Forbes Global 2000 firms have spent around US$2.4 trillion on implementing digital sales channels and tools, however many have yet to maximise their potential, according to a new Accenture study.
Accenture Interactive’s Empowering Your Sales Force: It’s Not Just Automation, It’s Personal report surveyed more than 800 sales professionals across the globe and combined insights with data from the CSO Insights: 2015 Sales Performance Optimization Study
to gain a holistic understanding of sales tools usage and perceptions.
The report found that 80% of companies have adopted a customer relationship management system and a large majority have deployed tools across the entire sales process.
However, while 75% of respondents acknowledged that modern sales tools are an important part of the sales process, 59% said they were required to use too many and more than half found them an obstacle instead of a ‘facilitator to their sales performance’. Additionally, 58% felt tools are used to monitor performance rather than to increase performance and 60% of sales are not confident that they can meet their targets. Plus, although modern sales tools are more sophisticated and customisable, 56% said they were not tailored to their needs and only 13% of use their full capabilities.
According to Accenture Interactive, this can be attributed to a ‘disconnect’ between the sales tools designed and provided by the chief sales officers (CSOs) and the sales reps who use them. For example, almost 60% of CSOs cite ‘capturing new accounts’ as their primary objective, while more than two thirds cite their key priority to be ‘improving customer satisfaction’. Sales reps are evolving towards a collaborative, guided selling approach that values lasting customer relationships beyond transactions.
To match the way salespeople sell and engage with customers, Accenture Interactive recommends that sales organisations shift away from a top-down sales approach designed through an ‘enterprise lens’ to a ‘service design lens’. Tools should be personalised, easy to use and similar to the ones sales reps are using in their personal lives. They should also follow a human-centred design and leverages available flexible technology platforms available and identify critical data to measurably improve the guided selling experience.
“As companies strive to improve sales effectiveness, they need to fundamentally rethink their approach to digital within their sales organisations,” said Jose Goncalves, managing director and global digital sales lead at Accenture Interactive. “Rather than a top-down, enterprise approach, companies need to take a people-first approach that listens to the sales force and marries their needs with tools that deliver data-driven, flexible and personalised omnichannel experiences that help them sell smarter and drive the bottom line.”
Accenture Interactive predicts that organisations could gain a 5-105 increase in sales and revenues by amplifying sales talent, creating engaged customer conversations and boosting team performance.
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