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Sales underperformance not exclusive to insurers

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Top managers and executives at life insurers who voice concern that not enough of their field agents are meeting sales quotas might take consolation in the fact that counterparts in the high-tech sector are facing a similar challenge.

Companies polled in a new survey reveal that, on average, only 60 percent of their salespeople achieved 100 percent of quota last year. The research, published by customer relationship management solutions provider Velocify, polled and interviewed senior-level sales leaders from more than 100 leading high technology and business services companies, including providers of computer software, cloud-based solutions and software-as-a service (SaaS), computer hardware, and telecommunications.

The report reveals that the number of salespeople who achieved 100 percent of quota varies greatly by sales organization:

  • 26 percent of sales leaders who participated in the survey report that 70 percent of their salespeople met sales quotas;
  • 54 percent report that between 50 and 69 percent of their salespeople made quota; and
  • 20 percent report that less than half of their salespeople made quota.

The paper adds that annual quota for an outside field salesperson averages $2.7 million and $985,000 for an inside salesperson. The average new deal size reported for field sales professionals was $166,000; the new deal size for inside sales professionals was $19,000.

“At first glance, the results might suggest that an outside sales model might make more economic sense because, on average, the annual quotas of outside salespeople are about three times greater than those of inside salespeople, while on-target earnings are only two times higher,” the report states. “However, the advantages of inside sales teams become more noticeable when…average deal size is added to the equation.

The survey participants identify the following as advantages of inside sales teams:

  • Easier to onboard new salespeople and share best practices - 83 percent;
  • Allow sales organization to scale faster – 79 percent;
  • Enable sales organization to increase call activity and selling volume – 78 percent;
  • Provide a better strategy to penetrate small and mid-market accounts – 76 percent;
  • Easier to train, develop and promote for field roles – 61 percent; and
  • Easier to track the pipeline and forecast results – 34 percent.


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