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Sales reps need more social media training

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Capturing new accounts is a top objective of 60 percent of enterprise sales organizations worldwide, according to new research.

CSO Insights discloses this finding in its “2014 Sales Performance Optimization Study.” The 20th annual report polled 1,200 companies worldwide on more than 100 sales effectiveness-related metrics.

The report identifies other metrics as top objectives for the year ahead. Among them:

  • Increase sales effectiveness - 40.4 percent;
  • Optimize lead generation - 40.2 percent;
  • Increase penetration of existing accounts - 33.6 percent;
  • Increase win rates of forecasted deals - 23.3 percent;
  • Improve customer loyalty/satisfaction - 21 percent); and
  • Reduce sell cycle time - 20.6 percent.

“Reflecting back to our most recent Lead Management Optimization (LMO) study, we found that marketing is on board with sales in regard to focus and objectives,” the report states. “Nearly 84 percent of the marketing organizations that participated in the 2013 Lead Management Optimization survey also stated that increasing new customer acquisitions was their top priority for the next 12 months.”

The research adds that nearly half (49.7 percent) of respondents engaged in sales and marketing have an agreed-upon “formal definition” of a qualified lead. This compares with 31.1 percent who agree on an “informal definition.” An additional 19.3 percent of those polled have no agreed-up definition.

When asked what percentage of total leads come from sales, marketing and other sources, close to half of respondents (46.9 percent) say such leads are “self-generated by sales reps.” An additional 25.9 percent and 21.3 percent, respectively, flag market-generated leads and customer referrals/other. Customer service contributes just 6 percent of leads.

“Again this year, the heavy lifting of lead generation continues to fall on the backs of the sales force,” the report states. “To support their efforts, there is an increase in the number of companies providing salespeople with education on how to use social networking (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) to help their prospecting and selling efforts. Our initial reviews found that significant improvement is needed to train reps on how to use various social networking applications.”


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