Groundbreaking Research From Xactly Highlights the Disruptions that Transformed Sales Organizations in 2020, Presents an Outlook for the Future

Xactly research shows that revenue leaders reported increased attrition and barriers to digital transformation across sales teams in 2020. Learn more insights and get the full 2021 State of Global Enterprise Sales Report.
Apr 07, 2021
3 min read

Revenue leaders reported increased attrition and barriers to digital transformation across sales teams; Early technology adopters and innovators set-up for continued success. 

SAN JOSE, Calif., April 7, 2021 — Today, Xactly, the leader in revenue intelligence solutions, published its State of Global Enterprise Sales Performance report, which quantifies the disruptions that challenged sales organizations over the past year and demonstrates how the industry is preparing for the future. 

In a survey of more than 2,000 revenue leaders across the U.S., Canada, UK, France, and Germany, Xactly reveals how organizations adapted to rapid change as a result of widespread distributed work, and outlines evolving challenges for sales teams, including aggressive revenue targets and rising attrition. 

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations adjusted their approaches in order to compete. This not only impacted processes and working environments, but accelerated digital transformation efforts, exposing  major barriers to technology adoption. 

“While sales organizations have demonstrated immense resilience over the past year, many are either struggling or reluctant to use new technology to its fullest extent. Our report shows how the industry’s dependence on the status quo, or relying on gut instinct rather than data, inhibits an organization’s long-term success,” said Chris Cabrera, founder and CEO at Xactly. “In the face of continued challenges from distributed work, leaders must embrace advanced data analytics and automation to optimize revenue generating decisions with actionable insights. Digital transformation can’t happen instantaneously — it requires a clear vision and roadmap, as well as alignment among key decision makers. The same roadblocks that respondents shared are impeding innovation today.” 

Xactly’s research identified three major trends confronting enterprise revenue leaders: 

Trend 1: Volatile Revenue Goals & Ambitious Sales Quotas Put Pressure on Sales Leaders

Sales organizations navigated unprecedented disruption over the last year. A vast majority changed both revenue goals and sales rep quotas in response to the pandemic. Yet sales reps are still held to pre-COVID standards of performance. Respondents noted that progress to revenue goals (29%) and achieving sales quotas (25%) remain the top measures of success. Challenged with this adversity, half of revenue leaders report that less than 50% of their sellers performed at or above quota.

Trend 2: Tech Adoption is on the Rise–but There’s Still an Over-Reliance on Gut Instinct

Half of all surveyed revenue leaders say it’s more difficult than ever to forecast bookings. However, there is reluctance to change processes, as doing things the way “they have always been done” is the most influential factor in sales planning decision-making today (29%), followed by relying on data analytics and intelligent analysis (28%) and gut feelings or trusted colleagues (24%). Yet many revenue leaders see the benefit of data and automation, with 41% agreeing that AI should be part of any high-performing sales team. Many cited cost constraints as a major barrier to adoption (32%), as well as legacy systems (27%) and lack of buy-in from company leadership (22%). 

Trend 3: Despite More Complexity, Remote Work Presents New Opportunities

Distributed work has made achieving sales goals more difficult, with many respondents citing a lack of in-person meetings with clients (33%), budgetary constraints (28%), and lack of internal in-person meetings (27%) as the primary barriers to success. As a result of these hurdles and increased pressure, it’s been a volatile year for talent. Sales rep turnover is higher than ever. Over the last 12 months, organizations have exited sales reps, and sales reps have voluntarily left their companies, at higher rates than usual. 

To read an in-depth analysis of the findings, download the State of Global Enterprise Sales Performance in its entirety. To learn more about Xactly, its products and offerings, or if you are looking to join the company’s expanding team, please visit 

About Xactly

Xactly empowers growing enterprises to effectively manage their revenue generation. Xactly’s Intelligent Revenue platform carries organizations through the full Revenue lifecycle by focusing on planning, territory and quota, incentives, and pipeline management and forecasting from initial strategy development through execution and prioritization of all aspects of revenue optimization. Harnessing the power of AI, Xactly’s scalable, cloud-based platform combines great software with the industry’s most comprehensive 16-year data set to give customers the trusted insights they need to improve sales performance and grow revenue. 

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Kaitlin Rymer
(412) 952-5897