As companies look to compete more effectively and grow revenue, sales enablement is a strategic priority among leading organizations today, according to a new report by Forbes Insights, in association with Brainshark. Report data shows that 59% of companies that surpassed revenue targets – and 72% that exceeded them by 25% or more – have a defined sales enablement function, compared to only 30% of underperforming organizations.
The report, “The Power of Enablement: Bridging the Sales Productivity Gap,” contains findings from 216 U.S.-based executives related to how they address the problem of sales productivity. For the C-suite, driving sales productivity and closing the divide between top- and lower-performing salespeople are foremost concerns, with 71% of C-level executives noting that sales productivity is “critical” to future growth.
“Put plainly, sales productivity matters to top leaders today – and it should. Results show that it’s the most important management focus for companies, more critical than any other factor,” said Bruce Rogers, chief insights officer and head of the CMO Practice at Forbes Media. “This report outlines what companies need to do to maximize sales productivity, underscoring the power of sales enablement and the key role content plays in helping reps close more deals.”
Brainshark CEO Joe Gustafson said: “You have to tackle sales productivity from two angles: improving efficiency and improving effectiveness. Through a combination of people, processes and technology, companies can overcome sales challenges, help their ‘B’ and ‘C’ reps perform more like ‘A’ players, and support more valuable sales conversations that drive more results.”
Additional key report findings include:
- Sales enablement solutions (55%) are the top technology investments for boosting sales productivity – Other key areas included analytics (54%), CRM (53%) and learning technologies (45%).
- Content is the secret ingredient to sales productivity – Top-performing companies look to sales enablement technology to power their content strategies. Sales content analytics (44%) and easy, instant access to content in the field (41%) are the primary features these leading companies look for from a sales enablement solution.
- Leading companies provide consistent sales messages. Seven out of 10 top-performing organizations excel at providing a consistent sales message throughout the buyer’s journey, compared to 37% of all other firms.
- Value and consistency separate top salespeople from the pack – Leading companies identify two defining characteristics of their top-performing salespeople: the ability to sell value over price (81%) and consistency of execution (74%).
- Sales enablement can’t ignore front-line sales managers – Nearly three-fourths (74%) of leading companies cite coaching and mentoring of sales reps as the most important role front-line sales managers play.
- Leading companies value sales and marketing alignment. Three-fourths of top-performing organizations have strong alignment between sales and marketing, compared to just half of all other firms. In contrast, 87% of companies below revenue targets report poor sales and marketing alignment.
About this research:
This report is based on a survey of 216 U.S.-based executives conducted by Forbes Insights during the summer of 2015. All respondents were from companies with more than $50 million in annual sales; 34% were from companies with sales exceeding $5 billion. To achieve an added layer of insight, Forbes Insights also interviewed several executives and experts, incorporating some of their advice within the report.