2013 Sales Pulse Survey Findings – Part 3

By: Gary Tubridy Chief Sales Executive Events, Sales Growth, Sales Leadership, Sales Strategy

In the 2013 Sales Pulse Survey, the top 33% of companies by revenue anticipate growing at three times the rate of the lower 67%; 15% vs. 5%. We have been exploring what makes these “Top Growers” different.

While all respondents indicate “value and solution selling” will loom large in their 2013 plans, Top Growers offer deeper insight into what this means in terms of segmentation and deployment:

1. In a 2012 Chief Sales Executive Forum poll 84% of respondents said that less than half their customers cared about solutions.What Percent of Your Customers Care About SolutionsWhy so low? One executive summed it up, saying; “With the rise of sophisticated procurement departments, price has been elevated in the decision making process.”

What to do? Where price is the primary factor you have to deploy highly efficient selling resources and processes. According to one executive, “When you deploy expensive value selling resources, you have to know where to focus them or that investment will be wasted.”

2. Top Growers appear to believe that the middle market segment offers better opportunity to get a return on value selling investment:

  • There is greater access to the C-suite at such customer
  • Mid-market company executives have a greater tendency to partner with vendors because they lack significant in- house staff

3. Top Growers anticipate significant focus on new account acquisition in 2013. Expect to see both inside and outside sales resources deployed in high growth organizations to hunt for new accounts. Notably, high growers plan to increase both field and inside sales resources at about the same rate in 2013, perhaps in a play to more efficiently hunt for new business in the mid-market.

4. Top Growers most commonly used words like “service”, “accountability”, and “trusted advisor” to describe the role of the seller in adding value at accountsTop Growers

This implies a role for the seller in shouldering some degree of responsibility…accountability… for making solutions work. In some cases this may mean accepting performance guarantees. In others, it means allocating implementation resources to ensure the promised ROI is achieved. And in all cases it means an on-going role for the seller in maintaining and enriching equity at the account.

The role of the seller as a “quarterback” calling plays and dispatching resources may be making a comeback. Such an accountability model is more likely to be welcomed by customers seeking strategic relationships with their vendors. Accounts where the relationship is controlled or strongly influenced by the Procurement function will not have access to this talent or resources.

For more insights from the 2013 Sales Pulse Survey, read Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog series.

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Gary Tubridy

Gary Tubridy is a senior vice president of the Alexander Group and the general manager in charge of the firm’s management consulting business. Gary’s consulting work is focused on increasing marketing and sales effectiveness with particular emphasis in technology and medical products industries. Gary has deep expertise in diagnosing sales management issues and helping clients execute action plans to improve results. His research is focused on best practices of leading sales organizations in North America with particular emphasis on sales force transformation and the role of sales leadership. He leads the Alexander Group executive events series and hosts the Operations and Executive Forums. He is one of three founding stockholders of the Alexander Group.

Gary has been with the Alexander Group for over 35 years. Prior to that, Gary was in sales with the IBM Corporation. Gary holds a B.A. from Brown University and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University.