Sales performance reporting guides leadership’s decision making, and represents an important information management priority for many firms. This research investigates the use of performance reporting in business-to-business sales organizations, and identifies management priorities and best practices.
Specific areas of focus for this research include:
- Identifying current approaches for provisioning sales reporting
- Determining management's priorities for improving sales dashboard reporting effectiveness
- Assessing the use of enabling technology for improving reporting efficacy and reach.
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1.1 Executive Summary
Sales reports guide sales leaders’ decision making, and are therefore a critical priority for all sales forces. This research investigates how business-to-business sales organizations can make the most of their investments in performance reporting.
Specific areas of focus for this study include identifying current approaches to provisioning sales reports, clarifying management’s improvement priorities, and assessing current technology’s efficacy and adoption.
Our study's respondents – sales operations, sales effectiveness, and sales management practitioners – most value reports’ contributions to faster decision making. Of greatest importance to management is reporting “efficiency” – a report’s ability to efficiently convey pertinent data. A close second in importance to management: reports that offer predictive insights which help managers anticipate important decisions.
But sales reporting efforts aren’t meeting these expectations; respondents rate their current sales reporting effectiveness low in most areas, and these two report attributes – “efficiency” and “predictive insights” – represent the largest reporting capability gaps in their firms.
The research also shows the high cost of inefficient reports, as suggested by the ancillary activities associated with gathering, consuming, and taking action based on reported data. Salespeople and sales managers were found to spend too much time searching for data, verifying its accuracy, and analyzing reports, and too little time developing action plans based on reported data. Only a small fraction of firms – between eight and 13% - have salespeople and sales managers spending the ideal amount of time in these activities.
We found that sales managers and salespeople interact differently with reports in high-performing organizations (firms which met or exceeded firm revenue and profit objectives in the preceding year.)
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