10 Sales Statistics For Strategic Planning in 2020

Jan 02, 2020
5 min read
Sales industry statistics tell a story of change, best practices, and where future challenges lie. Here are 10 stats you need to know.

Sales statistics are valuable for a number of reasons. They provide metrics that give you insight into your sales organization's health. Industry and planning-specific statistics also help guide strategic sales planning and incentive compensation. When used properly, statistics should tell a story, and they should help you make strategic business decisions.

Data is crucial for driving performance and growth in any company— it shows what strategies are working, as well as uncovering gaps that need to be filled. With that in mind, we conducted research, consulted sales performance management experts, and compiled ten valuable sales industry statistics that are important for everyone within a sales organization to know.

(You can get even more statistics to help drive your sales planning, management, and analysis in our full Ultimate List of Sales Statistics.)

Sales Statistics for Strategic Planning

1. Enterprises will miss the equivalent of up to 10% of annual sales lost opportunities because of poor planning (Gartner)

The truth is you don’t know what you don’t know. When you’re not using data-driven planning, you’re missing out on a big chunk of business opportunities that could have been captured through improved management of sales territories, quotas, and compensation plans. By looking more closely at your data and planning more effectively, companies can optimize their plans and improve overall sales performance.

2. Reps spend only 34% of their time selling (Salesforce)

So if they’re not selling, then what are today’s sales reps spending the majority of their time on? Administrative tasks, including data entry, quote generation, and other tasks are sucking up your team’s time and keeping them off the phones. The first step is giving reps time back to do their job—here are some tips to improve sales productivity to help get you moving in the right direction.

3. Top-performing sales reps hit their peak quota attainment between 2-3 years in their role (Xactly Insights)

It’s no secret that reps need time to ramp up to full production—but Xactly Insights data shows that top-tier salespeople tend to hit their peak performance level 2-3 years into a role. This level then dips around the 5-year mark. Here are some incentive planning tips to maintain high levels of performance for every stage in a rep’s career.

4. 57% of sales reps are expected to miss their quota this year (Salesforce)

More than half of sales teams are estimated to fall short this year—that’s a frightening reality. However, it’s not entirely surprising when you consider reps spend less than half of their time selling (see stat #2 above). Between poorly designed plans and lack of adequate selling time, sales teams aren’t being set up to succeed, but you can get yours on the right track with these tips to improve sales quota attainment.

5. The average sales turnover rate is 35%, compared to an average turnover rate for all industries of 13% (HubSpot)

Sales is a fast-paced, results-oriented industry, so it can be expected that turnover is somewhat higher than overall industry averages. But—it is also a peak job market. Top sales reps are a hot commodity in the competitive sales landscape. So benchmarking incentives against industry data is crucial to offer competitive incentive pay and hang on to your high performers—especially when 89% of reps leave a job because of insufficient compensation.

6. The average rep tenure now sits at 1.5 years, compared to more than 3 years in 2010 (The Bridge Group)

In addition to high turnover, sales tenure is shrinking at an alarming rate. In nearly 10 years, the average tenure of an SDR has decreased by 50%. And when you consider that SDR ramp-up time averages around 3.2 months, that doesn’t leave much time for full productivity—and you’re never seeing reps hit peak performance because they leave before that 2-3 year mark (see stat #2 above).

7. When it comes to compensation, businesses face 3 key administration challenges (2019 Sales Compensation Survey)

Sales compensation is the main driver of performance and revenue in your organization—so strong strategic planning and execution is vital. Recent research shows that companies struggle with three main challenges that are keeping them from optimizing performance:

  1. Implementing best practices (in planning and execution)
  2. Lack of data centralization
  3. Non-standardized incentive processes

Automation helps address these challenges by improving the accuracy and efficiency of compensation administration. (Here are some additional benefits of automation for organizations.)

8. Less than 1/3 of CEOs rate rank the data they receive on “critical” or “important” matters as “comprehensive” (2019 PwC Annual Global CEO Survey)

Leadership needs accurate, comprehensive data to fully understand the state of their organization and make strategic business decisions. This is especially important for analyzing the performance of sales teams. Unfortunately, according to PwC this “executive data gap” hasn’t improved in more than a decade.

Luckily, sales performance management (SPM) platforms offer a remedy to this big problem by centralizing data, helping align leadership, and providing the opportunity for strategic planning with artificial intelligence.

9. Organizations that use automated territory planning technology have up to 20% higher sales achievement than the average (Sales Management Association)

Digital territory planning provides a huge opportunity for businesses to design fair, balanced territories. Using technology, you can add third-party data into the mix, draw out maps, and ensure that each territory provides the maximum revenue potential and that reps have equal opportunities to hit quota. (Discover everything you need to know about sales territory mapping here).

10. An integrated SPM platform increases sales productivity by 12.5% and accelerates financial close times up to 50% (Simon & Kucher)

Using a sales performance management (SPM) platform, organizations are able to create a single source of truth for their data. With centralized insights, leadership can eliminate internal silos more easily and better align priorities to optimize their planning and performance.

Putting Sales Statistics to Work

These sales statistics tell a story about the sales industry: sales organizations are struggling with performance across the board, attrition is increasing, and data gaps are a challenge we’re all facing. It’s important that leaders take a close look at their company’s data and invest in the technology needed to become data-driven—so that they can compete in today’s competitive business landscape.

As the driver of your sales organization, your sales plan must be accurate. The best way to do this? Use your sales performance data to gain actionable insights. That crucial information holds the key to sales success. Discover more about why data-driven leadership is important in this Q&A guide from Ventana Research, “Why Data-driven Sales Leadership is Important.”

And for your reference, here’s a list of all of the resources we gathered these sales stats from, so you can dive deeper into the best practices:

  • Incentive Compensation
  • Sales Performance Management
  • Sales Planning
Karrie Lucero
Karrie Lucero
Content Marketing Manager

Karrie Lucero is a Content Marketing Manager at Xactly. She earned marketing and journalism degrees from New Mexico State University and has experience in SEO, social media and inbound marketing.