Sunday 25 September 2016

What are the Challenges Facing Sales Teams Today? 1,500 Sales Execs Talk Performance

Eleanor Collier

Published 12/11/2015 | 15:09

New data from 2015 sales research has revealed the challenges facing sales teams globally and how companies are successfully reengineering their teams to overcome those barriers.

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Over 1,500 sales executives were surveyed for the research, commissioned by Microsoft and CSO Insights and 100 metrics were gathered in a bid to find out why these problems exist and what can be done to solve them.

From freeing up salespeople and giving them more time to sell, to reducing their administrative tasks; to the availability of better analytics to help with forecasting and increase margins, a number of common themes came through globally.

The 4 key challenges facing today’s sales executives are:

1.  Salespeople Need More Time to Sell

Salespeople need more time to sell and are currently challenged by high levels of admin and paperwork.  Firms that were still working manually were relying on salespeople to handle a high level of administrative work.  However, firms that had introduced automated processes, such as implementing a CRM system, reported better workflows for sales people.

20% of firms in the survey had yet to implement a CRM solution for salespeople to make their jobs easier and free them up to sell.  When companies turned on that solution, the top 3 benefits that they reported seeing were:  1. A reduced administrative burden on salespeople, giving them more time to sell; 2. Increased sales team communication and 3. Streamlined forecasting processes.

In the 2015 Microsoft survey, companies that had a >90% CRM adoption rate on average saw salespeople dedicating 63.2% of their time to prospecting and selling.  This compared to only 54.9% for companies with an adoption rate of <75%.

2.  Better Sales Rep Coaching Is Needed

Sales reps without access to coaching at particular times also felt challenged.  The CSO Insights 2015 SMO study found that the average manager is able to dedicate 21% of his / her work week to sales rep coaching.  The research found that if customer insights are used correctly, then managers can easily see which reps need what kind of help on which deals.  That knowledge can let them ‘coach by exception’ – working only with the salespeople who need their help at a particular time. 

3.  Good Analytics Will Increase Sales Performance

It was found that adding an additional layer of analytics can be of huge benefit to the bottom line, helping sales teams to: 1. Use data and insights for better prospecting; 2. Leverage prices and quotes to better understand customer needs 3. Tailor and target content to create customer demand.  Good analytics means better sales deals for sales reps by decreasing the length of the sales cycle; increasing margins and ensuring higher repeat orders.

4.  Better Technology Will Make Sales Roles Easier

One of the key findings in the Microsoft survey was that once companies achieved buy-in from sales teams, the best solution was to take a step-by-step approach to introducing new technology and in particular focusing on the things that can be done to specifically increase sales performance.  Put simply, better technology makes the job of the sales person easier.

One of the key concepts in the 2015 Microsoft survey is that sales performance optimisation works best when it has a long-term, strategic focus and depending on the complexity of the organisation it can take several years to implement the processes and invest in the technology to secure flexibility for the future and long-term transformation of the sales function.

For companies looking at ways that technology can help the performance of their salespeople, here are the key questions:  Are salespeople having challenges getting access to information when they are meeting with customers?  Then mobile CRM capabilities should be considered.  Should salespeople know the status of orders and billings?  Then integrate CRM and ERP solutions. Is sharing best practice across the sales team a rare event?  Then a sales collaboration and networking solution needs to be added to the company technology stack.

Read more about Building a World-Class Sales Organisation with this free whitepaper from Microsoft –  download here.

Please click here to also find out about Microsoft Dynamic CRM and start your free trial today.

Sponsored by: Microsoft

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