- Sales reps don't know when to bring the right people to the table (i.e., from their organization) at the right time
And what are sales organizations plans for customer interactions in the next 6 to 12 months?
- "We need to get our sales reps to spend more time in front of prospects."
- Sales organizations want to increase the time reps spend directly interacting with customers by 20%. [IDC's 2010 Sales Barometer study]
Part of working smarter is investing more time and resources into helping sales reps better prepare for customer interactions. IDC research indicates that only 17% of rep time is spent on activities related to 'preparing for customer interaction'. We can argue about the value of data that comes from time motion studies that are the source of this type of data or even how much time a rep should really spend here, however, the main point is that the quality of time spent preparing for customer interaction is poor. This provides an ideal opportunity to improve sales productivity.
Where to start? Talent management and sales methodology are certainly two areas to evaluate. Other areas of opportunity and investment that have historically been neglected include sales enablement and customer intelligence. Although we have a long way to go, much progress has been made in the past 12-18 months in the area of sales enablement. Customer intelligence (CI), on the other hand, has yet to leave the starting blocks.
Some questions to ask regarding your CI capabilities include:
- Who is accountable for CI in your organization? The importance of CI to the sales organization requires sales operations to take a leading role in ensuring that this productivity lever receives the attention that it deserves.
- Is there one source of truth for sales reps to access customer purchase and relationship history?
- How easy is it for sales reps to leverage CI information as part of their standard sales process - both internally developed and externally sourced information? (e.g., CI embedded within your SFA of record)
- Are you leveraging more sophisticated CI analysis? (e.g., share-of-wallet information, up-sell tools)