4 ways for CSOs to improve sales growth

Sales performance is at its lowest point in five years, according to a CSO Insights report. Here's how to increase revenue.

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Sales performance is down to the lowest it's been in the past five years, according to a CSO Insights report released on Monday. The report found a discrepancy between sales and sales performance: While company revenue is up, performance is not.

The report surveyed nearly 900 sales leaders worldwide to determine how they can improve their team's performance. While the average revenue attainment hit 93.9%, according to the report, chief sales officers (CSOs) have failed to produce high-performing sales teams, because the top indicators of conversion rates—win rates and quota attainment—haven't changed.

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"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," Seleste Lunsford, chief research officer of CSO Insights, said in a press release. "In an age of ceaseless change, sales performance improvements are a continual quest that should remain a constant priority for sales leaders."

The report identified the following four ways CSOs can boost sales growth in their organizations:

1. Improve lead generation: Traditional silos continue to permeate the enterprise, with only 20% of sales and marketing teams agreeing on how to effectively lead together, the report found. Aligning sales and marketing teams creates a better customer experience.

2. Close new accounts: Companies need new customers to expand. Currently, only 29% of revenue comes from new accounts, the report said, but better opportunity planning can easily increase this number.

3. Expand existing relationships: While companies want to consistently renew customer accounts, only 54% actually do so, the report found. By managing accounts better, companies can improve cross-sales and reduce customer churn by a third, it noted.

4. Improve win rates: Less than half (47%) of forecasted sales deals are won, the report found. CSOs must supply sellers with a better sales methodology, focusing on customer perspective and insights.

Sales transformation isn't a mission that will ever be fully completed; rather, sales teams must consistently work on self-improvement to successfully evolve, the report added.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • While revenue attainment reached 93.9% this past year, sales teams are not performing well. — CSO Insights, 2019
  • Sales leaders can improve their teams by improving lead generation, closing new accounts, expanding existing relationships, and improving win rates. — CSO Insights, 2019

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Image: iStockphoto/Natee Meepian