Sales and Marketing Performance Blog

CSO Insights 2015 Sales Performance Optimization Survey

Posted by Mark Gibson on Wed, Nov 05, 2014

It's 2015 Chief Sales Officers (CSO) Insights Sales Performance Optimization survey time and this is your invitation to participate in one of the most comprehensive and useful surveys of sales behavior. 

Why bother?
For 20 minutes of your time you will receive the most comprehensive sales behavior survey in the industry. It will be interesting to see what sales executives place at the top of their Barriers to Effectiveness list in 2015. Here is last years report.
Results from previous research studies have been referenced by publications such as Harvard Business Review, Dow Jones, Wikipedia, Selling Power Magazine, and others.

2015 is all about revenue growth. Achieve this, and shareholder value will increase. Fail to do so, miss your number, and investors will punish you!

To help companies determine the right strategies to increase sales in the coming year, CSO Insights'  21st Sales Performance Optimization study will focus on four key themes:
  • Find More—by optimizing lead generation
  • Win More—by closing more forecast deals
  • Keep More—by minimizing customer churn
  • Grow More—by maximizing customer wallet share

The research report will retail for $795.

Be a part of the research project and get the results early in February at no charge.
As a special thanks, you will receive the CSO Insights Sales Performance Optimization 2014 Key Trends topical report which summarizes last year's report.


Please feel free to forward this to your colleagues whom you think would like to participate and receive the 2015 CSO Insights Sales Performance Optimization Survey in February free of charge.

Click here to take the survey
I'll take the survey
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Topics: CSO Insights, sales performance, 3d printing, SPO

CSO Insights 2014 Sales Performance Optimization Survey

Posted by Mark Gibson on Mon, Nov 11, 2013

It's 2014 Chief Sales Officers (CSO) Insights Sales Performance Optimization survey time and this is your invitation to participate in one of the most comprehensive and useful surveys of sales behavior. 

Why bother? For 20 minutes of your time you will receive the most comprehensive sales behavior surveys in the industry. Results from previous research studies have been referenced by publications such as Harvard Business Review, Dow Jones, Wikipedia, Selling Power Magazine, and others.

2014 is all about revenue growth. Achieve this, and shareholder value will increase. Fail to do so, miss your number, and investors will punish you!

To help companies determine the right strategies to increase sales in the coming year, CSO Insights'  20th Sales Performance Optimization study will focus on four key themes:
  • Find More—by optimizing lead generation
  • Win More—by closing more forecast deals
  • Keep More—by minimizing customer churn
  • Grow More—by maximizing customer wallet share
The research report will retail for $795.

Be part of the research project and get the results early at no charge. As a special thanks, you will receive the CSO Insights Sales Performance Optimization 2013 Key Trends topical report which summarizes last year's report.

Please feel free to forward this to your colleagues whom you think would like to participate in order to paticipate in the surrvey and receive the 2014 CSO Insights Sales Performance Optimization Survey.

Click here to take the survey
Read More

Topics: CSO Insights, sales performance, SPO

CSO Insights 2013 Sales Performance Optimization Survey - A Survey for You

Posted by Mark Gibson on Wed, Oct 24, 2012

CSO Insights is a specialist research firm benchmarking the challenges faced by today's sales and marketing organizations.  CSO Insights tracks the trends in the use of people, process, technology and knowledge to improve sales performance. 

Research is their core business. Each year, they survey thousands of Chief Sales Officers to learn the challenges they see as most critical. 

Last year I invited sales managers and business owners to participate in CSO Insights 2012 Sales Performance Optimization Survey and the pool of respondents of more than 2000 sales executives provided an extremely insightful and valuable set of benchmarks for companies in different industries. 
“Anyone looking for key trends and advice around Sales Performance Optimization should reach out to Jim Dickie and Barry Trailer at CSO Insights. Both have a wealth of knowledge and experience in this area.” -George Roberts, Partner, OpenView Partners, Venture Capital
The survey itself is completely confidential and takes about 15-20 minutes and you and your company can remain anonymous if desired. 

In return for completing the survey,  you will receive a complimentary copy of the survey (retail value $795) in late January or early February next year. As an added bonus, you will receive an instant download of the 2012 Key Trends topical report that summarizes the survey findings.

The survey is divided into the following areas:
  1. Key trends in 2013
  2. Hiring and Compensation
  3. Sales Cycle
  4. Sales Strategy
  5. Sales Execution
  6. Sales Process
  7. Account Management
  8. Sales Management
  9. Core CRM
  10. CRM 2.0
  11. Sales and Marketing Alignment
  12. Going Forward.
If you are in marketing, please bring this survey to the attention of the sales leader in your company. 
I'll take the survey!
I'll take the survey
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Topics: CSO Insights, sales performance, sales and marketing

CSO Insights 2012 Sales Performance Optimization - A Survey for you?

Posted by Mark Gibson on Tue, Oct 25, 2011

CSO Insights is a specialist research firm benchmarking the challenges faced by today's sales and marketing organizations. CSO Insights tracks the trends in the use of people, process, technology and knowledge to improve sales performance. 

Research is their core business. Each year, they survey thousands of Chief Sales Officers to learn the challenges they see as most critical.

Last year I invited sales managers and business owners to participate in CSO Insights 2011 Sales Performance Optiization Survey and the pool of respondents of more than 2000 sales executives provided an extremely insightful and valuable set of benchmarks for companies in different industries. 
“I have been completing your surveys now for several years and would like to thank you for the amazing work you are doing. I am STILL digesting the last SPO survey - amazing source of information!!!” -Paul Hamilton-Smith, Partner, Procesos Commerciales
The survey itself is completely confidential and takes about 15-20 minutes and you and your company can remain anonymous if desired.

In return for completing the survey, you will receive a complimentary copy of the survey (retail value $795) in late January or early February next year.
The survey is divided into the following areas:
  1. Key trends in 2012
  2. Hiring and Compensation
  3. Sales Cycle
  4. Sales Strategy
  5. Sales Execution
  6. Sales Process
  7. Account Management
  8. Sales Management
  9. Core CRM
  10. CRM 2.0
  11. Sales and Marketing Alignment
  12. Going Forward.
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If you are in marketing, please bring this survey to the attention of the sales leader in your company.
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Topics: CSO Insights, sales performance

Time to Bring Outside Sales Inside - A Guide to Virtual Selling

Posted by Mark Gibson on Tue, Jul 19, 2011

This article is relevant for B2B technology sales professionals, not just inside sales, as we are all becoming more virtual in our engagement with prospects and customers. 




Findings from the CSO Insights 2011 Telemarketing/Inside Sales Performance Optimization survey set the stage for our conversation. The big Aha in the 2011 survey is that nearly 50% of inside sales are selling independent of field sales.

Inside Sales - No Longer a Junior Partner

The perception of inside sales as the junior partner, being confined to lead-gen, appointment setting and qualifying is changing, as inside sales increasingly handle the complete sales cycle and create trusted adviser relationships with clients. Soon this will become the dominant mode of selling.

Inside Sales Effectiveness Focus in 2011


Inside Sales Priorities

Once again the top priorities for sales leaders in the CSO Insights survey are to align sales and marketing and to increase lead generation.

These two objectives are inextricably linked, only in my view, sales leaders have them in the wrong order and I propose the following priorities.

1. Sales and Marketing Alignment

  1. As a first step, we need to align sales and marketing messaging around product usage and value creation; features and benefits selling is dead and most marketing teams have work to do to translate features and benefits ("product-speak") into something the sales team can actually use to engage prospects.
  2. Aligning sales and marketing also means agreeing on the definition of what makes a sales-ready-lead. Innovative companies like HubSpot have established service level agreements between marketing and sales and both groups are tightly aligned in their objectives.

2. Enhancing Lead Generation

Once you’ve established a value proposition that is built on product usage and value creation, you have something that both sales and marketing can use. Creating content that prospects value attracts interested visitors to your Website; engages and converts them into leads using an Inbound Marketing process.
David Baga  
I spoke to David Baga, VP Sales at hot SFO-based RocketLawyer last week about his challenges in running a rapidly growing inside sales team. (RocketLawyer is a fast growing startup designed to make legal services easy and affordable for individuals and SMBs)

"The #1 challenge is connect rate....getting the prospect on the phone is becoming increasingly difficult. Cold calling is virtually impossible in today’s environment and would be a crude waste of time and money compared to an inbound marketing engine.”

 

Inbound Lead Generation Requires a Technology Foundation

Baga continued, “We need interested prospects to raise their hand and Inbound Marketing platforms like Marketo and HubSpot make this possible and the performance predictable.

Our lead generation is dependent on an integrated technology fabric consisting of:-
•    Inbound Marketing Automation platform (Marketo)
•    CRM systems (Salesforce.com)
•    Cloud-based call center technology with predictive dialers, ACD (auto-dialers), IVR (Interactive voice response) (Five 9’s)
Putting this stuff together and delivering the right content at the right time is hard to do; we’ve been at it 9 months now and are just beginning to realize the benefits of our efforts”

3. Revising Sales Team Structure.

There is a perception in sales that inside sales earning potential is limited. This is no longer the case and it is possible to achieve income parity with outside sales reps in many inside sales positions.

“We have chosen to centralize our sales team so that we can provide them with technology, education, collaborative support and sales management needed for high productivity. The productivity gains alone make it advantageous over individuals working out of a home office”, added Baga

Salesforce.com, like RocketLawyer and HubSpot have created very successful, centralized inside sales teams. Salesforce.com has created various roles and specializations for their inside sales team to provide a career path for advancement and to lower customer acquisition cost.

A typical Inbound Sales team structure is;
•    Lead Development – work inbound leads, responsible for lead qualification, pass lead on.
•    Small Business Representatives - quota carrying, responsible for a territory
•    Account Executives - responsible for major accounts; travel from time-time to meet customers

4. Revising Sales Process

BANT - Discovery and Qualification, the Achilles heel of selling.

If salespeople spent less time talking about their products and more time listening to the buyer's answers of their insightful questions, they would improve their diagnosis of the client condition.

Without a strong qualification process like BANT, underpinned by skilled diagnosis and discovery, pipeline reviews and forecasting are a magical and mystical event.

Using a whiteboard to Create Buyer Vision

On the minus side, inside selling means salespeople must work harder to develop rapport because the visual dimension is missing in the communication feedback loop.

The good news is that there are new tools that can really help in creating a dialogue and engaging the buyer around their issues. My WhiteboardSelling customers are spread across the World and 95% of my sales calls are virtual. I prefer to sell this way now.

Using the Paper-Show digital whiteboard and GotoMeeting or Webex videoconferencing service enables me to engage buyers in a whiteboard discovery session and present our approach to the prospect’s sales and marketing challenges using a whiteboard and to gain excellent feedback at every transition in the process.

I follow up the meeting with a qualification confirmation letter with the whiteboard from our session embedded as a .jpeg in the letter. This has a huge impact on forecasting accuracy as the qualification confirmation process eliminates non-buyers at the outset and makes it much easier for your mentor or internal champion to build and position your case against competing projects.

5. Facilitating a Buying Process.


Shift in Power in the Buy-Sell Equation.

The relationship with buyer has shifted from managing the sales process to facilitating a buying process…prospects buy when they are ready to buy.

“We spend a lot of time and effort with our middle funnel process generating relevant information that maps to buying needs/process once the visitor has converted into a lead by completing a form.   
  
With the buyer in control, lead nurturing is essential to manage and establish a trusted relationship and stay top of mind until the buyer is ready and to measure online behavior and interaction. Leads are scored based on activity and routed to sales at the right time.” said Baga.

Take Aways:

1. Sales and Marketing alignment is step 1 on the journey to improved sales performance for Inside sales.
2. Inbound Marketing underpinned by a tightly integrated technology fabric is no longer an option – it's essential to Inside Sales Success.
3. Lead nurturing is the way to stay top of mind and build a relationship with prospective customers until they are ready to buy.
4. Skilled whiteboarding can restore the communication imbalance in a virtual environment.
5. You don’t have to sweat closing deals if you have done your job in discovery and qualification.

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Topics: inbound marketing, CSO Insights, value proposition, inside sales, whiteboarding

If you just complete one sales survey this year - make it this one

Posted by Mark Gibson on Tue, Nov 02, 2010

CSO Insights is a specialist sales and marketing consulting firm and creators of the annual Sales Performance Optimization survey.

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Topics: CSO Insights, sales performance

Start-up Sales and Marketing Insights and 2010 Priorities

Posted by Mark Gibson on Tue, Mar 09, 2010

CSO Insights have been publishing sales performance data for technology companies for the past 16 years.

This year is the first time they have broken that data set down to include a survey of Start-up sales and marketing performance.  In their 2010 Sales Performance Optimization Survey, a total of 182 startup sales leaders completed the comprehensive survey of all aspects of the sales and business development process.

As a consultancy we focus on solving marketing and sales problems in both start-ups and in established companies. Established firms trying to sell innovative technology to early adopters, have similar problems to startups, except for the cash-flow constraints.

This survey of 182 start-ups of which 60% were based in the USA highlights a number of issues of which we have first-hand experience. We believe the following data are interesting and worthy of discussion.

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Topics: CSO Insights, marketing messaging, lean startups

Sales & Marketing Performance Tip - Define Your Perfect Prospect

Posted by Mark Gibson on Tue, Feb 09, 2010

Sales and marketing aligning to define their perfect prospect is one way of improving lead generation and getting more from marketing investments, according to CSO Insights 2010 Sales Performance Optimization Survey of more than 2800 companies.

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Topics: CSO Insights, marketing messaging, buyer-persona

2010 CSO Insights Survey: I Want Inbound Leads, Marketing Alignment

Posted by Mark Gibson on Tue, Feb 02, 2010

CSO Insights * yesterday released their 16th. Sales Performance Optimization Survey of more than 2800 Chief Sales Officers (CSO's) around the World from many different industries.

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Topics: CSO Insights, marketing messaging, buyer-persona

Restoring Balance in the Buyer-Seller Relationship

Posted by Mark Gibson on Wed, Mar 05, 2008

Those of us selling in the internet age, will know that the behaviour of buyers has radically changed over the past 5 years, unfortunately marketing programs and selling behaviour have been slow to adapt and buyers have the upper-hand. This imbalance produces consequences. A recent CSO Insights survey* found that sales quota performance worldwide is 50% and declining...WHY?
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Topics: consultative selling, CSO Insights

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