Mar 082011

Sales: Understanding What Your Manager is Up Against

Enclosed  is an article CSO Insights wrote for the Harvard Business review a few years ago.

It’s core theme is how buyers have taken control over the buy cycle.

Even though the article is a few years old it’s research findings are still relevant today.

Here is a listing of the statements within that resonate with me:

  • “Sales training must now address how reps handle an environment in which buyers have more knowledge than they do.
  • Executives are taking-and should take-aggressive action to train and retain talent, manage the  process, and use support technologies to meet the challenges of this new environment.
  • Across industries, the selling context has changed, buyers are behaving differently and the work required of the organization is becoming more difficult
  • 85% of companies report increases in their product-line breadth, product complexity and participation in new markets
    • It takes longer to get a new sales person up to full productivity
      • Quotas have gone up substantially
      • Reps have less help in meeting their goals
      • The ratios of  support personnel to reps and of  managers to reps both widened
      • It’s hard to imagine  anyone concluding from our data that sales has become an easier job
  • The buyer’s cycle has become decoupled from the seller’s
  • The length of the average sales cycle keeps increasing
  • Lead generation is the top priority
  • Executives understand that the new selling context has real implications for how they hire, train, manage, coach and retain salespeople
  • The pressure to raise the salepersons game is all the  more intense
  • The greater the average tenure of the  staff, the higher the percentage of reps making quota, the higher the average deal size, and the shorter the average cycle
  • Among  management priorities, revising the sales process isn’t far behind the top priority of generating more leads
  • Third on the list of  executives priorities is to align sales and marketing more closely
  • Countless hours and dollars have gone into applying technology
    • Today’s efforts focus more on effectiveness-doing things better
    • New investment will be concentrated…on internal tools for sharing best practices…and computer delivered training
    • The established order remains: Get your process straight, then automate
    • Creating a culture that rewards sharing and recognizes contribution brings all these components together to produce a competitive sales and marketing organization
  • We know that the best selling is now highly automated and process oriented, and that careful measurement produces insight and continuous improvement”

What have you adjusted, to ensure individual success, in this new sales environment?


To Discuss how these Solutions will add value for you, your organization and/or your clients, Affinity/Resale Opportunities, and/or Collaborative Efforts, Please Contact:

Tom McDonald,; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752

sales, McDonald Sales and Marketing, LLC