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Sales 'deceptively shiny' as poor performance bites

03 Jul 2019
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While many Asia Pacific organisations have been able to increase their revenue plan and quota attainment in the past two years, they are also struggling to adhere to sales best practices, as well as customer retention and seller retention.

Out of 900 sales leader and sales leaders, of whom 17.7% were based in Asia pacific, a report from CSO Insights highlights 12 best practices that correlate most strongly with sales performance.

In the last two years, many sales organisations in the Asia Pacific region increased quota attainment and revenue, with revenue plan attainment up seven per cent and quota attainment up five per cent since 2017. However, adherence to many sales best practices remains low and leading indicators such as seller retention, customer retention and customer relationships are in decline. 

“Taken at face value, this year's numbers appear promising. Sales organisations have increased revenue attainment for the third consecutive year. And for the first time in two years, sales teams are making their numbers, with the percentage of sellers earning quota increasing to 60% from a record low two years ago,” says CSO Insights chief research officer Seleste Lunsford.

However, the findings aren’t telling the whole story. The report suggests that sales are in a ‘deceptively shiny’ state, in which performance is on the decline. 

For example, Seller attrition rose to 18% worldwide, which resulted in a 5% drop in seller retention over the last two years. Attritions have not resulted in productivity of performance gains, the report also warns. Organisations must look beyond revenue and address the underlying performance drivers.

“Half of the deals that are forecast to close don't. Customer retention has decreased as seller attrition increases. These indicators suggest strong economic growth is the variable that powers sales organisations. However, to achieve long-term world-class status, sales organisations need to apply greater focus to sales transformation initiatives,” continues Lunsford.

The report suggests that organisations are building unified sales systems that combine strategy, customer engagement, and performance support – but those systems are works-in-progress as cross-functional teams redefine their approaches.

“It remains a priority - buyers demand value and want to work with organisations that can see beyond the deal. Collaborative teams that go further down the customer's path to determine how the customer uses their products and services add greater value throughout the engagement.”

Findings are from CSO Insights’ 2019 World-Class Sales Practices Study: “All that Glitters is Not Gold."