Annual Report Finds Revenue Attainment Is up for the Third Year in a Row, but Sales Performance Is down to the Lowest It’s Been in Half a Decade
The study, based on a global survey of nearly 900 global sales leaders, looks at the four primary objectives driving performance improvement efforts over the next 12 months: improving lead generation, securing new accounts, expanding penetration into existing customers, and increasing win rates. The purpose of the annual report is to assess how sales organizations are performing against these core objectives. The study includes a year-over-year comparison of sales performance along with an overview of what companies are doing in each of these four areas to drive success.
“Even though the objectives of sales leaders haven’t changed – most continue to be focused on making their number while being effective with resources – it’s a mistake to assume their sales organizations have a permanent set of customers or a permanent suite of sales technology and resources. These types of changes can either advance their organizations forward or leave them behind,” said Seleste Lunsford, chief research officer, CSO Insights, the research division of Miller Heiman Group. “In an age of ceaseless change, sales performance improvements are a continual quest that should remain a constant priority for sales leaders. This is why it’s so critical to assess performance year-over-year to gauge opportunity for improvement.”
According to this year’s report, more companies are meeting revenue commitments, with the average revenue attainment rising to 93.9 percent to make this the third straight year of growth. However, the leading indicators of conversion rates – win rates and quota attainment – haven’t changed.
Rather, 15 of 16 seller abilities included in the report show lower performance than they did five years ago. Sales leaders managed to find a way to reach their goals, but it wasn’t necessarily through improving the performance of their salespeople. This presents a massive opportunity for global sales leaders, who can earn substantial gains by getting sales systems running more effectively.
“Every year, we ask sales leaders for lessons learned. We want to understand what they would do differently to improve sales performance,” adds Lunsford. “To no one’s surprise, sales leaders aspire to transform the foundation of their sales systems. And yet, given the risks associated with making large-scale changes, many report a tendency towards incremental change. This can be effective if such changes are implemented systemically. But often, we find this approach is too slow and limited in scope to help sales organization change fast enough to keep up with the markets.”
The report provides actionable insight on how sales leaders can accelerate “sales transformation” through continuous improvements. The overarching message is that sales transformation isn’t a project that will eventually reach completion — It’s a ceaseless evolution that feeds off data and uses technology as a driver, not an enabler. And, above all, it ensures every action an organization takes is in full alignment with the customer’s journey.
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