Annual report reveals that customer experience, cross-team collaboration and artificial intelligence turbocharge sales performance
SAN FRANCISCO—November 14, 2016—Salesforce [NYSE: CRM], the Customer Success Platform and world's #1 CRM company, today issued its Second Annual State of Sales research report, surveying more than 3,100 global sales leaders to identify the priorities, trends and technology key to today’s leading sales teams. The report found that sales teams are prioritizing customer experience, cross-team collaboration and artificial intelligence to optimize their sales performance. To download the Second Annual State of Sales report, please click here.
Salespeople today are operating in an entirely new landscape. Customers have a wealth of information at their fingertips, are more engaged and connected than ever before, and have increased expectations of the sales teams they interact with. In fact, the Second Annual State of Sales research report found that sales teams that are prioritizing customer experience, cross-team collaboration and artificial intelligence are optimizing their sales performance and closing more deals faster.
“Intelligence and automation are the future of sales, enabling teams to increase productivity across everything they do,” said Adam Blitzer, GM & EVP, Salesforce Sales Cloud. “By arming sales teams with technologies like predictive analytics, lead scoring and mobile CRM, they are able to sell smarter and connect with their customers in entirely new ways."
Smarter Selling: Intelligent Sales Takes Off
Top sales teams are turning to intelligent and predictive technology to make their sales processes smarter and more efficient, while also meeting the growing needs and expectations of their customers.
Amongst high performing sales teams that use intelligent selling capabilities, 40 percent have experienced an increase in pipeline generation and 43 percent have experienced an increase in deal close rate.
Predictive selling is the future of customer experience, with 76 percent of sales teams saying they are focused on providing proactive service and 78 percent focused on anticipating customer needs.
Over the next three years, adoption of sales intelligence capabilities is expected to increase by triple-digits. Specifically, predictive intelligence adoption is expected to increase 118 percent, lead-to-cash process automation adoption is expected to increase 115 percent and artificial intelligence adoption is expected to increase 139 percent.
Rethinking Success: Customer Experience Is Now The Top Sales Benchmark
Customers today expect their sales reps to do more than just make a quick sale—they expect them to learn, understand and anticipate their needs. The top teams are prioritizing these customer expectations by delivering a personalized experience that supercharges sales and retains customers.
76 percent of consumers say it is absolutely critical or very important to interact with a salesperson who is focused on helping them achieve their needs, not just making a quick sale.¹
51 percent of high-performing sales teams say that increasing customer retention through deeper relationships is one of their most important sales objectives.
70 percent of sales teams have become more focused on providing customers with real-time responses and feedback as a result of changing customer expectations.
The Productivity Gap: Top Sales Teams Turn to Technology
While sales teams evolve to become more customer-centric, the day-to-day sales process is still plagued by time-consuming administrative tasks, siloed customer information and outdated management systems. The top sales teams are turning to technology to drive efficiency and boost sales.
Sales reps aren’t spending most of their time selling. In fact, sales reps spend an average of 64 percent of their time on non-selling tasks, including administrative and service related tasks, traveling and training.
64 percent of consumers say they expect companies to interact with them in real time, and 80 percent say a company responding immediately when they reach out for help influences their loyalty.¹ However, only 29 percent of sales teams are currently providing a mobile app to their salespeople.
Mobile technology is a critically important element of the modern sales toolkit. 53 percent of the top sales reps use mobile to connect with their customers on the go.
Cross Collaboration: A New Sales Blueprint
Sales organizations can no longer exist in silos. In order to successfully deliver and track customer experience, sales must connect across different departments, channels and partners in order to have complete visibility into the customer journey.
Having a single-view of the customer is critical to the success of cross-collaboration. Amongst high-performing teams, 79 percent rank their ability to get a single view of the customer as outstanding or very good.
A truly connected sales process extends beyond internal collaboration and requires a thriving partner ecosystem. 76 percent of high-performing sales teams rate their partner collaboration capabilities as outstanding or very good.
Top sales teams use self-service channels to empower sales reps to meet customers’ real-time expectations. 75 percent of top teams use knowledge bases and 69 percent use online communities to successfully connect with their customers.
About the Report
Download a full copy of the free, Second Annual State of Sales research report here.
This report was conducted by Salesforce Research, which provides data-driven insights to help businesses transform how they connect with customers.
More than 3,100 global sales leaders were surveyed to identify the priorities, trends and technology key to today’s leading sales teams.
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¹“State of the Connected Customer” Report, October 2016, Salesforce Research: https://www.salesforce.com/form/pdf/state-of-the-connected-customer.jsp