July 14, 2015

7B3A1C5A-FB9F-4864-BDA8-87FE5BE546DBWith the Major League Baseball All-Star Game this July, including 7 Kansas City Royals, we thought it was a good time to reflect on what it takes to be an All-Star Sales & Marketing Team in 2015.

Just last week, Salesforce.com released its inaugural research report that reveals high-performance sales organizations (Teams of All-Stars) utilize sales analytics, mobile, and collaborative practices to build an organization-wide culture that fuels their success and winning.

This Report surveyed more than 2,300 sales leaders worldwide, and examines the priorities, behaviors and technology use of today’s sales teams. The report found that higher performing sales teams are far more likely to maximize technology and data to help integrate and automate the entire organization into the overall sales process to deliver customer success.

To download the 2015 State of Sales report, please click here. 

It is of no surprise that, like baseball, the practice of Sales in organizations has changed significantly over the last few years. With more sales professionals on the go, customers living in a much more social and mobile first world, and new data being created and updated at lightning speed, the need to evolve is immediate for those who want to succeed.

According to the corporate advisory firm CEB, “customers are already 57 percent through the buying cycle before even engaging with a salesperson. And when customers do engage seriously with a brand, the selling cycle is competitive and compressed, and sales people need to move quickly to close the sale.”

“Technology is rapidly becoming the difference between big quarters and big misses,” said Mike Rosenbaum, executive vice president of Sales Cloud, Salesforce. “The companies who deliver strong sales results not only use modern CRM platforms to gain critical insight into all the customer touchpoints, but are also deploying newer technologies like sales analytics to sell smarter and mobile to respond anytime, anywhere.”

state-of-salesFor those who have seen the recent popular movie, Moneyball, it illustrates how the Oakland A’s general manager, Billy Beane, successfully used data analytics to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis that helped identify which players to acquire and utilize for optimal performance and results. And ironically, this is a similar story to how our beloved Kansas City Royals are utilizing data and analytics to deliver a Championship and All-Star performance recently.

Similarly, great sales teams and top sales organizations are also using technology, data, and analytics to help them make better business decisions in regards to where to spend their time, where to focus their efforts, who would be the best new customer opportunities, which ones are most likely to close, where are the recent market trends, where to invest for maximized growth, and the list continues.

As another key aspect of All-Star performance, just as speed is one of the most important currencies in baseball today, that is true as well in business – particularly in sales. Thus, being able to be mobile on the go, and have access to your key opportunity data and valuable account information anytime, anywhere, and on any device is essential to optimizing the speed of sales. With supercomputer smart phones and related critical applications now available almost instantly from everyone’s pocket, that critical insight to help close a sale or develop a stronger customer relationship can be the difference between average and awesome performance.

Finally, we all know that teamwork is that elusive ingredient that often is the critical component that drives success. And one of the top components of teamwork is collaboration.  All-Star sales organizations have great teamwork, and in particular a very collaborative culture of helping and supporting one another with the unique skills, experience, and knowledge of the respective members of the team, to gain a more complete view of customers and opportunities, and to unify around a common goal – winning.

In summary, All-Star sales organizations are found to be strong users of sales technology and data analytics, and they practice good collaboration, which is illustrated by the Report’s findings.  The Report highlights that, “high-performing sales teams are more than twice as likely to be heavy technology adopters, including technologies such as customer relationship management (CRM), and marketing automation, which can help accelerate the overall sales cycle by 3-times for All-Star organizations over the under-performers.”

So let’s get ready to Play Ball!