You Think You Know Sales Trends—But Here’s Data to Validate Your Assumptions

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

As executives, we make many assumptions. While some are spot on, others are a bit of a longshot. At Qvidian, we try and get to the bottom of what’s working and what’s not with proof points—aka: results. After recently surveying more than 250 sales leaders and executives from varying industries, markets, and company sizes, we created a comprehensive study of the top objectives and challenges facing sales leaders in 2015. 

The results of our second annual Sales Execution Trends Survey reveal some rather noteworthy trends: Organizations are continuing to make a fundamental shift toward more aggressive growth, but obstacles such as rep ramp up and disconnected systems (as just a few of the leading obstacles) are preventing sustainable growth. In order to tackle these challenges, organizations must improve key areas of the sales cycle to successfully build, execute, and optimize on sales initiatives. 

Survey Highlights 

Key priorities for executive management for 2015 are focused on increasing win rates (94 percent) and improving quota attainment (87 percent). Interestingly, increasing win rates has risen in importance (+7 percent since 2014), while closing more business at a lower cost dropped (-11 percent since 2014), further validating that the majority of companies remain in growth mode, and for many, moving from prudent to aggressive growth.

And given the rising importance of increasing win rates to executive management, it’s especially interesting to see the leading reasons for not reaching quota attainment, including:

  • opportunities ending in no decision (42 percent)
  • sales unable to effectively communicate value (41 percent)
  • sales burdened with other administrative tasks and spend less time selling (36 percent)
  • ramping up reps takes too long (36 percent)
  • sales managers aren’t able to effectively coach reps (30 percent). 

To further add to the already complex selling environment, the pressure to sell more effectively is at an all-time high. Organizations reported top objectives for optimizing revenues as:

  • capture new accounts (59 percent)
  • upselling/cross-selling existing accounts (43 percent)
  • increase sales effectiveness (31 percent)
  • increase win rates of forecast deals (35 percent). 

Moreover, today’s organizations are realizing the need to be more predictive in their sales tactics. Almost 46 percent of respondents report their “understanding of the customer buying process” is in need of improvement when asked to assess current sales performance. This is an 8 percent increase since 2014. Sales leaders need to capitalize on the activities that proved successful in 2014 to improve the customer experience, reinforcing “what works” in a cost-effective way, in order to remain flexible and execute effectively.
Accordingly, in an attempt to drive more closed won business, CRM adoption (9 percent) remains on the rise (+7 percent since 2014), all while inaccurate pipeline issues (22 percent) continue to escalate (+11 percent since 2014). This indicates an evident gap that continues to exist in sales initiatives—with the selling process still not defined or easy to follow. 

Bottom Line 

Leading themes from the 2015 Sales Execution Trends Report reveal that while most organizations today are making the move from prudent to aggressive growth, obstacles such as rep ramp up, a lack of tailored buying process and content, and disconnected systems with limited analytics work to damage the bottom line and hinder quota attainment—thereby preventing sustainable growth. In order to tackle these challenges, organizations must improve key areas of the sales cycle to successfully build, execute and optimize on sales initiatives. 

Join our upcoming webinar on March 18, 2015, that discusses these findings and learn:

  • top reasons why sales teams are not reaching quota attainment
  • current conditions and investment areas needed to improve sales execution
  • ·new obstacles sales organizations face to meet these objectives
  • which tools and systems sales leaders are equipping their teams with
  • latest market insight into the state of sales today. 

Register here.

Editor’s Note: 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 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.

About the Author
Christopher is responsible for all global marketing, business development, and go-to-market strategies at Qvidian. As an accomplished global marketing executive with deep domain expertise in the technology sector, Christopher has a proven track record with high growth companies. Most recently he was with SumTotal Systems (acquired by Vista Equity), where he led integration and transformation across four successful M&A transactions, while delivering dynamic marketing initiatives resulting in significant pipeline growth. Christopher was chief marketing officer at Softscape, where he grew the company to be a category leader and successfully exited with the sale of the company to SumTotal Systems. Prior to that Christopher was the EVP of global marketing at WBT Systems in Dublin, Ireland (acquired by AVNET Group), and the founder of several other venture-backed software companies leading innovative marketing execution and product strategies.
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