What is the smartest way to increase sales effectiveness?

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Living through some of the most economically challenging times that any of us have ever faced, we are constantly reminded of the fact that we need to be resourceful in coming up with ways to increase business without increasing the cost of obtaining that business. However, current research shows that, if anything, we are doing worse not better. The findings of a recent report, based on a survey of over 1,800 companies worldwide, are consistent with the challenges that cause sales leaders to embrace sales performance optimization software, technology and applications:

  • The percentage of salespeople failing to hit their sales quota rose from 38.8 percent to 41.2 percent.
  • Overall revenue plan attainment dropped from 88.2 percent to 85.9 percent.
  • The top 20 percent of sales reps generate 61.5 percent of a company’s revenue.
  • Some 70 percent of firms report that ramp-up time for new salespeople is seven months or greater.
  • Fewer than 25 percent of CMOs and Sales VPs are satisfied that their sales team can articulate their company’s value proposition to prospects and customers.

What is clear from these statistics is that investing in improved sales effectiveness needs to be a top priority for all companies. The report also shows that many sales leaders believe the most direct route to sales effectiveness is to spend less on sales training, reduce the head count of the sales force and supporting staff, and avoiding investing in technologies that enable sales. However, according to CSO Insight, the companies that take this approach will most likely see revenues and margins fall.

So what’s the solution?

Aligning sales and marketing strategies has a much more powerful effect on improving sales effectiveness than eliminating staff and cutting back on training to reduce overhead. A recent Aberdeen Group report finds that integrating sales and marketing technologies helps B2B organizations achieve, on average:

  • 36 percent increase in marketing effectiveness.
  • 23 percent increase in lead conversion rate.
  • 15 percent increase in average revenue-per-account.
  • 30 percent decrease in new hire ramp-up time.

Finally, we have some sales performance statistics to get excited about!

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