Are you looking to invest in a new CRM system and you’re concerned about whether or not it’s worth it? Or maybe you’re struggling with the one you already have. Don’t worry – your concerns are justified. Plenty of others are having the same challenges. But, according to a new study, there is hope.
The Sales Operations Optimization Study recently released by CSO Insights – the research arm of sales consulting giant Miller Heiman – looked at 300 companies of all sizes to determine the effectiveness of their sales operations. Here’s what I learned from reading the study.
Having a “sales force” today is not enough. Today’s growing company needs a “sales operation” that includes not just sales people but administrative support and management. According to the study, it’s a “strategic function designed to provide a platform for sales productivity and performance by providing integrated methods, processes, tools, technologies and analytics for the entire sales force and senior executives.” In English: your sales people can’t do it all. They need a team.
Unfortunately, most smaller companies still don’t have a sales operation. The study found that most companies (about 64 percent) have a sales operation in place and the number is as much as 80 percent for companies with more than $250 million in revenues. But only 37.3 percent of smaller companies – those with less than $10 million in revenues – had a sales operation. Companies that provide more support and supervision to their sales people simply close more deals.
Sales and marketing continue to have a disconnect. 74 percent of organizations say that sales and marketing people in their companies still do not share a common definition of a lead.
We suck at forecasting. Almost half of respondents (45.7 percent) used a “subjective or casual approach” to forecasting. It’s not as if this isn’t a known problem. In fact, most companies surveyed agreed that improving their sales forecasting is one of their top three activities that needs improvement in the next two years. Unfortunately, it just seems like we continue to exercise the same bad habits: too much subjectivity, relying on the salesperson’s anecdotal evidence, lack of investigation from management, bad data and a tendency to look back instead of forward. The good news is that when companies do implement a more formal forecasting process their results get better.