Thursday, February 05, 2015

3 Keys to Sales Growth: Motivate, Justify and Differentiate

When it comes to growing revenue, executive management has identified two key sales execution challenges: “winning more business” (71%) and “improving overall quota attainment” (59%).

These were reported as the top challenges in a survey of 250 worldwide executives from our partners at Qvidian.

But there are a couple of barriers that are clearly in the way to achieving the revenue growth goals and overcoming these challenges in 2015.

First, sales leaders indicate that attaining sales quotas remains a challenge because:

1)   Too many deals in pipelines are ending up at no decision  - Today’s resource constrained / risk averse buyer is failing to see why the proposed project should be a priority, mostly because sales reps have not communicated and quantified the high cost of “do nothing”. As a result, 58% of a typical pipeline is stalled (SBI) – meaning that for every $1M in realized sales revenue a typical rep has another $1.7M in potential revenue they can’t close because they haven’t made the challenge / proposed solution a priority with the prospect.

2)   Too few sales reps are able to effectively articulate value - Failing to communicate and quantify the business value of proposed solutions to ever more economic-focused buyers is clearly a barrier – a top priority, and up 11% in importance over 2014, the highest increase in priorities. Unfortunately reps remain focused on product pitches versus value selling.

Second, competitive win rates are an issue because sales reps are having difficulty presenting differentiation.  In fact, 29% of sales execs indicated this as THE challenge to overcome in 2015, making it the highest priority.

This is a challenge for a number of reasons. First, product differentiation is becoming harder, as solutions become more commoditized (whether we like it or not). As well, product differences are less important than ever to buyers, so as sellers work harder and harder to communicate product differences, buyers get more confused, and the reps are seen as less and less credible.
Instead the way sales reps engage has become the key differentiator. CEB indicates that 53% of B2B customer loyalty, the reason customers initial and continually buy, is driven not by the brand or product, but by the sales experience.

Part of making this sales experience differentiated is the ability for sales reps to diagnose issues and challenge the status quo, and deliver personalized content focused on outcomes and value.

Source: Sales Execution Trends survey , Qvidian (n = 250)

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