Just how valuable trust is in streamlining sales cycles, making cross-sell and up-sell strategies work, and unifying diverse organizations to be more customer-centric is evident in the results of a recent Accenture study.
Accenture and CSO Insights: Leading Practices for Agile Selling initiative published the report Top-Five Focus Areas for Improving Sales Effectiveness Initiatives on July 11th. Accenture provides a description of the methodology in the report, stating they contacted 177 respondents from enterprises with more than $1B in revenue. The study concluded that Chief Sales Officers (CSO) struggle to get their organizations aligned enough internally to attain sales objectives with 44% having concerns with regard to their firms’ ability to achieve revenue targets.
What emerges from this report is how powerful trust is as a catalyst for reducing salesforce turnover, increasing internal system and process integration, and attaining & keeping trust with customers. Only 12% of CSOs say their organizations have attained that level of trust however.
Presented below are the key take-aways from the report.
- 76% of CSOs believe mobile CRM applications improve sales teams’ performance, yet only 48% of companies interviewed are providing access to important sales and customer information on mobile devices today.
- 65% of sales reps’ time is spent on non-customer facing tasks and one-third of reps are not expected to make quota. The following graphic displays the percentage of time spend by sales representatives by activity.
- 75% of CSOs are targeting more than 5% revenue growth this year yet 47% have concerns regarding their organizations’ ability to attain that growth. The following graphic compares revenue target projections and the CSOs’ assessment of their firm’s ability to achieve revenue targets.
- 82% of CSOs report that their organizations are not directing customer service representatives to take advantage of cross-selling or up-selling opportunities. Guided selling applications have been supporting cross-sell and up-sell workflows for over a decade. There is significant upside potential for these organizations as cross-sell and up-sell can be quickly automated, taught to sales reps, and relied on to increase sales and profitability.
- Over half (52.1%) of leads are generated by sales reps and 24.8% are generated by marketing. Only 23.1% are based on customer referrals. 60% of respondent organizations lack a common definition of what a qualified lead is. The following graphic illustrates the response to this area of the survey.
- 76% of sales cycles to existing customers close in 6 months or less, while selling to new customers take significantly longer as the following graphic illustrates. Accenture’s report underscores the need for delivering a consistently high quality user experience and working to reduce churn while integrating cross-sell and up-sell strategies between marketing and service.
- Only 12% of sales executives believe their prospects and customers perceive them as trusted partners. The overwhelming majority of companies say their customers view them as vendors or suppliers. Accenture reports that 70% of firms have yet to develop strong relationships with their customers.
- Salesforce turnover drops from 27% to 19% when an organization is able to tightly integrate selling, marketing, pricing, service and fulfillment workflows and systems. The more cohesive and customer-centric an organization, the greater propensity they have to earn and keep customer trust, and reduce costly salesforce turnover as well. The following table compares Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 firms, with the 3rd level being the highest profiled in the study.
- Ability to incubate promising leads for the future (57.4%), ability to close deals in the timeframe originally forecast (52.2%), and ability to assess organizations’ performance in properly qualifying and prioritizing opportunities (51.3%) are CSOs’ three top areas mentioned as needing the most improvement in their organizations.
- 34% of CSOs believe their organizational hiring practices need improvement, with 40% not using aptitude or competency testing. According to the sales executives interviewed, 47.5% of sales representatives take ten months or longer to contribute to company goals.
- 61.2% of CSOs are using external sales intelligence providers, and the majority (70%) are not using sales intelligence systems to capture, aggregate and analyze critical customer and prospect information form their internal CRM and ERP systems.
- Accenture’s top 5 areas for improving sales effectiveness based on this study are:
- Enhance integration of marketing, sales and service: Align heads of sales, marketing and service around common, customer-centered objectives.
- Improve the customer experience at each touch point: Create a tailored and integrated customer experience across all channels.
- Strengthen immature sales methodologies and processes: Balance the art of selling with the science of analytics and structured processes/methodologies.
- Apply more science to sales talent acquisition, development and retention: Transition from unscientific hiring practices to the creation of robust, effective sales teams.
- Drive better outcomes from sales technology enablement: Leverage social, mobility, analytics and cloud (SMAC) to increase sales effectiveness.
(Cross-posted @ Enterprise Software Strategist)