Our research and work with sales organizations shows a lot of need for improvement. We recommend that they create a team to classify the improvements needed for each role in the sales management process: managers, operations, analysts and account executives. Each has specific needs that often get overlooked or are expected to be addressing by upgrading the SFA application. Our research found that sales organizations are slowly moving to do what they need to do; one-quarter plan investments evenly across the roles in sales. Across all roles, usability is the number-one evaluation criterion for new technologies in 73 percent of sales organizations, even more critical than functionality, manageability and other criteria that we have defined in our Value Index evaluation and RFP methodology.
Our research confirmed that sales organizations that are most efficient and able to maximize selling time are those that have invested in applications designed for sales. But we found that getting the budget to enhance sales applications will not be easy; it is the largest impediment for organizations, followed by lack of executive sponsorship and an unconvincing business case for investment. The more that sales teams can demonstrate how new software can save time and improve sales effectiveness toward revenue targets, the faster these advances will be adopted. If your organization needs technology help, you might find allies in finance, since they have a vested interest in improved sales performance and revenue; the research shows that one-quarter of finance groups will sponsor and help fund new investments in order to get information on a more timely basis. If you have not been looking at what technology can do to improve sales efficiency and effectiveness, get started and look at what could be a new renaissance in sales applications. In the coming weeks I will be writing in more depth about some of the key tools, from analytics to forecasting, that can help improve sales results and overall business health.
Mark Smith – CEO & Chief Research Officer