The Missing Sales Performance Optimization Email

As we enter November, two important things are happening in the world of sales. First, organizations are focusing on ensuring that 2017 ends strong. Regarding that objective, we wish them well. Second, companies are also working diligently to determine what the revenue targets will be for 2018. Regarding that objective, let me take the mystery out of the exercise. The 2018 number will be higher! I can say that with a high degree of assurance, because in the 15 years CSO Insights has been tracking what happens to year-over-year revenue targets, more than 90% of the firms we survey annually raise them.

Having run sales organizations in the past, I realize that revenue growth is a fact of life for the vast majority of sales teams. And it will not come as a huge surprise that when many salespeople open an email from sales management in early January they will see that their new sales goal has increased over last year. But something is missing here that needs to be addressed.

A third thing should be happening now as well. We should be reviewing what changes need to be made to optimize sales performance going forward. That needs to occur so that sales management can send a second email to sales teams that outlines all the things they company is going to be doing for them, in order to help them achieve those higher revenue expectations. And that task is often getting far too little attention.

Looking at CSO Insights sales performance research data, the cost of not doing this third exercise becomes clear. In 2012, in surveying 1,000+ companies, we found that on average 63% of salespeople were achieving their quotas. That number has dropped steadily over the past five years to a figure of 53% reported in CSO Insights’ 2017 World-class Sales Practices Report. Unless we start now to implement the right types of sales enablement initiatives, that downward trend may well continue.

So that begs the question: “What are the right types of initiatives?” Our research shows there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Each sales organization needs to discover for itself what the specific problems are that are worth solving. But the process for doing this is more universal: gather metrics on how you are current performing, identify the key pain points that must be addressed, surface the issues that are causing those pain points, and then determine how to leverage new processes, technology, and knowledge to address those challenges.

We will be using that approach for sales enablement identification and prioritization in a webinar we are conducting with Adobe on November 16th at 1:00 PM ET when we examine Managing Risks at the End of the Sales Funnel. Here we will be exploring the continuing problem of low close rates of forecast deals and what you can do about it. If you are interested in that challenge, or if you want to learn more about using this methodology to surface other sales performance challenges, you can register to attend using the following link: https://adobe.ly/2yRT5lG. Hopefully the topics we discuss will help you prepare for creating the second email for your sales teams to optimize your organization’s performance in 2018.

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