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The Second Annual State of Sales report has been released—and it has a lot to say about how sales strategy and priorities are shifting. The report highlights big changes around technology growth, strategy evolution, and customer-centricity. 

With input from over 3,100 global sales professionals, this report from Salesforce Research reveals how sales strategies, tactics, and technologies are evolving in today’s customer climate. It also explores how you can use them in your own business. 

Ahead of Tiffani Bova's presentation at Top Sales World in London on Oct 4th, we’ve pulled five key takeaways from the report, some of which Tiffani (Sales Strategist and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce) will cover during her keynote address. 

In her presentation 'Customers Vote with Their Loyalty - Not Their Wallets. The New Normal', Tiffani will address how companies of all sizes can create new business practices that leverage technology to strengthen customer relationships and accelerate sales and growth. Attendees will hear actionable takeaways on how to create a customer-centric business and long-lasting brand loyalty.

In the meantime, here are the highlights from the report: 

 

1. Customer Experience is the top KPI type for measuring sales success

Sales success is constantly being redefined to better conform to an increasingly customer-driven market. The quality of the customer experience is now key to setting sales teams apart from the rest and therefore has also become the top KPI type used by sales organisations.

This is great for companies that consistently put their customer experience first, and a reminder for those who need to step up their customer service

 

2. Collaborative selling has a significant impact on productivity and pipeline

Cross-team collaboration between sales and marketing, service, and social is essential to achieve a seamless and personalized customer journey. This isn’t anything revolutionary—we’ve been talking about sales and marketing alignment for years.

But the necessity for teams to work together has never been more rewarding. Sixty percent of sales professionals say that collaborative selling has increased productivity by more than 25%, and more than half (52%) say it has done the same for increasing pipeline.

 

3. Over three-fourths of high-performing sales teams rate their customer/prospect collaboration as outstanding or very good

Collaborative sales strategies extend beyond internal teams — successful connected selling benefits partners as well. A connected sales ecosystem relies heavily on the synergy between sales teams and their customer/prospect collaboration, as well as the technology that forms the collaborative platform.

A truly connected sales process includes many different facets — 75% of sales professionals agree their company connects customers, employees, partners, and products. These tools provide a collaborative space where both sales teams and their clients can prosper. 

 

4. Top sales teams are turning to tech and training to seal the productivity gap

Admin can cripple a sales team, and top teams are quick to take up tech that can minimalise time-consuming and manual administrative tasks. Among sales teams that cite ineffective internal processes as their top challenge, 45% rated excessive administrative tasks as the top cause. 

Top teams continue to be bullish on technology that will help them close the productivity gaps, which is another reason why CRM system adoption has continued to rise across sales orgs. Technologies like analytics, mobile, and automation can go a long way to improving a sales rep’s daily productivity so they can take more time selling and training. 

 

5. Sales adoption of AI and computer intelligence programs are predicted to experience triple-digit growth

Embracing the new wave of intelligent technologies early will put sales teams ahead of the competition. Just look at what we predict AI will do for the airline industry. What was once considered futuristic tech is being adopted so quickly that a full-scale transformation of the sales process is within reach.Triple-digit growth is expected for sales teams’ adoption of artificial intelligence (139%), predictive intelligence (118%), and automated lead-to-cash processes (115%) over the next three years. 

The report also gives an in-depth look into the day of a sales rep, more information about the anticipated growth in hot-button topics like AI and predictive technology, and a breakdown of keys to success for modern-day sales teams.

Download the Second Annual State of Sales report now for an exclusive look at today’s top sales trends.