The Three E's of Boosting Sales Productivity

We recently attended the SAVO Summit in Chicago, a gathering of over 600 leading sales enablement, sales and marketing analysts, executives and partners (including Alinean) to share the latest research, exchange ideas and learn new best practices.

Here are three key research metrics that caught my attention and reveal the challenges with current sales enablement strategies:

1)   The Value Gap: The number 1 issue identified by sales and marketing execs as to why sales growth goals are not being achieved is not the lack of enough sales reps, adequate training, pricing or product issues, but sales reps’ inability to articulate value in their customer conversations! Jim Ninivaggi, the Services Director for Sales Enablement at leading research firm SiriusDecisions, reported from the main stage that over 71% of respondents indicate a growing value gap as the top issue above all others: Frugal prospects need to understand the bottom-line impact and ROI of any proposed solution, while sales reps haven’t evolved from traditional product pitches.

2)   A Failure to Advance: As a result of not being able to provide valuable insight or differentiate the value of their solutions to buyers, up to 80% of marketing leads don't advance, and only 7% of sales reps get a 2nd meeting, this according to research by Forrester.

3)   Repeating Insanity: Unfortunately, many organizations are repeating the mistakes of the past, but the research clearly shows that the same old strategies won’t work. The current strategies of revenue growth via hiring more sales reps and throwing a ton of training and content at them are less than productive. Mark O’Connell, CEO of SAVO Group reports that sales reps fail to retain 80% of what they learned just 3 weeks after sales training.

Sales Productivity and the Three E's

To overcome these issues, the solution proposed is to improve Sales Productivity in a systematic way, focusing on three “E’s”:

1)   Efficiency – make things quick and easy for reps, such as the ability to easily find relevant content, and reducing the time it takes to prepare personalized presentations, proposals and business cases.

2)   Effectiveness – making sure that sales reps are doing the right things and doing them well.

3)  Engagement – making sure that sales reps can have relevant conversations with prospects – being able to communicate and quantify insights and the value of proposed solutions in a way that is personalized, unique, memorable and "impactful".

The Bottom-Line

The benefits of these three sales enablement initiatives is compelling, helping to boost quota attainment by 10-15%, shorten new sales rep ramp up time by 17% (4 weeks), and improving sales win rates and deal size by over 20%.

So the big question … what are you doing today to address the three E’s?


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