Categories

Sales
Sales

Our take on Salesforce’s 2015 State of Sales

Newly released, Salesforce's 2015 State of Sales highlights insights from over 2,300 global sales leaders. Here are the key trends that you need to know.
Salesforce Report

Salesforce released their 2015 State of Sales report a few weeks ago. The report is the result of a survey of more than 2300 sales leaders from around the world. Salesforce’s goal was to unearth trends in the tools, strategies, and tactics that high-performing sales teams are deploying to stay ahead of their customers’ ever-evolving needs.

An abridged version of the report is available on SlideShare, but the full report is worth a download since some of the juiciest bits of data are actually in the appendix.

The report has a great executive summary, but there are a few threads that we found especially interesting.

Sales analytics adoption will rise significantly. The best teams are ahead of the curve. (Ahem.)

Analytics adoption by team performance
Analytics adoption by team performance

Adoption of analytics tools is expected to rise by 58%, resulting in 74% of teams employing some form of sales analytics by the end of 2016. In that end state, only CRM and activity management tools will be deployed more often.

Most of that growth will come from average and underperforming teams catching up to high-performing teams, who are already deploying analytics tools heavily. High-performing sales teams use sales analytics at 3.5x the rate of underperforming teams. This goes beyond tracking basic sales metrics, with most high-performing teams seeking quantitative insight across the entire customer lifecycle.

An interesting subplot in the analytics story is that B2C sales teams are significantly less likely than B2B teams to rate their analytics capabilities highly. We’re curious about what drives this differential. One hypothesis is that B2C is more of a volume game, with teams selling higher quantities of lower dollar-value deals than their B2B counterparts. If B2C firms believe that deploying analytics adds marginal overhead on a per-deal basis, they may be less likely to adopt—perceiving the data gained to be less valuable than the cost in time and volume.

Mobile matters in Sales. And it’s going to matter more.

Most of the team here at DocSend has a background in mobile. We remember when 2012 was finally the “Year of Mobile.” And then it was 2013. And then 2014. Now, some are saying that the elusive “Year of Mobile” has, in fact, already passed. Most everyone would agree, however, that the “Year of Mobile in Enterprise” is still beyond the horizon.

Salesforce’s data reflects this, but suggests that the mobile revolution may be coming to a sales team near you in the not-too-distant future. The majority of sales teams in each performance segment do not include a mobile sales app in their technology stack. That will likely change within just two years. By mid-2017, more than half of high-performing and moderate-performing sales teams plan to have a mobile sales app deployed.

 

High-performing sales teams behave differently.

One of the most interesting, and perhaps most important, insights that can be gleaned from this data is that high-performing teams operate differently. This goes much deeper than technology adoption. High-performing teams seem to have different values both internally, and externally, than their lower-performing counterparts. This theme is present throughout the dataset, but these stats stand out:

  • High-performing sales teams are far more likely to care about customer retention and recurring revenue. Those metrics aren’t even in the top five for average and underperforming teams. This implies that higher-performing teams focus more on building long-term customer relationships and creating long-term value.
  • High-performing sales teams are twice as likely as underperformers to say that employee satisfaction is key to selling successfully. I.e., sales teams with leaders that correlate salesperson satisfaction with success, are actually more successful.
  • High-performing sales teams are almost three times as likely as underperformers to view sales as the responsibility of their entire company.

Dare we conclude that in today’s world of well-informed buyers, hyper-competitive markets, and sophisticated technology stacks—team culture and values are the secret sauce that separate the high-performers from the laggards?

We think that it’s important to view the entire dataset through this lens, and consider correlation versus causation. For example, it might be tempting to think that adopting a mobile sales app will necessarily boost a team’s performance. After all, high-performing teams use mobile sales apps at nearly 4x the rate of underperformers. However, it’s far more likely that mobile sales app adoption amongst high-performing teams is a reflection of their higher standard of customer engagement and responsiveness.

In other words, better tools alone don’t make better teams. Better teams demand cutting edge tools to better engage their customers—it’s a reflection of their ethos.