Recently, there has been a lot of talk about two topics:
- The increasing complexity of sales organizations.
- How sales costs are outpacing revenue growth.
In highly regulated industries like insurance, health care, pharmaceutical, and financial services, where distributed marketing channels are the norm, it’s even more important to look at ways to resolve these issues – and increasingly, companies are looking to technology to deliver increased productivity across the sales organization.
Technology was once viewed as having only a tactical role in sales enablement, but companies that take a more strategic view of marketing automation have a better chance of achieving the outcome they want.
Consider a few facts from the IDC Report, Next-Generation Sales Operations:
- Last year, 50% of sales reps did not achieve their quota.
- The number of leads needed to close a deal has increased for 66% of companies.
- The length of the sales cycle has increased for 72% of companies.
IDC recommends creating a sales operations team equal to about 10-15% of the entire sales force. But wouldn’t that just make an already complex selling environment even more cumbersome?
Not if the view of sales operations as a tactical role focused primarily on sales force automation expands into a strategic focus on distributed marketing. “What you want is a roadmap that helps with both short and long-term success,” says industry analyst David Coursey, co-author of The Customer Never Sleeps: 21st Century Marketing in the Age of Google.
“Look at the U.S. Interstate highway system. If you look at it as individual roads, you miss the overall strategy. But when you look at the big picture, you see that it was a strategic military plan to protect American cities in case of an invasion, and all the highways are laid out in the way that can get heavy equipment from place to place most efficiently. It’s like that with marketing and sales, too.
“The right technology can bridge the gap between strategy and tactic to optimize people, processes and the delivery of marketing messages to prospects and customers. If you do that, and you deliver a competitive product that is priced right, then focusing on sales operations could be just what you need to overcome the hurdles we’re facing as we come out of the recession.”