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Salesforce Research surveyed more than 3,100 global sales professionals to find out:

  • Which trends affect the changing role of sales?
  • What can become smarter, faster and more efficient ?
  • Which technologies most influence the increase in sales efficiency?
  • Which strategies and tools are used by leading experts to outrun their competitors?
  • How is the future of sales

The representatives of B2B (25%), B2C (31%) and B2B-B2C (44%) from a variety of industries participated in the study . Most of them are small (up to 100 employees, 38%) and medium (up to 3,500 employees, 40%) businesses. It is worth noting that the survey wore a global character . Respondents live and work in different countries around the world: the USA, Great Britain, Germany, Canada, France, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia.

According to the sales team’s performance As follows:

  • High-performance teams (significant revenue growth compared to last year) – 20%
  • Effective teams (revenue growth compared to last year) – 71%
  • Low-performing teams (revenue decrease compared to last year) – 9

Leading trends

Modern consumers who own the latest technology and actual data expect from sales of intuitive, informed, fast and personal experience. Therefore, today more and more products are replaced by flexible ready-made solutions, traditional success metrics are shifted toward client experience, and the usual business processes are changing under the influence of new technologies.

Companies are actively preparing for the upcoming changes, and successful Sales associates are exploring new opportunities.

Here’s what to pay special attention to in 2017:

  • The impact of sales on the business strategy is growing steadily . 73% of specialists On sales noted that attention to sales has grown over the past five years.
  • Clients expect from companies more thoughtful sales experience . Modern consumers need personal consultants. 79% of B2B customers find it incredibly important or very important to work with a sales professional who will add value to their business and act as a trusted adviser.
  • Compliance with customer expectations is the main problem for modern professionals On sales . The second place is motivated by the clients to shift the focus from the price of value. The third is the expansion of the opportunity to compare the offers of competitors. Fourth – the expectation of the same level of service at all points of contact. The fifth is the desire to have access to sales 24/7. And the sixth is the change in the role of the specialist from the seller to the adviser.
  • The introduction of innovations is directly related to the growth of income . 87% of high-performance teams note that their companies are trying to do their best to improve the efficiency of their work.

In their study, Salesforce Research tried to determine how the role of sales changes and what is the key to success in the Customer Century. Here’s what conclusions they came to.

1. Client experience is the most important indicator of success for modern specialists

In the current market consumers significantly influence whether the business will succeed or be left behind. That’s why sales professionals should concentrate entirely on customers, which changes the usual view of the evaluation of success. Today, customer experience / success is the leading type of KPI for measuring performance.

Sales teams are actively beginning to focus on customer experience. The most important goals for the next 12-18 months they call:

    • The growth in the number of leads and new clients – 56%
    • Holding customers and building strong relationships with them
    • The increase in the average order size is 36%


  • Time allocation for personal communication with clients – 35%
  • Improving the quality of data – 33%
  • Improving the use of technology – 33%
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    At the same time, many respondents agree that it is difficult to assess customer experience. This happens for several reasons: it is not easy to track, the company does not have the necessary tools or this indicator is not tied to the performance. However, the most effective teams 2.4 times more often call their analytical capabilities outstanding than their ineffective counterparts.

    2. Sales become more connected and active

    Sales professionals should reconsider the traditional approach to match the preference of modern customers: be always in touch and implement a personalized approach.

    Leading teams are better Understand and anticipate the needs of customers through close cooperation of departments, an effective system of partnerships, cross-channel and direct interactions. Highly effective sales departments are 2.9 times more likely to agree that their company is available to customers at any time than their less successful colleagues.

    Cooperation is necessary for building an effective sales and supply process Success of customers. 73% of respondents agreed that close cooperation of departments is very important for achieving the set goals, and 62% note the need to include other departments in sales processes.

    This approach has already proved its effectiveness: 60% of sales specialists note that the In addition, high-performance teams are 2.1 times more likely to have a single vision of the client in the company and cooperate productively with partners and clients than their less successful colleagues.

    In connection with This changes the traditional approach to [communication with people] [consumers] with consumers, while 87% of respondents consider personal communication as extremely important, 83% prefer to communicate by phone, and 78% prefer to communicate by email.

    There is a need to be maximally accessible For their customers. The main priorities of the most successful respondents are active communication with clients, availability on all channels convenient to consumers and at any time.

    3. Leading teams master technology and are actively learning

    Given the increased customer requirements sales professionals can no longer afford to spend time on routine administrative tasks. Successful teams are actively developing new technologies that help them increase productivity.

    Respondents who called ineffective internal processes central problem organizations, consider the main reason for its occurrence a large amount of administrative tasks (45%). 22% of respondents consider their lack of time for personal communication their main problem, 21% – limited or irrelevant data, 19% – lack of cooperation with the marketing department.

    As it turned out, modern sales professionals spend 64% of their time on tasks , not related to sales : administrative issues (25%), services (16%), trips (7%), training (4%), meetings (6%) and simple (7%).

    To increase their effectiveness, sales specialists master mobile technology . They use applications to communicate with customers on the go (53%), support sales (49%), get important reminders (46%) and communicate with colleagues (44%).

    analyst . 70% of sales professionals already use or plan to use analytical tools. They allow us to offer customers a unified experience on all channels (76% of respondents agree with this), accelerate the sales process (70%), increase the number of closed deals (70%) and reduce lead time (67%).

    ] One should not forget that training is necessary for a successful sales process . Highly effective teams are 2.5 times more likely to succeed in training employees than less successful specialists.

    Intelligent technologies capable of automating, simplifying and even completely transforming the process of selling In the next three years, significant technological growth is expected in such areas as predictive analytics (118%), transaction closure automation (115%) and artificial intelligence (139%).

    The most effective specialists On sales 2.3 times more often succeed in the CPQ process, 2.8 times more efficiently use predictive analytics and 2.7 times more automated processes than inefficient teams.

    Sales teams have already assessed the positive impact of new technologies On the results of their work. in the solution of the following problems :

    • Preparation of consumers and customers for sale
    • Increased Productivity of Sales Professionals
    • Increase in the accuracy of forecasts
    • Predictive analysis and sales
    • Growth in the number of closed deals

    In order to keep ahead of its competitors and confidently move forward, in 2017 sales professionals should begin to evaluate customer experience, actively To adopt a new customer-oriented approach, to minimize E inefficient processes and start to introduce workflows new technologies.



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