This week, Xactly took home a winning spot in the coveted CRM Watchlist 2016 (Picture us doing one of these end zone dances). For those of you unfamiliar with the CRM Watchlist, it is the (labor of love) creation of renowned CRM analyst Paul Greenberg, president of the 56 Group and contributor to ZDNet. Each year, Greenberg leverages his decades of experience in CRM and related spaces to distinguish the most impactful vendors in the industry; measuring them on their technology, strategy, market impact, culture, and more. While we were thrilled to win the award for the fourth straight year, we were also intrigued to see among this year’s entrants an increased focus on sales enablement technologies. As Greenberg noted, “The number of submissions who provided some sort of sales adjunct service or application - something that is tied to sales force automation - were way up this year - and what makes this area interesting (I like sales optimization for it) is that they were not competitive - entirely different.” To this we say…. it’s about time! Sales continue to be the lifeblood of any business. No matter how cool the device, innovative the technology, or creative the campaign, the success of a company all comes down to sales. But while we have heard plenty in recent years about high investments in marketing technology to gain the awareness of new customers, there has not been the same level of focus in helping close those customer deals. To us, the two should not be mutually exclusive. When sales technology is combined with marketing investments, like CRM, companies can maximize the value of both and get a clear picture of their customers, from initial point of contact, through to the final sale. This can translate into a whole wealth of information that can not only help the company retain those customers, but also make them strong brand advocates because there is a better understanding of their buying behavior and needs. This approach seems to be catching on as a recent study by TEKsystems published in ITBOB noted that “Marketing and sales will account for 27 percent of IT spending in 2016, far outpacing traditional spending on IT operations.” So when considering new technologies this year, be sure sales is at the top of your list. Your bottom line will thank you for it, and you can never go wrong with an award-winning SPM solution.