SALES EXECUTION TRENDS 2014

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1 SALES EXECUTION TRENDS 2014 Dec 2013 Top Objectives & Challenges Facing Sales Leaders As organizations shift from maintenance mode to growth mode, and from enablement to execution, sales leaders must have laser focus on making their teams successful by looking beyond sales enablement and empowering sales teams with the latest advancements in sales execution solutions. Qvidian 2014

2 Sales Execution Trends 2014 T O P O B J E C T I V E S & C H A L L E N G E S F A C I N G S A L E S L E A D E R S EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The top objective in the coming year, representing over 59% 1 of organizations, is to capture new business, in addition to optimizing revenues more profitably. This is a slight shift from previous years, with many organizations transitioning from maintenance mode to aggressive growth mode as global economies further recover. With economic conditions continuing to change and expand, so too has the buyer environment. Today s buyers are much more informed, and most are considerably further in their buying decision before ever speaking with a sales person. Salespeople need to provide the most relevant information and present greater value to differentiate and win new business. However, over 58% 2 of buyers disengage with sales teams and stay with the status quo. The number one reason why buyers disengage is because salespeople did not present value effectively or were not aligned to buyer s specific business challenges. To further complicate sales execution, deals are more complex, more people are involved in the buying process, and sales teams are burdened with doing more with less. Other challenges facing sales organizations: 60% 2 of the buyer s journey happens before sales teams interact with a prospect 58% 2 of sales pipeline ends up in no decision or stalled deals because sales has not presented value effectively. Lack of alignment to buyer stages is a main reason for the inability to communicate value 90% 3 of selling content is never used in selling, making sales teams not agile enough to meet the complexity of the selling process. 59% 4 of a sales person s time is not spent selling as they are burdened with other activities including hunting for the right selling content and resources. 88% 1 of missed opportunities were because sales couldn t find or leverage internal resources Only 63% 4 of salespeople make their quota 60% of buyer journey complete before ever interacting with sales 58% of pipeline stalls because value not presented This report looks closer at the key objectives for sales organizations, and the challenges they face to meet those objectives, as well as the current conditions, obstacles, and investment areas needed to improve sales execution. 90% of selling content and resources never used Page 1

3 MOST IMPORTANT TO EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT It is no surprise that executive management seeks to win more business, but in a financially prudent fashion. 94% of executive management view increasing win rates as the single most important focus area for their sales leaders. Profitable revenue growth, increased margins, and reducing costs are the norm for most company objectives and remains the top desired business outcomes for CXOs. With that, executive management rank the following as most important for sales execution: 94% - Increasing win rates 87% - Improving overall quota attainment 83% - Increasing deal sizes 82% - Greater visibility into what s working and what s not working 75% - Shortening sales cycles 68% - Closing more business, but at a lower cost Another key objective is the growth of sales organizations. Some 29% of companies expect to expand their sales organizations between 10%-30% in the coming year, with over 6% expecting to grow over thirty percent. With this anticipated growth in sales organizations, the burden of onboarding and ramping new sales staff as quickly as possible becomes paramount to sales leaders. Every day a sales rep is not at full productivity equates to considerable losses in quota targets. On average, it takes 40% of organizations between 7-12 months to effectively onboard and get new sales reps to productivity. For over 18%, it takes more than twelve months. This forces sales leaders to seek alternatives to better link training, coaching, reinforcement, and best practices, for ramping new sales teams. KEY SALES OBJECTIVES FOR 2014 The key objectives for sales organizations have typically been the same year over year, but with varying degrees of priorities based on an assortment of both internal and external influences. Economic conditions and overall company strategies and goals also play a key part. Based on the results of this recent study, it is clear that many organizations are still in a growth mode stage and advancing sales strategies to grow their businesses. Below are the top ten objectives (out of fifteen): 1. Capture new accounts (58%) 2. Increase penetration into existing accounts (46%) 3. Increase sales effectiveness & performance (25%) 4. Improve customer loyalty & satisfaction (20%) 5. Optimize deal size via up-selling & cross-selling (20%) 6. Improve team selling (17%) 7. Reduce sell cycle time (14%) 8. Reduce ramp-up time for new sales people (7%) 9. Increase reorder & renewal rates (6%) 10. Retain top sales talent (4%) #1 Capture New Accounts #2 Increase Penetration into Existing Accounts Page 2

4 CHALLENGES TO OVERCOME Top Challenges There are a myriad of sales challenges that are, or can, prevent sales leaders from achieving their goals. The top two challenges facing sales organizations include sales cycles too long (33%), and difficulty presenting competitive differentiation (33%). Close behind these are the lack of common sales process across entire sales organization (24%), and difficulty establishing return on investment (20%). Other challenges include poor sales and marketing alignment (16%), and overall ineffective and unadaptable sales process (13%). These challenges are all too common and are present in varying degrees across different organizations. 33% Sales Cycles Too Long 33% Difficulty Presenting Differentiation 24% Common Sales Process Across Organization 20% Difficulty Establishing ROI 16% Poor Sales & Marketing Alignment 13% Unadaptable Sales Process Quota Attainment Improving quota attainment was the second most important focus area to executive management (87%). To compound this, 36% said they were only somewhat, or not confident, in their sales organization s ability to achieve quota attainment. The top reasons for not achieving quota attainment: Why Sales is Not Achieving Quota Opportunities end up as no decisions Sales unable to effectively communicate value Sales burdened with tasks & spend less time selling Selling content and resources not aligned to buyer stages Selling content not tailored to specific selling situation Inability to find selling content or resources Most Likely Likely SOURCE: QVIDIAN SALES EXECUTION SURVEY 2013 Page 3

5 CURRENT CONDITIONS These challenges are common for most organizations but as solutions are applied to solve them, a gap remains between strategy and sales execution. Areas for Improvement When assessing overall sales organization performance, the following sales execution areas were rated highest as needing the most improvement: Top Areas That Need Improvement Conducting Thorough Needs Analysis Identify and Gain Access to All Decision Makers Clearly Understand Customer's Buying Process Generating Winning Proposals and Personalized Selling Documents Differentiate From Competition Providing Content Specific to Selling Situation & Buyer Stage Effectively Present Value Needs Improvement SOURCE: QVIDIAN SALES EXECUTION SURVEY 2013 While all of these are essential, there is a common theme that continues to surface - Sales teams are burdened with complexity in the selling process, and struggle to present greater value to the customer, leading to the buyer not making a decision. Reasons why value is often not presented effectively include: Sales not leveraging selling content and resources specific to buyer needs in order to convey value Content and resources often not aligned to buyer stages Sales spending too much time searching for content and resources, leading to less time selling Selling content goes unused creating wasted resource time creating more and more content Opportunities are missed because of wasted resources and less time selling Page 4

6 Wasteful Activities This study also uncovered that the majority of organizations haven t identified the wasteful activities in the sales cycle, let alone the wasted energy from resources generating quality content and tools that never get utilized. Only 7% believed their organization was able to identity wasteful activities while over 31% said they were not able to identify at all. When it comes to leveraging the mass arsenal of content and selling tools, a staggering 90% of selling content is never used in the selling process. Agility The ability for most sales organizations to be agile and adopt to change also impacts overall sales execution. 47% report that their sales process is only somewhat or not at all adaptable to change in the buying process, and over 57% state their sales organization is only somewhat or not at all agile. Finding needed resources or creating personalized selling documents remains an ongoing challenge for salespeople. Over 39% say they have a challenge with locating and tailoring personalized selling documents and 16% say it is overly difficult. Aligning to Buyers Alignment of sales processes, as well as selling content and sales resources, specifically to buyer needs is also critical in this age of savvy buyers. However, over 53% say their selling processes and content are only somewhat or not aligned to the buyer stages. SOLUTION OPPORTUNITIES The reality is buyers have changed, selling processes are more complex, and sales teams have not transformed, making it more of a challenge to achieve the organization s desired business outcomes. With all of these challenges, increasing complexity in the selling process, and critical business objectives and defined strategies, companies have invested in a variety of areas to help support their sales teams. Typical actions taken to resolve these challenges: More Training However 87% 5 of training content is forgotten within weeks More Content 70% 6 of buyers are halfway in their buying decision before content is presented More Sales Reps With an average 9 4 month ramp up time, and 58% 2 of the time is not spent selling Each of these investment areas are important and worthwhile, even with the weight of inefficiencies. However, with all these activities a gap still remains between strategy and overall sales execution. This gap is rooted in that these activities are often disconnected from each other, misaligned with buyers, not specific to each selling situation, and unable to keep up with the pace of change. 87% of training content is forgotten within weeks 70% of buyers are halfway to decision before speaking to sales Page 5

7 CONCLUSIONS The key themes from this study show that regardless if a company is in growth or maintenance mode, there are key areas to improve before all others. Better communicating value, establishing processes that are agile and adaptable, a continued focus on optimizing sales performance to shorten sales cycles, and ramping up new sales teams more effectively, are some of the focus areas for organizations to win more business profitably. New sales rep ramp up time is a critical component for any size company. Every day new sales reps are not at full productivity equates to considerable losses in quota targets. Companies need to get new sales reps on-boarded as fast as possible to advance profitable revenue growth. To do this, organizations need to better link training, coaching, reinforcement, and other resources directly into the selling process, not separately. To present greater value, sales and marketing teams need to align themselves, while also aligning processes, content, and resources specifically to a buyer s business challenges. Without this alignment, and without contextual guidance to point salespeople in the right direction, sales teams will continue to struggle and will be unable to transform. The solution criteria is clear what s needed is to leverage existing investments, better align and bridge each of their capabilities, while simplifying for sales teams. It is critical to intelligently guide successful sales behavior through each specific selling situation ensuring sales teams are aligned to the buyer s process. New technology advancements that are focused specifically on sales execution are solving these complex business problems. With these latest software solutions, organizations can instantly take advantage of deep analytical insights, in real-time, to quickly confirm sales alignment and agility, with added visibility into what s not working so it can be fixed and what is working in order to replicate across an entire organization. Link training, coaching, reinforcement, and other resources directly into selling process Align teams, processes, content, and resources specifically to buyer s process Leverage existing investments by bridging them in selling processes to drive sales behavior Page 6

8 RESEARCH DEMOGRAPHICS Over 220 respondents, from varying industries, market, company sizes, and sales leader and enablement roles completed comprehensive surveys which is the basis of this report. Company sizes of respondents ranged from hundreds of employees to tens of thousands, with 30% between 1,000-10,000 employees, and 20% over 10,000 employees, covering every major industry sector. Organizations from around the globe responded with over 22% from outside of the United States. Respondent roles included: CXO or Sales Leaders (35%) Sales Enablement Leaders (25%) Marketing Leaders (10%) Sales Contributors (30%) ABOUT QVIDIAN Qvidian provides cloud-based sales execution solutions that enable companies to accelerate sales ramp up time, capture new business in cross sell and upsell opportunities and optimize sales performance by closing the gap between strategy and sales execution. The company's innovative software and advisory services offer real-time insight to ensure sales teams do what's needed to win, by driving repeatable methodologies and making the sales organization more agile. With over 1,200 global customers including Dell, Citi, ADP, CA, and Splunk, Qvidian is helping organizations significantly increase their profitable revenues while eliminating waste and reducing costs. Qvidian s Sales Playbooks offers a dynamic framework that delivers intelligent guidance, sales best practices, and selling content aligned to buyer stages and tailored to each unique selling situation all right where salespeople are familiar, within your CRM. Qvidian streamlines sales complexity into a repeatable process making it easier for salespeople to get up to speed and close more deals faster. Sales Playbooks is deeply dynamic to adapt instantly to changing selling situations, is content, process, and tool agnostic to leverage your current investments, and is intelligently guided to direct new sales teams with opportunity specific instructions. For more information, visit or call or +44 (0) _1209cf All data points referenced in this report are from Qvidian s annual sales execution survey results unless otherwise noted. 1 Qvidian Sales Execution Survey 2 Sales Benchmark Index 3 IDC 4 CSO Insights 5 CEB 6 Introhive Page 7

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