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Industry Research : Evolving Role of Digital is Reshaping Sales Organizations
A new study by Accenture (NYSE: ACN) found that digital is transforming sales organizations, with Global 2000 firms spending an astounding $2.4 trillion on digital sales channels and tools1. Yet, despite the increased investment in automation and the growing sophistication of tools, companies have yet to maximize their potential. The study titled, "Empowering Your Sales Force: It’s Not Just Automation, It’s Personal," conducted by Accenture Interactive, finds organizations have a tremendous opportunity to rethink their approach to sales enablement by aligning digital tools to the evolving needs of today’s sales representatives and their customers.
The global study surveyed more than 800 sales professionals and combined the insights with data from the CSO Insights: 2015 Sales Performance Optimization Study to gain a holistic understanding of sales tools usage and perceptions. It found that 80% of companies have adopted a CRM system and a large majority have deployed tools across the entire sales process. Yet despite the abundance of tools, turnover rates of sales reps are rising (22+%)2 and 60 percent lack confidence in meeting their targets3. At the root of this dichotomy appears to be a disconnect between the Chief Sales Officers (CSOs) who design and implement the tools and the reps who use them.
The disconnect begins with expectations. For example, CSOs cite "capturing new accounts" as their number one objective (58 percent), while sales reps cite "improving customer satisfaction" (36 percent). This reflects an underlying shift in the reps’ approach, which has evolved toward a pull-based, collaborative, guided selling approach that values lasting customer relationships beyond the transaction. The result is a disconnect between the tools sales leadership are providing – even mandating – versus what sales reps actually need to be successful and feel empowered.
"As companies strive to improve sales effectiveness, they need to fundamentally rethink their approach to digital within their sales organizations," said Jose Goncalves, MD and global digital sales lead, Accenture Interactive. "Rather than a top-down, enterprise approach, companies need to take a people-first approach that listens to the sales force and marries their needs with tools that deliver data-driven, flexible and personalized omni-channel experiences that help them sell smarter and drive the bottom line."
Opportunities to Maximize Adoption, Usage
While sales tools grow increasingly sophisticated, customizable and flexible – packed with enhanced features and functionality – only 13 percent of salespeople utilize their full capabilities. Seventy-five percent acknowledge the sales tools provided are an important part of the sales process, but more than half find them more an "obstacle than a facilitator to their sales performance."
- Fifty-nine percent reported they are required to use too many tools
- Fifty-eight percent felt tools are used more to monitor performance than to increase performance (trust)
- Fifty-six felt tools are not customized to their needs
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More Editorial From Accenture
Published: Friday, April 1, 2016