9 Key Takeaways from the 2017 Sales Tech Report
11th May 2017 Will Humphries
SalesTech recently released its 2017 annual sales tech report on the impact of technology on B2B marketing and selling.
Its purpose is “to provide deeper insight into the market dynamics for sales technology”.
It was carried out by Crowd Research Partners in partnership with the 100,000-member B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn to reveal the key challenges, solutions, technology choices, and investment priorities of today’s sales organisations.
Data from this report offers organisations valuable insights on industry trends that affect the strategies employed by top providers.
Here is a look at several of the most important takeaways from the 2017 SalesTech report.
Biggest Sales Challenges
One of the most impactful components of the report was a survey with sales organisations on the critical challenges they face. Below are some of the major obstacles respondents noted, along with insights on how to succeed in overcoming them:
Generating Quality Leads – 63%
Generating high-quality leads was far and away the most often cited challenge among sales professionals in the survey, with 63 percent pointing to it. Quality has surpassed quantity as the key factor to conversion efficiency and a high return on investment in selling.
Building a more precise buyer persona is a starting point to going after and attracting qualified prospects. You want to integrate as many demographic, geographic, and firmographic details as possible in your prospect profile. A broad and thorough content marketing strategy, including syndication, allows you to get your message in front of your targeted audience to increase brand awareness and to establish industry credibility. The majority of B2B buyers begin with an online search, so you need targeted content that they find useful and relevant.
Reducing the Sales Cycle – 53%
A long sales cycle also received substantial attention, with 53 percent of organisations noting this as a major problem. Lengthy sales cycles mitigate your return on investment.
Effective lead generation strategies that attract qualified prospects help you reduce the sales cycle by avoiding wasted time on low-quality prospects. Well-developed lead nurturing processes set the stage for sales reps to enter the picture at a point when opportunities are ripe for information on your solutions.
Connecting with Decision Makers – 49%
In some cases, companies get in touch with the right types of businesses, but success is impeded by not connecting with the right person. Forty-nine percent of SalesTech respondents indicated getting in touch with a decision-maker was a major hurdle.
In a large business, it is difficult for a company to identify and contact the decision-maker for a given solution. Working with an expert partner that specialises in inside selling is beneficial because such firms have dedicated teams that source, validate, and verify firmographic details, including the right buyer’s job title.
Achieving Strong Sales Rep Productivity – 45%
Low sales rep productivity was brought up by 45 percent of SalesTech survey respondents. Again, the quality of the prospect data your team has to work with significantly influences the ability of reps to reach sales goals and quotas.
You need a structured and repeatable sales process as well, to create a seamless transition from lead generation to nurturing. Accurate timing of sales calls, along with consistent execution, paves the way for higher efficiency.
Other challenges that received a significant level of response include:
- Wasting time away from selling (39 percent),
- Implementing a structured and repeatable process (33 percent),
- Proving ROI for tech investments (25 percent), and
- The cost of customer acquisition (25 percent).
Key Sales Performance Metrics
Another insightful section of the SalesTech report addressed key metrics used by sales organisations to measure success. The following are some of the top metrics cited by professionals in the survey:
Revenue – 58%
Not surprisingly, the bottom line results were most often cited, with 58 percent of companies reporting that revenue was a key performance indicator. Naturally, if you generate quality leads and achieve high sales team productivity, revenue should come naturally.
Opportunities – 54%
The volume of prospects in the selling pipeline matters as well, with 54 percent citing this metric. If you have a healthy volume of contacts spread throughout your opportunity pipeline, your team has a greater ability to convert deals consistently and achieve a return on investment.
Deal Size – 44%
The value of deals is as important to many companies as the number of them, with 44 percent of respondents stating that deal size is a key metric.
If a sales organisation can increase the average deal size by even a few percentage points, revenue and return on investment are boosted significantly. High-quality prospects create opportunities for sales teams to sell more impactful, long-term solutions to business problems.
Leads – 42%
Surprisingly, only 42 percent of companies reported leads as a key metric. However, I believe that it takes quality leads to achieve the other financial objectives cited. And after all, we all know that not all leads are created equal! Monitoring the quantity and quality of incoming leads enables your business to address deficiencies to maintain a steady inflow of good prospects.
Appointments/Meetings – 38%
Thirty-eight percent of respondents include appointments or meetings as a high-priority metric. Comparing appointments to leads offers insights on how well you land appointments with top prospects.
Outsourcing inside sales activities, including appointment-setting, has become more popular as companies want to free up their reps to focus on nurturing and conversion.
The SalesTech data on challenges and metrics make it clear that generating high-quality leads is one of the most important factors to organisational success.
You need quality leads to improve your sales cycle time efficiency and optimised deal sizes, as well as effective sales rep productivity levels.