Sales teams to grow in 2014

Two-thirds of businesses expect to grow their sales team in 2014, according to Qvidian’s recently published Sales Execution Trends survey.

With this anticipated growth in sales organisations, the burden of recruiting and training new sales staff as quickly as possible will become paramount to sales leaders, says the research. On average, it takes 40 per cent of businesses between seven to 12 months to effectively get new sales representatives to productivity.

The study shows that sales execution challenges including longer sales cycles, difficulty presenting differentiation, lack of common sales process across organisations and poor sales and marketing alignment are impeding sales from achieving their goal of winning more business.

Eighty-seven per cent of executive managers said one of the most important sales focus areas was found to be improving overall sales targets. Thirty-six per cent said they were only somewhat or not confident in their organisation’s ability to achieve their sales targets. Reasons stated for not achieving targets were sales unable to effectively communicate value, sales content not aligned with buyer’s stages and selling resources not tailored to specific selling situations.

Finding needed resources and creating personalised selling documents remains an ongoing challenge for sales teams. Over 39 per cent say they have a challenge with locating and tailoring personalised selling documents and 16 per cent say it is overly difficult.

The ability for most sales teams to be agile and adapt to change also impacts overall sales execution. Some 47 per cent report that their sales process is only somewhat or not at all adaptable to change in the buying process and over 57 per cent state their sales organisation is only somewhat or not at all agile.

Alignment of sales processes, as well as selling content and sales resources, specifically to buyer needs is critical to improving win rates. However, over 53 per cent say their selling processes and content are only somewhat or not aligned to the buyer stages.

Christopher Faust, CMO of Qvidian, says: “Sales teams today are burdened with increased complexity in the selling process and struggle to present greater value to customers which is leading to stalled business.

“Sales leaders must have laser focus on making their teams successful by looking beyond sales enablement to address sales execution challenges. Key to this is aligning and linking existing investments by bridging them in the selling process to drive sales behaviour.”