Top Trends from TOPO Summit Sponsors – All Things Sales
We surveyed our sponsors for TOPO Summit 2018 and asked them to identify three trends their companies are following in 2018. Based on those responses, we will be publishing a series of blog posts over the next several weeks, categorizing their thoughts into six themes: AI and Data, Everything Account-Based, Content and Experience, Sales and Marketing Alignment, Marketing and Sales Development Orchestration, and Sales Focused.
Loopio – Sales Content Management
Enterprise Content Management systems are enabling sales teams to save time and provide information back to prospects faster.
For some sales organizations, finding information to respond to prospect requirements for requests such as RFPs, RFIs, or Security Questionnaires involves parsing through requirements from each prospect, searching for content internally, and determining which Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to pull in. This not only lengthens the amount of time it takes to respond, it also distracts SMEs from their primary responsibilities.
With the rise in the usage of Enterprise Content Management systems, SMEs can now contribute their insights into a shared knowledge repository (even in the form of questions and answers) for sales teams to search and find relevant information. This helps to reduce bottlenecks in the sales process by shortening the amount of time it takes for sales teams to respond to prospects. It also alleviates some of the burden on SMEs to continuously be involved in various sales cycles.
Olono – Rise of System of Engagements (SOEs)
There’s been a lot of talk about adoption and consolidation of tools—after all there are 400+ vendors in the “sales stack”, not to mention the dozens of office and business productivity apps that provide insight into customers and prospects and are use by organizations daily (expense reporting, video conferencing, help desk, etc.). The past few years have proved sales reps are simply going to use the tools that are easy to use and deliver the most value to them (think note-taking apps instead of putting notes in a CRM). Forcing them to change the way they want to work has been ineffective for decades. Finally, we’re seeing organizations increase the number of system of engagements—allowing individuals to pick what works for them, rather than identifying a single place to live and work in all the time.
Yesware – Expansion of sales productivity technology beyond sales roles
At least in SaaS, email tracking, sync back to CRM and some method of prescribing and enabling a structured method of follow up have been widely adopted by sales organizations. What we are now starting to see is companies adopting this same, structured approach to other departments that are externally facing. Think PR, recruiters, customer success, etc. Companies that are scaling rapidly need scalable, repeatable processes in recruiting just as much as sales. It is a lot easier to ramp a new recruiting hire when you can hand him or her the most effective templates and follow-up methods for the most common scenarios.
Akoonu – Productivity versus activity in sales
The rise of sales engagement platforms and activity automation provided sales leaders a structured way to organize and track outbound communications. Increasingly, sales leaders are seeing that activity — while correlated to productivity — is insufficient as a measure for evaluating sales activity.
Olono – Sales Activity Automation
While many parts of the sales process have been automated, the steps that are handled by field sales are still primarily manual. They require detailed organization, significant time investments and an incredible amount of patience. We’re finally seeing a big push towards automation for sales reps. This includes embedding plays, definitions and sales methodologies such as MEDDIC, Miller Heiman or even custom processes, as well as automating manual tasks such as data entry and data maintenance and reporting.
Akoonu – How high quality forecasting is converging with pipeline and opportunity management
As organizations have deployed predictive forecasting applications, they are increasingly discovering the missing link is not predictive, but rather having accurate insights and the ability to apply judgements.
Olono – Improving Average Quota Attainment (AQA)
Of all the metrics that sales executives track, Average Quota Attainment (AQA) is being watched with greater scrutiny than ever and is increasingly playing a role in decisions on where to invest. The benefit of AQA is that it looks across both high and low performing reps to drive improvement broadly. As organizations look at the ROI associated with tools, they are moving away from time savings or even productivity, prioritizing what truly impacts top line.