Powering profitable sales growth: five imperatives from the 2014 sales performance optimization study

Powering profitable sales growth: five imperatives from the 2014 sales performance optimization study
Document type
Corporate author(s)
Date of publication
28 October 2014
Trends: economic, social and technology trends affecting business
Business and management
Material type

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Accenture, in collaboration with CSO Insights, a leading research and benchmarking organization, conducted in 2014 the 20th annual study on sales performance optimization to assess current sales performance, challenges facing sales executives, and what organizations are doing to address those challenges. Key points include:

  • Pressures on CSOs remain intense; 99 percent are planning for higher revenue targets for this next year. However, the majority of CSOs are unsure if–and how–they can deliver.
  • Only 25 percent of CSOs expressed either no doubts or minimal doubts about achieving their new revenue targets. Importantly, CSOs reported for 2014 two critical trend reversals: After several years of increases in both percentage of sales representatives achieving quota and revenue target increases, both these numbers are lower for 2014. Even with these decreases, CSOs indicated less confidence in representatives’ ability to make their targets compared to previous years.
  • Sales performance is decreasing despite CSOs’ previous investments and efforts to increase sales effectiveness. The traditional sales model is no longer working.
  • It is time for CSOs to rethink their investments and sales models in a dynamic, always-on and always-connected environment. CSOs can no longer rely on their old playbooks. An entirely new approach to sales is required.
  • Accenture’s research and experience shows that an agile selling approach can be a primary source of competitive differentiation and sustainable growth by producing significant improvements in sales force performance and bottom-line savings. Yet, most companies have not adopted the agile selling principles that are now required. In some cases, this is due to CSOs’ reluctance to let go of the traditional selling approaches they have developed over the years; in others, because CSOs simply don’t know where to invest.

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