I don’t think anyone would argue that sales are at the heart of any company’s success. No matter how innovative your product, marketing, or vision is, if you don’t sell anything you won’t be in business for long. That’s why I took pause when I saw a recent statistic from Corporate Executive Board that said sales people blame their own firm for 20 percent of stalled/lost deals.
Overly Complex Internal Processes
The survey of 2,000 sales reps showed that 62 percent attributed the burden of dealing with overly complex internal processes and procedures as a key inhibitor to selling. Unfortunately, many companies are experiencing this issue in their business every day.
The very system that was created to motivate sales reps and encourage performance – incentive compensation – can become part of the problem. Limited visibility into numbers causes painstaking shadow accounting and disputes, and time is wasted manually signing plans and compensation statements.
The Importance of Seller Experience
While most companies – and rightly so – are continually innovating around the customer experience, not enough are thinking about the role the “seller experience” plays in the overall customer equation.
Today, billions are spent on marketing technology to reach customers – a piece in Fortune Magazine noted the estimate to be upwards of $120 billion by 2025. But clearly, as this CEB study noted, not enough investment is being made in technologies sales people need to do their jobs easier and more efficiently.
As evidence, it’s estimated that more than 85 percent of incentive compensation is still done manually on spreadsheets. In an age where automation should be a forgone conclusion, it’s shocking that so many companies are limiting their sales potential by not optimizing the overall selling experience.
As the study notes, “There is arguably no function more important or more relevant to creating that crucial connection to customers than a company’s own sales team.”
Moreover, the piece found that a negative seller experience translates directly into financial losses.
It adds, “High levels of perceived seller burden are demonstrably destructive to sales productivity. Specifically, sellers working in high burden organizations have a 12 percent lower conversion rate than sellers who don’t.”
Delivering a Stellar Seller Experience
A sales team is often the first point of contact with a new customer – and you never get a second chance to make a first impression. As the piece says, “the quality of the experiences created for reps will affect the quality of the experience they, in turn, create for customers.”
Spending on technology to acquire those prospects is essential. But equally so is arming sales teams with the tools they need to effectively do their jobs and turn those prospects into loyal customers. As such, isn’t it time for companies to reconsider the balance between delivering a stellar customer experience with also delivering a stellar seller experience?