Only 63 percent of all salespeople make their sales quote, according to the survey.

Sixty percent of a buyer’s journey happens before a sales professional interacts with a prospect. And nearly as many buyers disengage from the sales process because sales professionals do not present value effectively or are not aligned with the buyer’s challenges.

These are key conclusions of a new study on sales execution trends from Qvidian. The report examines key objectives of sales organizations, the challenges they face meeting them, as well as current conditions, obstacles and investment areas needed to improve sales execution.

The report finds that 90 percent of selling content is never used in selling, rendering sales teams insufficiently agile to meet the complexity of the sale process. Additionally, 59 percent of sales professionals’ time is not spent selling, as they are burdened with other activities, including hunting for the right selling content and resources.

The report also finds that only 63 percent of salespeople make their sales quote. Yet it notes also that nearly all (94 percent) of executive managers view increasing “win rates” as the single most important focus area for their sales leaders.

Executive managers, according to the survey, rank the following as most important for sales execution:

  • Increasing win rates (94 percent);
  • Improving quota attainment (87 percent);
  • Increasing sales transaction sizes (83 percent);
  • Greater visibility into what’s working and what’s not working (82 percent);
  • Shortening the sales cycle (75 percent);
  • Closing more business, but at a lower cost (68 percent).

The report flags excessively long sales cycles (33 percent) and difficulty presenting competitive differentiation (33 percent) as the sales organizations’ top challenges. Other major challenges include:

  • The lack of a common sales process across the sales organization (24 percent);
  • Difficulty establishing a return on investment (20 percent);
  • Poor sales and marketing alignment (16 percent);
  • Ineffective and inadaptable sales process (13 percent).