May 1st, 2017 by Oren Smilansky

Research from Clari, a provider of predictive sales technologies, indicates that salespeople are failing to close deals at alarming rates. In a February survey of roughly 300 sales professionals, the company found that half of all reps in 50% of the organizations polled failed to meet their quotas last year; 42% of respondents said that rep productivity is their biggest hurdle.

According to Craig Rosenberg, chief analyst at research and advisory firm TOPO, the two problems are closely related: “The consequence of reps not dedicating time to the right opportunities is a crisis in sales achievement, evidenced by the fact that so many sales organizations fail to meet the 70 percent quota mark — the benchmark of an effective sales organization,” Rosenberg said in a statement.  

The greatest challenges for these companies, Clari  holds, are “broken” opportunity-to-close (OTC) processes–the part that spans from the time the lead is identified to the moment when they sign a contract.

The research shows that managers are having trouble assessing the status of their pipelines. 70% or those surveyed they had to look outside of their CRM systems to get a better understanding of their deal status. A result is that that many deals are slipping–80% of respondents said that more than 10 percent of committed deals fell outside of quarter.

Inaccurate forecasting is also a major issue. Only 7% of respondents called their forecasting process “very efficient,” and an overwhelming 93% of executives report being unable to forecast revenue within 5 percent, even in the two weeks preceding the end of the quarter.

“Forecasting is more than a mathematical exercise,” Dana Therrien, research director of sales operations strategies at SiriusDecisions, said in a statement. “Sales people need tools that will facilitate a smooth process while providing the necessary analytics. Working smarter means relying on predictive intelligence to identify those opportunities with a statistically proven higher probability to close which will ultimately drive higher accuracy into their forecasting process.” 

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