Managing Positive Churn is Not the Answer to Improving Commercial Productivity

30 May 24

CEOs are relying on positive churn to stay ahead of revenue targets in 2024, but slowing ramp times and poor productivity threatens growth.

CEOs have set the stage for success in 2024 with a solid growth strategy, but they need their talent to be ready to execute on revenue capture opportunities. They think they have the secret to improving commercial productivity: managing positive churn. However, our surveys reveal that there is more to managing our hires and getting the experts on board; CEOs must also overcome longer ramp times and create sustainable growth for the road ahead.

In the fourth and final part of our CEO Value Creation Pulse analysis, we explore how top sellers rely on new hires to capture accelerated revenue opportunities in 2024.

Relying on Positive Churn to Manage Skill Gaps

Relying on New Hired, But Long Ramps and Limited Additional Support Threaten Growth Picture 1

In our discussions with CEOs, they are concerned with slowing commercial productivity; more than half of them believe that maintaining positive churn would be vital to bridging the skill gaps in their growth execution ability. Our survey has highlighted the lack of focus on training and enablement initiatives, with most CEOs choosing to maintain or even shift resources away from tools and programs that could help sellers improve productivity, including AI use.

Relying on New Hired, But Long Ramps and Limited Additional Support Threaten Growth Picture 2

For all the game-changing potential that AI could bring, most CEOs are still hesitant to explore generative AI to upskill their sellers. With fewer than 20% of companies doing anything more than pilot projects, it’s clear that AI implementation in accelerating GTM revenue capture is still in its infancy. Compounded by a shift in talent priorities, many CEOs leave the potential on the table.

This change in talent upskilling priorities has a two-sided effect. While skill gaps are covered and more skilled talent could quickly increase revenue, sales teams will inadvertently increase in size. In our survey, 53% of CEOs predict that their GTM teams will have moderate increases in headcount. But sales teams getting larger also introduces new challenges for GTM leadership: How quickly can these new hires ramp to productivity?

Longer Ramps and Limited Support Threaten Growth

Relying on New Hired, But Long Ramps and Limited Additional Support Threaten Growth Picture 3

When asked about their sellers’ productivity, our discussions revealed several key insights:

  • Fewer CEOs are confident that ramp times will decrease
  • Instead, the majority of CEOs see stagnant or even longer ramp time for new hires
  • It is also more likely that ramping up new hires will take even longer down the road

The implications for accelerated growth are clear for CEOs facing this business reality. With many businesses relying on new hires to get ahead, it is imperative that GTM leadership understand who their true A-players are. It’s more than just the gut feeling or similarities to past performance that will get businesses ahead; sellers today need to have clearly defined performance metrics from a combination of validated competencies and objective outcomes, allowing them to identify the right talent for their needs and avoid holding onto the wrong people.

Improving commercial productivity using generative AI is also an often overlooked opportunity for many businesses. Focus AI efforts on accelerating business and commercial acumen among GTM teams by leveraging it as an always-on expert on products and customers. One example of a use case is the creation of focus groups, allowing sellers to practice negotiation and sales play in a safe environment. In practice, this gives sales teams more experience with realistic scenarios and accelerates their learning progress toward productivity.

Did our four-part blog series help you accelerate your growth capture? Read the full report for insights on the CEO value creation and effective go-to-market tactics: CEO Value Creation Pulse: Q1 2024.

As part of our journey to help our valued partners grow, SBI is pleased to announce that we have successfully acquired Carabiner Group, the Revops-as-a-Service® firm, as our commitment to delivering end-to-end GTM services to our client. Read our press release here to learn more.


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