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Relationships Rule, but Data Drives Sales, Too

The odds might not be in your sales team’s favor … yet.

I’ve interviewed many sales reps over the past two months, trying to better understand the challenges they face in today’s fast-paced, digital-first sales environment. They tell me they’re overwhelmed. Projects get thrown at them with no additional support or designated priorities. They recognize that customer experience is key, but they’re burdened down with reports, cold leads, and spending time with clients who are losers, which makes it hard to nurture their best clients. And still they are expected to prospect and bring leads into the pipe.

How do they manage their time when they must do demos, talk to clients, prospect, and simultaneously juggle many customers, all while dealing with a complex solution? A long sales cycle exacerbates the problem.

Reps need patience and proven strategies to keep deals going. Technology was supposed to make our lives easier. And in some ways, it has…

That’s why I resonated with this post: “New Research Unveils 5 Trends Shaping the Future of Sales” by Lynne Zaledonis, VP at SalesCloud, Product Marketing at Salesforce.

SalesCloud’s research proves that sales reps are overloaded, and that only 57 percent will make quota this year. (That’s a real downer for sales reps.) Relationships still rule, but data-driven insights can help sales pros identify people with the propensity to buy—you know, the people with whom they should be building relationships—which can take the “waste” out of “wasted time.” That’s the good news.

For more on the study, check out Zaledonis’s post. Here’s a snippet:

New Research Unveils 5 Trends Shaping the Future of Sales

Customer expectations are skyrocketing, and it’s changing what it means to be a successful businessperson in any role. Today, we live in an instantaneous world, but also one in which tailored, consultative experiences built on strong relationships are table stakes. How can sales reps meet these seemingly contradictory demands?

Our research team surveyed more than 2,900 sales professionals worldwide to see what’s shaking up the sales world and what the teams that excel in this new environment do differently. Let’s take a look at the top trends shaping the future of sales.

  1. As Sales Mandates Change, Teams Are Falling Short of Rising Customer Expectations

A separate study found that 58% of consumers and 77% of business buyers feel that technology has significantly changed their expectations of how companies should interact with them. And when customers demand more personalized, consultative engagement, it’s the salespeople on the front lines who carry the onus to deliver. It’s no wonder that customer satisfaction is now the most-tracked sales KPI.

This is a tall order, as sales reps are overloaded by various tasks and requirements that lead them to spend just one-third of their time selling and interacting with customers. What’s more, they’re also increasingly responsible for emerging customer success metrics, adding a detour to their quota-driven north star. It’s no wonder that 57% of sales reps expect to miss their quotas this year.

Read the rest of the article.

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