Highlights from the 2018-2019 Sales Performance Study

There is no doubt that the sales profession is undergoing rapid change: Technology is advancing, making our lives both simpler and more complex at the same time. New markets are opening up. Customers’ buying habits are changing. The products we represent are becoming ever-more sophisticated.

The results from our 20182019 Sales Performance Study are now available in a new report: Selling in the Age of Ceaseless Change. This report reflects how organizations are adapting to these changes and provides insights into what’s working and what isn’t. Here are a few highlights from the report:

More organizations are achieving their revenue numbers (93.9% this year as opposed to 88.9% last year), but quota attainment and win rates remain stagnant. Sales leaders are finding a way to make their numbers, which is critical to survival, but they aren’t doing it by improving the effectiveness of their teams. This does not bode well for long-term success.

Lead definition alignment between sales and marketing appears to be getting worse: 43.0% had no agreed-upon definition as compared to 23.9% a year ago. These results may reflect the introduction of more sophisticated algorithms (including AI and machine learning) in selling technologies, which more accurately determine which opportunities are most likely to close. However, not all organizations are leveraging this level of technology, so this increase in the percentage unaligned organizations is concerning.

Revenues from new accounts accounted for only 29.9% of total revenues, and 69.4% of respondents said this area of their business needed improvement or major redesign. It may be easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to a new customer, but new accounts are key to a healthy business. The study also uncovered a strong correlation between the ability to prioritize prospects and adding new accounts. This finding stresses the value of AI-augmented sales tools in your 2019 sales strategy.

Less than half (47.3%) of forecasted business ends up being closed. A third (32.0%) is lost, and 20.7% ends up being indefinitely stalled. Salespeople and their managers are not getting any better at forecasting. The study found that while both process and relationship have a positive impact on win rates, a strong relationship has the more profound impact. That said, forecasting may not improve without a significant focus on improving the forecasting process itself, including the ability to prioritize prospects.

These are just a few of the dozens of findings from our 2019 study. In this report, you’ll also find more data-driven insights such as:

  • How a customer-centric culture impacts sales performance
  • Recommendations for improving lead generation
  • Proven ways to increase penetration into existing accounts
  • The importance of aligning the sales process to the customer’s path


Download Selling in the Age of Ceaseless Change here.

As exciting as 2018 has been in sales, the results of our study show that this is clearly a time of transition for the sales profession and sales organizations. We’re looking forward to helping our clients work through this transition with proven, data-driven recommendations for improving sales performance. If you’d like to learn more about our services, reach out to us. We’d love to help you make 2019 your most prosperous year ever!

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