Agile Selling During Slow Down

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Recessions and slowdowns force companies to become innovative with their sales strategy. Unlike before sales function has become more complex and requires alignment between sales, marketing and service. Agile selling is a new term that organizations could consider if they want to boost their sales through better customer experience.


A recent Accenture report advocates adoption of agile sales techniques in place of traditional methods which are inadequate to address the demands of the new customer. The report lists agile selling into three: using connected customer insights to differentiate the buying process, providing a consistent customer experience across all channels, and taking advantage of social, mobile, analytics and cloud capabilities to reduce time to market and meet customers where they want to transact.


Accenture, in collaboration with CSO Insights, a leading research and benchmarking resource for chief sales officers (CSOs), recently completed the 19th annual study on sales performance optimization. The research surveyed more than 1,200 companies worldwide to assess current sales performance, challenges facing sales teams, the reasons those problems exist, and what organizations are doing to effectively address these issues.


Agile selling requires companies to operate at dramatically different execution speeds and different and levels of collaboration. When done strategically, it can help to provide the flexibility, accountability and responsiveness necessary to capitalize on growth opportunities in today’s economic environment and in response to changing customer behavior.


In this new era, the report finds, CSOs will be most effective by taking a holistic approach to sales effectiveness across the entire sales organization—from strategy, processes and incentives, to talent, enablement and operations. At the focal point is delivering a consistent and superior customer experience that draws together marketing, sales and service to inform and sell more dynamically, and provide service to meet customers’ ever-expanding expectations.


Key findings


  1. Seventy-six percent of CSOs perceive that mobile CRM improves sales team performance; however, less than half that number (30 percent) have a formal mobile device policy.
  2. Current hiring and training practices contribute to suboptimized sales force effectiveness This new reality demands a tailored and integrated customer experience—from touch points initiated by marketing, to promises made by sales, to customer service and support consistently delivered after the product is purchased
  3. Sales leaders now recognize that sales and service must be better integrated. Eighty-two percent are not directing customer service representatives to take advantage of cross-selling or up-selling opportunities
  4. Increased focus on sales effectiveness across the enterprise— beyond the sales organization—is needed to achieve targeted revenue gains. For the first time, CSOs reported that they are proactively investing in cross-functional improvements in two key areas outside of sales.