What do sales managers and reps need to succeed in 2017?

January 4, 2017 – As you kick-off the start of the new year, you undoubtedly have some ideas you expect will improve sales performance. Before you invest, I encourage you to read this research report.

Our “Voice of the Salesforce” survey is a resource for our clients and for sales leaders who are in the process of planning for 2017. What we find is that very few organizations take the time to check the pulse of their sales team, sales managers, sales front-line reps, to learn from their perspective and what they need to be successful in the coming years.

So, as organizations go about identifying and prioritizing initiatives to improve sales performance, we strongly believe that they should be tapping into the perspectives of their sales managers and reps. That’s exactly what this survey does. With the survey, we designed a questionnaire and released it to a number of sales managers and reps. We got them to respond and identify what they believe were their top priorities in four, basic areas:

  1. Creating Demand
  2. Winning Deals
  3. Growing Accounts
  4. Managing Performance.

The insight from this survey really helps to inform sales leadership, sales operations, sales excellence managers, and line of business leaders as they plan for their 2017 investments.

Why did SPI create the Sales Planning survey Report?

SPI is committed to keeping its finger on the pulse of emerging needs of sales organizations, sales managers, sales leaders, and salespeople. What we have seen in the past several years, especially within the past five, is a tremendous amount of change. The more we understand how the change is unfolding within the ecosystem, the better we can help our clients respond to it.

Conducting surveys like this one is really helpful to us in understanding the emerging needs of the marketplace. Then, we can better tailor our products, services, and solutions to meet those needs. Also, it helps us provide additional value to the marketplace and clients, to help them better understand what they can do to improve performance in the coming years.

What can we learn from the survey?

The survey produced very interesting findings. We had 600 people participate. When you have such a large sample size, you can segment and cut the data in various ways and look for insight within the segments. For example, we could segment the data by organizations ahead of quota and ones that were at or behind data. Then, we could observe the differences in priorities and needs between the two groups. We were also able to look at the data by different industries. Being able to look at the different nuances across the industries helps to identify what’s top of mind and the greatest needs.

What were the results from the survey?

Some of the findings were what you would expect, because we see them year after year. Some were really interesting because they were indicative of the way the world of sales and marketing are changing.

For example, one of the findings that you hear about repeatedly is that sales managers and reps want more time to sell face-to-face with customers. They’re burdened with a number of non-selling activities, which becomes a source of frustration. Something that was a little surprising and definitely new was sales managers and reps believe that a more account-based approach to marketing and business development will help them more successfully create demand.

Over the last five years, there’s been this big trend toward inbound marketing and content marketing to drive those leads that would be sent to sales managers and reps to follow up on. Now, what we’re learning is that industries, especially in some of these B2B industries that sell larger, more complex deal, want a much more targeted approach.

They want, for example, to be able to identify organizations they want to do business with and buyers within those organizations. They want insight and research on the issues that the organizations and buyers are facing. Then, they want help in content and marketing outreach to go after those organizations in a very targeted manner to generate awareness. And ultimately, they want to create opportunities to begin dialogue around how they can help the customer.

Download a copy of the report

It’s simple! Just click on this link. You should also check out our Resource section on the website, where you will also find other valuable research studies and tools.

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