndustryAverage and Laggard companies respectively; more under-performingcompanies felt that sales leaders should spend their precious resources onthe nurturing process, which can include the use of content managementand playbooks. Finally, users of content / playbook solutions receive ameasureable benefit—these companies all show annualized improvement incorporate revenue, lead conversion rate, average deal size, and both team-and rep-level quota attainment, while non-adopters report averageperformance declines in each of these five areas of sales performancemetrics.Figure 6: Critical Lead-to-Win Enablers by Best-in-Class Best-in-Class Industry Average Laggard Percentage of respondents indicating 86% "critical" or "integral" to business 90% 69% 70% 63% 50% 45% 42% 40% 38% 34% 33% 33% 30% 27% 21% 24%22%22% 10% CRM or CPQ Sales Content Electronic/ SFA contract management/ digital management playbooks signature n = 295 Source: Aberdeen Group, November 2011Extensive Aberdeen research addresses the other technology enablersshowcased in Table 3, and are indicated in Appendix B below.© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
  16. 16. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 16 Technology Insight: Letting the Line of Business Own the Enabler While many of Aberdeen’s research studies focus on the Information Technology function with the enterprise, other practices, including Sales Effectiveness, tend more to the line-of-business (LOB) leader responsible for achieving business results, regardless of the technologies they employ. Table 3 shows that technology enablers are crucial to lead-to-win success, but in Figure 7 we also discover that the most successful sales operations or leadership team members are less likely to rely on their IT counterparts for effective technology deployments. Figure 7: Sales Tools Managed without IT, by Best-in-Class Best-in-Class Industry Average Laggard Percentage of respondents indicating 50% "minimal" or "zero" IT support 44% 40% 37% 35% 35% 33% 30% 30% 26% 25% 24% 20% 18% 19% 13% 10% 8% 6% 3% 0% CRM or CPQ Content Electronic/ Sales SFA management/ digital contract playbooks signature management n = 295 Source: Aberdeen Group, November 2011 Figure 7 indicates the percentage of respondents in each maturity class (Best-in-Class, Industry Average and Laggard) who indicate that minimal or no IT support is involved in their use of each of the five lead-to-win technology enablers. Given the proliferation of cloud-based technologies at LOB managers disposal, and the speed and efficiency required to successfully reduce selling friction, IT is thus enabled to focus its energies elsewhere, while sales operations and leadership deploy their own technologies.Performance ManagementDetailed and objective return-on-investment (ROI) measurements for lead-to-win sales enablement require mutually-defined and accepted performancetargets. The Best-in-Class are nearly two-times as likely as Laggards not onlyto measure sales effectiveness in this area, but to regularly review the metricsused to do so – “keeping it real” to ensure the yardsticks they use to gaugesuccess remain relevant. As the saying goes, “you can’t manage what youdon’t measure,” and the Best-in-Class clearly see value in both managing andmeasuring sales closers. Regular measurement also helps reinforce behavior© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
  17. 17. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 17(e.g. logging contact records in an SFA), and allows sales managers to adjusttheir team’s focus or development efforts as needed, to adapt to the ever-changing needs of their business. Plus, most Best-in-Class companiesformally define metrics for analyzing the sales productivity impact of changesin their sales cycle. They understand that sales cycle data alone does nottranslate directly to peak performance; rather, they achieve success in anumber of measurable areas around revenue and quota attainment, whilereducing their lead-to-win window.Figure 8: Bottom-of-Funnel Sales Effectiveness by Best-in-Class Best-in-Class Industry Average Laggard 50% 50% 40% Percentage of Respondents 40% 37% 38% 28% 28% 30% 20% 20% 16% 11% 10% 0% Percent of <15 days avg. Percent of quotes contract- sales contracts resulting requested signed in orders to signature electronically n = 295 Source: Aberdeen Group, November 2011Figure 8 highlights the Best-in-Class performance results of optimized bottom-of-funnel sales management: more quotes yielding revenue, shorter time-to-signaturecycles and greater use of electronic signatures.© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
  18. 18. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 18 Chapter Three: Required ActionsWhether a company is trying to move its performance in sales effectiveness Fast Factsfrom Laggard to Industry Average, or Industry Average to Best-in-Class, thefollowing actions will help spur the necessary performance improvements: √ Best-in-Class companies are more adept at acquiring new customers, with 51% of theirLaggard Steps to Success yearly revenue obtained • Measure to manage by establishing performance analytics around from net-new spenders; lead-to-win processes, and regularly evaluating whether those KPI’s these rates drop to 46% and 43% respectively among remain relevant as the business environment changes. Only 39% of Industry Average and Laggards are establishing and reviewing key sales performance Laggard companies. metrics – such as revenue, lead conversion rate, sales cycle contraction, deal size, quota attainment – that 60% and 74% of √ The Best-in-Class make Industry Average and Best-in-Class companies respectively are more of an investment in already implementing; this is a crucial action to take among their field sales force, with Laggards. 59% of their overall sales team represented by outside • Manage contracts to win more often by implementing sales sellers or account managers. contract management technologies. Laggards are 24% less likely than Among all other companies, other firms to maximize the daily time spent selling by their team, this rate drops to 54%. and to improve their customers’ experience working with those √ The expectations of this field personnel. The results the Best-in-Class have achieved around team are higher among the customer renewal rates, team attainment of quota and lead Best-in-Class, however, who conversion rates and, ultimately, the overall sales effectiveness of report an average field sales the enterprise demonstrate the material value of implementing this quota of $1.29M, compared technology. to $1.07M among Industry Average firms and $951k for Laggards.Industry Average Steps to Success • Move up the corporate ladder by obtaining executive-level support for lead-to-win initiatives. While the Industry Average do this more frequently than Laggards, they trail the Best-in-Class significantly in obtaining the C-suite’s buy-in. The best practices and enablers detailed in this research can improve the goals the C-suite treasures – revenue growth, bigger profit margins, and increased customer spend. • Go paperless using electronic signature capture technology – do you really need your reps waiting by a fax machine for the sales order? Electronic signature-enabled sales teams are, by definition, automating a process, eliminating “choke points” in the selling / closing cycle, and minimizing their non-selling time. While this enabler is still in its “early days” in terms of absolute adoption (only 26% of companies use it currently), the Best-in-Class use electronic or digital signatures 36% more often than Industry Average firms.© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
  19. 19. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 19Best-in-Class Steps to Success • Integrate CPQ into CRM – ASAP. Behind the acronyms is the fact that while the top performers lead in integrating configure / price / quote solutions with the CRM deployment, they are still only 42% likely to do so. The benefits of joining these two technologies together are many, both for sellers – more streamlined auto- population of product, contractual and RFP document specifics – and buyers, who will receive a more accurate, crisper and professional proposal less likely to go through as many of the kind “Ensure that your sales tools are intuitive and able to help of corrective adjustments or iterations that slow the sale and salespeople identify, qualify, undermine the credentials of the seller. propose and close sales.” Like the Boy Scouts, “be prepared” for crucial bottom-of-funnel ~ Carolynn Ferris, Director of sales activities by enabling the team with sales playbooks and / or Global Sales, Process content management solutions with which they can create case- Management, Tyco Fire specific messaging to help seal the deal. While the Best-in-Class Protection Products outpace other firms in adoption of this enabler, fewer than half of them empower their teams with a valuable tool to showcase their consultative and listening skills to their accounts.© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
  20. 20. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 20 Summary: Continued Investments in “Sealing the Deal” Analyzing the “last mile” of the sales cycle is all about helping closers, channel partners and anyone else tasked with “sealing the deal” make the most of the sales opportunities they are handed. Aberdeen research is rich in content that helps users of marketing automation, outsourced teleservices bureaus, and even inside sales teams effectively provide closers with both quality and quantity leads. Here, the mission is for the sales team expected to move those deals efficiently to closure, often dealing with cumbersome Requests for Proposal (RFP’s) and other end-of-cycle barriers, without re-inventing the wheel for each deal. Figure 9: Lead-to-Win Budgets on the Rise Increase No change Decrease 100% 3% 2% 2% 1% 20% Percentage of respondents 2% indicating budget change 80% 28% 30% 60% 30% 39% 40% 74% 50% 50% 20% 47% 34% 0% CRM or CPQ Sales Content Electronic/ SFA contract management/ digital management playbooks signature n = 295 Source: Aberdeen Group, November 2011 In Figure 9, we see that across the board, companies plan to increase spend in most of the five major technology enabler categories, further demonstrating their value to companies pursuing better enterprise sales results. By adopting the best practices of the top performers, end-users can improve velocity, shorten selling cycles, grow revenue and, perhaps most important to selling professionals – hit their number.© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
  21. 21. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 21 Appendix A: Research MethodologyDuring October and November of 2011, Aberdeen examined the use, the Study Focusexperiences, and the intentions of 295 enterprises using services andtechnologies that impact the performance of their sales teams. Responding executives, primarily in sales management roles,Aberdeen supplemented this online survey effort with interviews with select completed an online survey thatsurvey respondents, gathering additional information on strategies and included questions designed toexperiences in managing their sales cycle and their results. determine the following:Responding enterprises included the following: √ The degree to which “lead-to- win” activities are deployed in • Job title: The research sample included respondents with the their organization and the following job titles: CEO / President (20%), Manager (19%), EVP / impact they have on achieving SVP / VP (17%), Director (15%), General Manager/Managing their business goals Director (5%), Consultant (8%) and other (16%). √ The structure, effectiveness • Department / function: The research sample included respondents and satisfaction with existing from the following departments or functions: sales and business “lead-to-win” implementations development (50%), corporate management (11%), IT (11%), √ Current and planned use of marketing (9%), operations (6%), and other (13%). “lead-to-win” activities to achieve desired changes in • Industry: The research sample included respondents exclusively from average sales cycle, team software (23%), IT consulting and services (16%), %), industrial attainment of quota product / equipment manufacturing (11%), telecommunications equipment / services (7%), health / medical / dental devices & √ The benefits, if any, that have services (6%), financial services (5%), industrial product/equipment been derived from “lead-to- distribution (6%), Pharmaceuticals / Life Sciences / Biotechnology win” initiatives (4%), and other (28%). The study aimed to identify emerging best practices for • Geography: The majority of respondents (76%) were from the managing sales productivity and Americas. Remaining respondents were from the EMEA region sales cycle, and to provide a (16%) and Asia-Pacific (8%). framework by which readers • Company size: 12% of respondents were from large enterprises could assess their own (annual revenues above US $1 billion); 27% were from midsize management capabilities. enterprises (annual revenues between $50 million and $1 billion); and 61% of respondents were from small businesses (annual revenues of $50 million or less). • Headcount: 24% of respondents were from large enterprises (headcount greater than 1,000 employees); 24% were from midsize enterprises (headcount between 100 and 999 employees); and 52% of respondents were from small businesses (headcount between 1 and 99 employees).© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
  22. 22. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 22Table 4: The PACE Framework Key Overview Aberdeen applies a methodology to benchmark research that evaluates the business pressures, actions, capabilities, and enablers (PACE) that indicate corporate behavior in specific business processes. These terms are defined as follows: Pressures — external forces that impact an organization’s market position, competitiveness, or business operations (e.g., economic, political and regulatory, technology, changing customer preferences, competitive) Actions — the strategic approaches that an organization takes in response to industry pressures (e.g., align the corporate business model to leverage industry opportunities, such as product / service strategy, target markets, financial strategy, go-to-market, and sales strategy) Capabilities — the business process competencies required to execute corporate strategy (e.g., skilled people, brand, market positioning, viable products / services, ecosystem partners, financing) Enablers — the key functionality of technology solutions required to support the organization’s enabling business practices (e.g., development platform, applications, network connectivity, user interface, training and support, partner interfaces, data cleansing, and management) Source: Aberdeen Group, February 2012Table 5: The Competitive Framework Key Overview The Aberdeen Competitive Framework defines enterprises In the following categories: as falling into one of the following three levels of practices Process — What is the scope of process and performance: standardization? What is the efficiency and Best-in-Class (20%) — Practices that are the best effectiveness of this process? currently being employed and are significantly superior to Organization — How is your company currently the Industry Average, and result in the top industry organized to manage and optimize this particular performance. process? Industry Average (50%) — Practices that represent the Knowledge — What visibility do you have into key average or norm, and result in average industry data and intelligence required to manage this process? performance. Technology — What level of automation have you Laggards (30%) — Practices that are significantly behind used to support this process? How is this automation the average of the industry, and result in below average integrated and aligned? performance. Performance — What do you measure? How frequently? What’s your actual performance? Source: Aberdeen Group, February 2012Table 6: The Relationship Between PACE and the Competitive Framework PACE and the Competitive Framework – How They InteractAberdeen research indicates that companies that identify the most influential pressures and take the mosttransformational and effective actions are most likely to achieve superior performance. The level of competitiveperformance that a company achieves is strongly determined by the PACE choices that they make and how well theyexecute those decisions. Source: Aberdeen Group, February 2012© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897
  23. 23. Lead-to-Win 2012: Managing People, Process and Technology to Optimize theLast Mile of the Sales CyclePage 23 Appendix B: Related Aberdeen ResearchRelated Aberdeen research that forms a companion or reference to thisreport includes: • Sales Performance Management 2012: How the Best-in-Class Optimize the Front Line to Grow the Bottom Line; December 2011 • Sales Training 2011: Uncovering How the Best-in-Class Sustain, Reinforce and Leverage Best Selling Practices; October 2011 • Leveraging the 360 Degree Customer View to Maximize Up-Sell and Cross-Sell Potential; September 2011 • Chance Favors the Prepared Mind - Understanding the Science of Sales Intelligence; July 2011 • Sales Forecasting: How Top Performers Leverage the Past, Visualize the Present and Improve Their Future Revenue; July 2011 • The Extended Sales Enterprise: Channeling Better Results; April 2011 • Streamlining the Top of the Funnel: How Inside Sales Teams Source, Qualify and Close Business; February 2011 • Sales Mobility: Quotas Untethered; November 2010Information on these and any other Aberdeen publications can be found atwww.aberdeen.com. Author: Peter Ostrow, Vice President and Research Group Director; Customer Management, Sales Effectiveness (peter.ostrow@aberdeen.com) LinkedIn TwitterFor more than two decades, Aberdeens research has been helping corporations worldwide become Best-in-Class.Having benchmarked the performance of more than 644,000 companies, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to provideorganizations with the facts that matter — the facts that enable companies to get ahead and drive results. Thats whyour research is relied on by more than 2.5 million readers in over 40 countries, 90% of the Fortune 1,000, and 93% ofthe Technology 500.As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen’s research provides insight and analysis to the Harte-Hanks community oflocal, regional, national and international marketing executives. Combined, we help our customers leverage the powerof insight to deliver innovative multichannel marketing programs that drive business-changing results. For additionalinformation, visit Aberdeen http://www.aberdeen.com or call (617) 854-5200, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call(800) 456-9748 or go to http://www.harte-hanks.com.This document is the result of primary research performed by Aberdeen Group. Aberdeen Groups methodologiesprovide for objective fact-based research and represent the best analysis available at the time of publication. Unlessotherwise noted, the entire contents of this publication are copyrighted by Aberdeen Group, Inc. and may not bereproduced, distributed, archived, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written consent byAberdeen Group, Inc. (2011a)© 2012 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 5200www.aberdeen.com Fax: 617 723 7897

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