Tech

How high-performing sales teams use technology to win in today’s economy


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SELL SITUATION 2022: Insights from over 7,700 sales professionals on driving productivity in today’s economy

69% of sales professionals say selling is harder now than it was before the pandemic, according to the report Sales Status 2022 report from Sales force Research.

In the fifth edition of its “Sales Situation” report, Salesforce Research surveyed more than 7,700 sales professionals worldwide to discover how sales organizations are maximizing value in an economic landscape challenges, meet changing buyer expectations more effectively, rely more on sales as a strategic partner for business success, and use supportive tactics to turn all sales represented as MVP. Here are the report’s four key findings:

  1. New sales mantra: maximize impact. Companies are moving away from high-risk strategies as they face inflation, supply chain bottlenecks, regulatory uncertainty and political disruption. And yet, sales reps are under pressure to hit targets. That is a big challenge.
  2. Sales activities promote efficiency. Operational efficiency is increasingly important. Sales is expanding into a more strategic role, tasked with allowing reps to spend more time in conversations with customers. Sales reps spend only 28% of the week actually selling.
  3. The agent strives to meet the buyer’s growing expectations. Buyers are looking for sales reps to meet them wherever they are, no matter the channel: e-commerce platforms, social media networks, and personal assistants. Buyers then expect sales reps to act as sophisticated, trusted advisors. Organizations connect with buyers on an average of 10 channels.
  4. The seller experience has a second look. Companies are reviewing training and benefits programs, and optimizing sales territories and tools to help employees achieve success. New hires are limited, and revenue is expected to be 25% in sales organizations over the next 12 months.

A closer look at the Status of Sales reports highlighting 10 key business trends in Sales:

  1. Selling has become more difficult – 69% of sales professionals agree that their job is harder now. And 82% of sales reps say they have to quickly adapt to new ways of selling. The top five challenges for sales are: 1. supply chain issues, 2. inflation, 3. regulatory changes, 4. political instability, and 4. health precautions . Additionally, 70% of sales leaders say their sales organization is now taking less risk. To improve sales growth, businesses are adopting the following top five tactics: 1. improve alignment between functions, 2. adapt to hybrid or virtual sales, 3. . improve data accuracy and quantity, 4. target new markets and 5. modernize tools and technology.
  2. Organizations use an average of 10 channels to sell to customers. The report shows that buyers expect sales organizations to appear anywhere — on email, social media, and whatever emerging channels may appear. Indeed, 57% of buyers prefer to interact with companies through digital channels. Companies report that almost a third of the deals they close are completely virtual.
  3. Buyers expect well-informed sales teams with sophisticated insights. The report found that 81% of sales reps said buyers increasingly conduct research before they reach out. Here’s an eye-opening finding: 87% of business buyers expect sales reps to act as trusted advisors.
  4. Sales growth is a team sport and it requires business alignment. Cross-functional alignment is the #1 tactic of sales leaders to drive growth. Two key stats from the report: 81% of sales reps say 81% of the sales team helps them close deals. But 82% of sales reps say that connecting with other sellers is at least somewhat difficult.
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    Top teams team up to close deals

    Sales force

  6. The marriage experience must be better than the flirting experience. The report shows that 80% of sales reps say it is increasingly important to maintain a relationship with a customer after closing. Values-based communication, active listening, and compliance/accountability are the top 3 ways sales reps maintain healthy relationships with customers after a sale is complete.
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    Customer retention becomes a key performance indicator

    Sales force

  8. Sales performance is an important performance ability. The role of sales operations is becoming increasingly important for sales organizations. In 2020, 54% of sales leaders said sales was key to defining strategy — this number has since grown to 65%. More than 8 out of 10 sales professionals say sales plays an important role in growing a business.
  9. Most of the time, the sales team fails to make a sale. Currently, reps only spend 28% of the week actually selling. The rest consists of important but tedious tasks like transaction management and data entry. Only 37% of sales professionals strongly agree that their organization makes full use of their CRM. The most useful CRM features for sales are: 1. process and workflow automation, 2. data entry automation, 3. intelligent customer insights, 4. system integration internal and 5. the ability to replace other sales tools.
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    How sales reps spend their time in an average week

    Sales force

  11. Sales teams are inundated with tools and data. The report shows that 94% of sales organizations plan to strengthen their technology systems in the next 12 months. To drive effective sales operations, sales ops can prioritize consolidation around the features most common to sales organizations: reporting, CRM functionality, and account/contact management, along with other features. The top 5 tools used by sales organizations are: 1. sales analytics and reporting, 2. CRM, 3. account and contact management, 4. mobile sales apps for employees and 5. sales forecasting tools.
  12. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at a tipping point. Focusing on efficiency and cost savings can bring more urgency to adoption artificial intelligence (WHO). Only a third of sales organizations are currently using AI. Over the next two years, an additional 20% of organizations plan to do so. Eight out of 10 sales leaders and professionals who use AI say AI has improved salespeople’s time use at least moderately. Highly productive people are 1.9 times more likely to use AI than less productive people.
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    High-performance teams boost efficiency with AI

    Sales force

  14. Employee retention is still a concern for sales organizations. Sales organizations report an average of 25% revenue over the past 12 months. As of September 2022, nearly one in four representatives are looking for or planning to find a new job within 12 months. In total, nearly half of the reps are at least willing to leave if something better comes along. At the same time, 85% of sales leaders say they are having a hard time raising the budget for the required number of employees. That number could grow if economic changes force leaders to cut operating costs. Coaching is one way that organizations keep sales professionals engaged and productive. Sales professionals largely agree that they receive valuable coaching from their managers, but only 26% say it happens weekly. Only 53% of sales leaders use coaching solutions.
    The sales outlook is largely optimistic. The report shows that 75% of sales professionals are confident in their sales reps’ ability to re-skill — up from 63% in 2020.
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    Top 5 reasons why sales professionals want to leave their jobs

    Sales force

The Sales Status report is broken down by industry, country, company size, and even sales role. Growth drivers for sales vary by industry. With growing challenges and changing economic conditions, it’s no wonder most sales professionals don’t expect to hit their quota this year. To learn more about how sales teams plan to grow in the near future, you can visit the Status of Sales report here.

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Sales growth factors by industry

Sales force

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