There is just no part of the current economy that is about getting lucky – and sales people know this more than anyone. CSO Insights run a sales performance study and are (not surprisingly) picking up the significant drop-off in sales performance over the last year..
What’s interesting about their analysis is how big a role sales intelligence plays in the sales rep’s ability to perform. For all three keys: Knowing there is a game, Getting in the game and Winning the Game:
“sales reps are finding…They need to demonstrate a value-add in terms of knowledge of the prospect’s marketplace… failing to do so can get them dropped from the conversation”;
and “it’s critical that the salesperson is able to quickly collect the information required to go beyond having a product conversation to having a meaningful dialogue about the customer’s business”.
The fundamental key is account-focused intelligence – the ability to “identify and understand the market trends and drivers impacting your customer’s business, their competitors and how they are faring against them, your customer’s customers etc.”
So no surprise – sales reps that are willing to do the work get better results – and those that succeed understand the impact of a) doing thorough research on a prospect account then b) integrating that knowledge into a strategic account plan.
CSO Insights segmented their 2010 survey based on firms that exceeded expectations, met expectations and needs improvement based on these two aspects of selling and as you would expect – those that do strategic research and use it in their account plans do better!