A new report by the Sales Executive Council (SEC) outlines that sales people are not spending enough time with customers and spending more time engaged in administrative work. Access to potential customers across the board is reported to have dropped 26%. Time spent getting ready for presentations and post-sales activities has increased 15%. [tweetmeme source= “insideview” only_single=false]
Why is this?
There has been a shift in the sales process and specifically in the customer buying process. People are being alot more careful about how they spend their money and what vendors they work with. Since customers are now in control more than they were 5 years ago, sales teams are having to adust their behavoirs and activities to customize more of their offerings to each potential customer. B2B companies have to keep pace with Customer 2.0. Companies are now in the solutions game and selling a solution is a much longer process than having a CD in a box and selling it off a shelf. Customers demand more engagement by sales people and more customized applications to solve their issues.
This data tell us that in complex sales, selling is about more than being a persuasive presenter: it’s about the hard work that happens before and after that presentation, from researching customers to pulling together internal stakeholders to planning how to grow the account over time.
Pre-call planning by sales teams has increased 15% to meet the demands of customers. Sales people may only have one chance to talk with the C-Suite and the cookie cutter presentations that worked years ago will result in a glazed over look and forgotten about before you walk out of the room. Deal complexity has increased as customers want the customized solutions that affect their business process. The increase in panning also is attributed to the lack of resources available to a sales team now versus a few years ago.
With more emphasis in pre-call planning there is a much greater need by companies to be invested with sales intelligence solutions that can cut down research time and give a sales person an advantage. Some of this information will come from conversations with the customer but decision makers are busy and discovery calls are few and far between. Using Sales 2.0 tools and harnessing aggregated news and social streams from individuals and companies can fill in much of the information gap.
It was also interesting that the report showed that post-sales activities by sales teams increased 15%. This means that sales people are not focusing on bringing in new business and working with existing business. Companies that have this issue should look into investing more sales support and relieve the burden on revenue producers.