UK’s 500,000 salespeople will need to collaborate to survive changing market conditions
LONDON, England - 4 August, 2008 – To succeed in a rapidly changing market, sales people will need to radically change their skills, according to analysis from Callidus Software, the leader in sales performance management. A combination of more sophisticated customers, increased competition and the economic downturn is driving an increase in professionalism and a move to more collaborative, customer-focussed selling.
Consequently, by 2020 the stereotype of brash, fast-talking, unscrupulous, sales operatives will be consigned to history. Successful salespeople will be those with more team-based and listening skills who put themselves in the customer’s shoes and develop long term relationships across the organisation. To cope with this shift, sales structures will need to change to provide the flexibility and support to manage and incentivise salesforces accordingly.
Callidus’ software is used to manage the sales performance of 1.9 million direct and channel salespeople across the globe. By analysing this customer base, combined with its market and sales experience, Callidus Software has uncovered five key skills that the salesperson of 2020 will need to possess:
1. Think like the customer. Empathy and understanding of the customer’s business objectives will be at the heart of future selling.
2. Relationship building. Creating a long term partnership across the customer organisation rather than the traditional adversarial sales based relationship.
3. Team work. Salespeople will need to collaborate openly with colleagues across their own organisation to ensure the best possible service to customers.
4. Knowledge. Successful salespeople will have an in-depth knowledge of their customer’s business and overall market that allows them to find opportunities to deliver value.
5. Customer service. Providing consistently excellent customer service is critical to retaining business. Therefore sales will need to be closely involved with ensuring ongoing customer satisfaction.
Today’s salespeople are operating in an increasingly buyer-dominated environment. The rise of the internet has armed customers with unparalleled access to information – and the ability to easily buy products and services from the cheapest source, particularly in mature markets such as IT. This sophistication means that customers are demanding more from their suppliers, particularly in areas such as service and support. Current economic conditions are also a factor - 41 per cent of salespeople claim they will find 2008 targets challenging .
“Sales is undergoing a sea change with customers increasingly demanding a focus on partnership, understanding and the highest levels of ongoing service,” said Bill Schuh, VP for Europe, Callidus Software. “The stereotype of the brash salesperson is being consigned to history, replaced by those that demonstrate a collaborative, customer-focussed approach to selling. Companies need to take a look at their sales organisations to ensure that they have the right skills in their sales staff if they want to prosper. The sales function should be a company’s lifeblood, but it needs to become as professional as the rest of 21st Century business if it is to retain it importance.”
The need for professionalism is still not being met. Research from IDC has found a gap between what customers want and what suppliers are delivering - it claimed that “vendors still do not sell the way we want to buy”. Many traditional salesforces are still talking technology and product rather than listening and providing solutions to business problems.
The move to more collaborative selling will also intensify the war for sales talent. Operating in a global market with transferable skills that enable them to easily move across sectors, the best salespeople will be in increasing demand. To recruit, motivate and retain them will take not just high salaries but flexible structures, personalised incentive plans and the ability to progress their careers. Already sales pay is 8.5 per cent higher than peers in marketing, finance and HR functions , with this gap increasing as the war for sales talent increases.
“The superstar salespeople of the future will have dramatically different demands than today,” added Mr Schuh. “Rather than just looking for high salaries, they will also want a combination of professional support and career progression to enable them to deliver on their promise and rise up in the organisation. By providing the right structures companies can nurture the CEOs of tomorrow within their sales teams. The changing face of sales mean that today’s graduates should consider sales as a key route to the top in UK organisations.”
About Callidus Software®
Callidus Software (www.callidussoftware.com, NASDAQ: CALD) is the leading provider of on-premise and on-demand Sales Performance Management (SPM) solutions to global companies across a broad range of industries. Our software allows innovative enterprises of all sizes to strategically manage incentive compensation, set quota targets, administer producers, and align territories, resulting in improved sales and distribution performance. Over 1.9 million salespeople, brokers, and channel representatives have their sales performance managed by Callidus Software’s products.
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Sam Grace/Bryony Beynon
Rainier PR for Callidus Software Inc.
+44 20 7494 6593
Callidus Software Inc.
+1 (408) 975-6683
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