Extensive research has been done on the state of sales, sales effectiveness, and sales best practices. CSO Insights (the research arm Miller Heiman Group), Gartner-CEB, RAIN Group, and companies such as HubSpot, Xactly, and Gong.io have provided insights into these topics. We wanted to learn from their research and address it as we developed SalesPath+.
Trends in sales are all heading in the wrong direction.
Sales leaders have recognized these issues and are spending money and resources to flip the curve.
In CEB’s 2017 article “Sales Initiatives Survey” it stated that “Sales leaders identified improving sellers’ skills” as well as “account and opportunity planning” as the top methods for growing the effectiveness of their sales teams.
In 2019, $4.6 billion was spent on sales training, and over$70 billion was invested in CRM, sales automation, and sales enablement software.
Despite these initiatives, the research revealed that sellers forgot 87% of what they learned within 30 days of their training. TheRAIN Group stated that the primary reason for the lack of retention by sellers is that there is insufficient reinforcement of the movement when they return to the office.
A Bain and Company survey found that, out of 167 companies, 62% felt the ROI from their investment in CRM did not meet expectations. – So why is Sales falling behind each year despite spending billions of dollars annually on training and technology?
We have the answer – bad habits.
Here is our summary of the most common bad sales habits contributing to the declining sales effectiveness statistics:
We send our sellers to training to learn best practices and then provide no digital tools to reinforce the training when they return to the office – so our sellers fall back into old habits.
When we conduct our weekly meeting with each seller to strategize on sales opportunities, we use whiteboards and handwritten notes to document account and opportunity sales strategy, insights, and action plans. Then, we erase the whiteboard or lose the notes - leaving no record of our best ideas.
At the beginning of every year, we have our teams prepare account plans (usually in Word, Excel, Google docs, or Smartsheet), and then the plans are never used again because they are not dynamic, real-time, and interactive. Within a few weeks, our plans are gathering dust or thrown into the trash bin - then next year, we do the exercise all over again.
The same is true for sales processes. They are outlined with the same tools as above - but these documents are not collaborative, automated, or interactive– and compliance with their usage is not measured or monitored in real-time.
Our sales process usually describes the new name sale and ignores the selling motions for the 80% of the sales we make to customers through upgrades, renewals, and cross-selling. Sales processes and playbooks should be as specific to a sales opportunity as possible.
We try to accelerate deals prematurely, with discounts with little chance of succeeding, resulting in higher loss rates and lower average sales prices(ASP). Usually, the problem is that we have a very optimistic close date on the opportunity – good deal, wrong quarter!
We allow sales opportunities to age in our CRM, stalled in a stage sometimes for hundreds of days. Then, we try to close a deal that is obviously not real when we should be abandoning it and cleansing the pipeline. Not wasting precious time and resources that would yield a higher ROI if allocated elsewhere.
We do not collect win-loss data on our sales campaigns while they are in process, so we cannot continuously inspect and improve our tactics. At best, product marketing teams collect the information a quarter or two later from sellers after they have moved on to closing the next deal.
CRM remains the most significant technology investment for a company's sales function, even though CRM is not the whole solution for frontline sales teams.CRM lacks the functionality to automate the sales motion, and guide the seller through each sales cycle. CRM is necessary but insufficient. The capabilities of a CRM have to be extended to address the life-cycle of the sale that each seller must navigate.
SalesPath+ was designed to help us correct our bad habits and to provide us with a platform that enables frontline sellers and sales managers to implement the best practices designed by executive sales management and revenue operations teams.
For every bad habit identified, SalesPath+ has a feature to help sellers and sales management correct it.
Contact us for information at sales@AdvancedSales.ai. Let us show you how each SalesPath+ feature and can benefit you.
Good Luck and Good Selling!
[i] CSO insights World Class Sales Practices Report 2017
[ii] CSO Insights World Class Sales Practices Report 2019
[iii] Strategic Roadmap for Accelerating Revenue Growth Gartner 2021
[iv] HubSpot research (put URL to a blog supporting your premise)
[v] Xactly research (put URL to a blog supporting your premise)
[vii] Kevin O’Keefe – Founder AdvancedSales.ai