Commentary

$800 Billion For Sales Training

Sales continues to be a top investment priority for businesses, according to the third annual LinkedIn State of Sales report. In the U.S. alone, companies spend $15 billion each year training sales employees and $800 billion on incentives to retain talent.

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This investment is also opening up new opportunities for sales professionals at every stage of their career, says the report. Sales development representative roles have grown 5.7X since 2012 , and the compensation for experienced sales professionals is also on the rise: the median annual pay for sales managers is $121,060, plus bonuses, says the report.

And, as more organizations appoint a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), sales professionals have a path to advance to the C-suite. CRO titles on LinkedIn are up 82% since 2015.

Despite this momentum, B2B sales has never been more challenging, says the report. Highly personalized services like Netflix and Amazon are driving customers to expect more from the brands they interact with, including those with B2B sales teams. Millennials, who have especially high expectations for personalization, are gaining influence in the workforce and will make up 46% of professionals by 2020 .

Sellers today must meet these heightened expectations while building consensus among a larger group of stakeholders, says the report: the average buyer’s circle is now 6.8 people. They must also team up with their marketing counterparts to reach each of these individuals at every stage of the path to purchase. To be successful in modern sales, you need to build relationships at scale, tapping into advanced sales technology to engage with the right contacts faster, while fostering human connection and trust, concludes the LinkedIn report.

The third annual LinkedIn State of Sales report studies this new landscape, including the expectations of today’s B2B decision makers and the modern selling strategies and technologies employed by B2B sales professionals to scale their impact, outperform their peers, and close more deals. Below are Key Findings from this year’s LinkedIn State of Sales report, and how you can use these insights to boost your sales performance. 

KEY FINDINGS 

  • 73% of sales professionals use sales technology to close more deals. Top sales performers see networking platforms as “very important” to help close deals at a 51% higher rate than their peers.
  • 96% of decision makers say they’re more likely to consider a brand’s products or services if sales professionals have a clear understanding of their business needs.
  • The top sales professionals are working more closely with marketing and seeing better results, but there’s room for improvement, says the report. Only 20% of sales professionals report a significant overlap in the data used by marketing and sales to target leads.
  • Millennials (ages 21-38) are quicker to implement new strategies like marketing and sales orchestration, which is contributing to their success as the highest-performing age group. 
  • 40% of professionals rank trust as the No. 1 factor in closing deals, above ROI and price, and 51% of decision makers rank trust as the top factor they desire in a salesperson. 

The influence of a strong brand increased by 37% since last year and is the No. 1 factor cited by decision makers when choosing to engage with sales.  

  • Representing a well-known company with a strong professional brand, 52% 
  • Providing specific information relevant to their current job, 47% 
  • Mentioning the sales professional’s company and product solutions, 41% 
  • Referencing a colleague they both know, 39% 
  • Having good charisma, 32% 

Sales teams are turning to cloud-based software, in particular, to accelerate productivity, gather contextual details about customers and automate tedious tasks. 

 

1 comment about "$800 Billion For Sales Training".
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  1. Bill Ganon from Connect2Sell , October 18, 2018 at 7:54 a.m.

    As an executive communication coach, this article really resonated. Once again, it's not "or", it's "And"...technology without relationship building (trust) doesn't win the day and vice versa. You can win on "she and I great friends" anymore than you can win by dazzling with pithy social media entries and texts. They have to meld to form anĀ informed, innovative, reliable and trustworthy sales profile.

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