Conversation on Driving Sales Productivity and Performance

28 Sep 23

SBI’s latest Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) Growth Forum discussed insights on using AI in sales, driving deal velocity, and addressing gaps in sales competencies.

In thinking about growth imperatives for 2024, leading chief revenue officers (CROs) have been looking into ways to harness artificial intelligence (AI) for sales productivity, empowering sales teams to accelerate deal cycles, and assessing sales talent to enable personalized coaching.

These were the key takeaways from SBI’s latest CRO Growth Forum, a dynamic roundtable session aimed at raising insightful discussions to shape the future of B2B go-to-market (GTM) strategies and discover new ways to drive unforgettable growth.

With the increasing buzz surrounding AI development, SBI revealed in a recent survey that 61% of businesses have already begun to explore AI applications in their commercial operations or have already started to run small-scale pilot programs. While many GTM leaders have a favorable view towards the growing trend of AI experimentation, some are justified in being cautious against over-reliance on the technology. A human touch is still essential to certain tasks that cannot adequately be covered by AI.

Sharpening Sales Talent to Capture Growth Opportunities

Forum attendees were quite invested in discussing market trends and their outlook for growth in 2024. Participants noted that demand had been accelerating for many of them in Q3 2023, but factors such as fluctuations in funding, rising inventories, and interest rates had an effect on sales cycles and pipeline quality. Most companies saw strong pipelines this quarter but noticed a trend in slower deal velocity.

To deal with the present challenges, participants agreed that it was important to take the following actions:

  • Empower sales teams to concentrate on selling while also streamlining discussions with key decision makers.
  • Aligning the C-suite with sales teams to convey messaging effectively, remove friction points, and improve clarity in customer interactions.

There was a general consensus that post-pandemic macroeconomic conditions were a lot more unpredictable compared to before. To be able to plan for long-term growth, businesses need to respond strategically to evolving demand patterns and maintain a clean and accurate pipeline in order to gain deeper insights into deal quality and velocity.

Forum participants were also introduced to SBI’s talent assessment, a data-driven digital tool that enables companies to evaluate the competencies of their sales team and identify gaps in their sales organizations. As an exercise, participants reviewed a real-world example of sample client output, which highlighted the sales team’s strengths and weaknesses and provided recommendations on how to prioritize competencies in order to improve sales performance. The exercise led to a discussion on the importance of coaching to targeted sales competencies and its effectiveness in enhancing sales performance.

Key Takeaways from the CRO Growth Forum

The insightful conversations that took place at the forum lead to three key recommendations by SBI. Firstly, on the topic of AI and sales productivity, companies that want to experiment with AI use should start with low-stakes areas where it could drive meaningful improvement in efficiency. This is limited to tasks that can be executed without a human touch.

Secondly, to the many leaders who are optimistic about pent-up demand in their pipelines and their growth outlook for 2024, it is imperative to clean up their pipelines to gain as much visibility as possible. Companies should encourage their sellers to leverage internal sales leaders for streamlined communication with C-suite leaders, which should help them increase deal velocity.

Lastly, more companies should consider diagnosing gaps in the proficiency of their sales organization through the use of talent assessments. This will open the way for GTM leaders to improve seller performance through personalized and targeted competency-based coaching.

SBI's Growth Forums are invitation-only sessions held quarterly for GTM executives. If you'd like to be considered, submit your interest here.


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