What are the primary insights into sales success?
The State of Sales report we released recently, which interviewed 2,300 sales leaders around the world, is a gold mine of insights into why the best succeed. The common theme that jumped out for me was the power of technology. Technology was at the heart of the success achieved by the highest performing sales teams we examined, and in a sense was a common theme among those who were under-performing. Those teams that invest in and effectively use technology...win!
I love seeing small businesses that have invested in technology succeed. Too many startups hold themselves back by not investing properly in tech because they want to keep their costs down. While it's an understandable approach, it's also a short term view. The State of Sales report proves technology is key to what's making the best sales teams succeed.
Three areas in particular stood out for me:
There’s a seismic shift towards mobile and is happening quickly. SMBs need to be there. Consumers are spending more time on their mobiles than watching TV. Apps usage accounts for seven out of every eight minutes of mobile time. In particular for small businesses we see SMS working very well also. Redeemable vouchers via SMS are driving huge success and beginning to outstrip email offers in the SMB sector. Our State of Sales research found that in the APAC region investment in mobile sales tools use was expected to grow by a staggering 149 per cent in the next 12-18 months!
Well known Google/CEB research shows that buyers are 57 per cent of the way through their buying process before they engage a vendor. buying behaviour is changing. More of the research happens online. This is why sales teams must understand how their customers buy. Analytics tools are crucial for this. Currently 28 per cent of sales leaders use analytics tools to inform this process. The State of Sales Research tells us that investment in analytics tools is expected to see as much as 82 per cent growth in the next 12-18 months. The highest performing teams are 3.5 times more likely to be using sales analytics tools.
A key theme of the research is that the highest performing teams recognise that to succeed everyone everyone must work together as a team. It's a model of efficiency that can give you the edge in a highly compeitive market. Collaboration tools are key. We are seeing four areas where this is delivering great value:
Still not conviced that technology is the key to unlocking the power in your sales business? Listen to this: across the world, our research also found that 61 per cent of the highest performing teams had a "single view of the customer". They're getting huge efficiency gains from giving everyone access to the same data - it's no more complicated than that!
Commitment to spending on technology is not a new issue, and it's one I see small businesses grappling with all the time: when to make the investment, sometimes accompanies by a level of nervousnous about whether it will pay off. As their growth accelerates, SMBs that are usually risk averse about spending hesitate to spend on technology that can sustain that growth - and there's inevitably a tipping point. A lack of commitment often means they run out of time to react. The processes that grew their business to a certain point, start to hurt it instead.
The good news is, our State of Sales Report shows there’s a wave of technology investment about to hit our region and the fastest responders get a fast pass to the top of the sales league. The spend often very quickly pays for itself and small businesses that commit to those decisions don’t look back. But, those that hesitate can become another statistic.