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The One Change You Should Make To Accelerate Sales Success

18th Feb 2016
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Which would you like first – the good news or the bad news? I’m a pretty positive person so let’s start with the good news.  According to a recent independent global research report from Loudhouse, commissioned by SAP, the vast majority of sales directors across the globe are broadly confident about the outlook for growth and the opportunity to hit revenue targets. For the most part, the world is out of recession and opportunities abound in the modern digital landscape. Good news for sales directors then.  

So what’s the problem? You are. Or more specifically, your internal sales tools are. We all know that customers are more empowered than ever. That’s not new news to most of us. The problem is that while the customer has moved on, most sales departments have not. And herein lies the rub – most sales organisations are simply not able to match their internal sales processes with buyer journeys.

Customers don’t just expect you to know the basics, they expect you to know the context of their business challenges. Sales departments today are expected to have a 360 degree view of the customer, insight into their unique requirements and preferences, as well as a raft of other contextual elements.  In fact, the pace of change in the sales world has never been quicker – which amplifies the problem even more as most sales tools have hardly changed at all in recent years.

In fact, the research found that more than half of sales directors admit their sales technologies haven’t been updated for more than two years. That’s a long time given the current pace of change. And it’s not just a gap, it’s a show stopper that’s putting future growth at stake. A whopping eighty five per cent of sales leaders say their organisation is only two years away from a slowdown as a result, and thirty three per cent say they are just a year away.

The economy may be full of opportunity, but the research found that sales growth very much depends on the tools sales departments have to work with – particularly CRM.  Many CRM tools still have a one dimensional focus on managing customer relationships, rather than focusing on customer engagement, hyper personalisation, and customer context. If that’s not your definition of CRM, you’re using a blunt instrument that’s no longer fit for purpose.

The majority of you reading this will understand what I’m talking about and why this is a problem – chances are you’re already feeling the effects. For me, one of the most telling statistics from the research findings was that seventy three per cent of sales directors believe their CRM systems need overhauling now, with seventy two per cent suggesting that failure to do so will impede business growth - but they’re not moving quickly enough. The longer companies wait to transform their insight gathering capabilities, the more their growth is compromised.  

Given the pace of change, increased customer expectations, and the array of social channels for both listening and connecting, most internal sales processes are blatantly out of synch with today’s customer journeys. The rules of engagement have shifted. It’s time to embrace a more modern approach that matches that of your buyer or two years from now you’ll be facing a slowdown in sales performance and wondering why your competitors are thriving. For sales leaders, the old adage that time is money has never been more relevant.

To download a full copy of the research findings go to https://www.mycustomer.com/resources/what-is-the-future-of-sales

Kevin Kimber is Managing Director for Cloud at SAP UKI

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