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Productivity initiatives ‘distracting’ sales teams: Accenture

September 27, 2016  

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Organizations have invested billions in sales productivity solutions to enhance performance by giving sellers more time to sell – but the investment strategy is not paying off. According to new research from Accenture and CSO Insights, the research division of Miller Heiman Group, 59% of global sales executives say they have access to too many sales tools and are bombarded by too much disaggregated customer data to be effective.

Another 55% say their sales tools are an obstacle to selling. Consequently, ‘sales distraction’ is hindering business performance, causing more than half (56 percent) of global organizations to miss annual sales forecasts.

The Accenture Strategy report, Selling in the Age of Distraction’, examined the challenges impacting sales performance of global organizations with revenues of more than $1 billion, featured in CSO Insights’ 2016 Sales Performance Optimization Benchmark Study.

“Current productivity investment strategies are overwhelming sales executives with too many sales tools, too much customer data and siloed insights, which have become a distraction. Many are inundated with more information than they can effectively use or absorb, and are tied up with unproductive administration,” said Jason Angelos, managing Director, Advanced Customer Strategy, Accenture Strategy. “Pivoting from productivity to ‘outcome selling’ – which helps sellers to hone in on the insights and actions that matter most – can help them regain focus and deliver the tailored solutions and experiences customers expect.”

The era of productivity has given rise to ‘the age of distraction’. Many sales enablement programs intended to boost productivity have instead contributed to diversions that pull sellers off course. According to the research, just 22% of sellers’ time is taken up with lead generation, and only 36% of their average work week is spent selling. Sales productivity has also decreased from 41% five years’ ago, to 36% today. Another 58% of sales executives are concerned about achieving this year’s sales targets.