What Is Sales Acceleration? New Research Highlights Sales Acceleration Tools, Technologies, Market Size, And Top Sales Acceleration Companies.
This article on Forbes went to #2 Most Popular. The title they settled on is What’s Sales Acceleration? Start By Picking Up Your Phone – Ken
A decade ago, when Dave Elkington and I started InsideSales.com, which is mentioned in this article, salesforce.com was the big 800-pound gorilla in the sales automation space. They still are, and they keep getting bigger.
Salesforce.com pioneered the concept of renting customer relationship management (CRM) software instead of selling it. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), or software in the cloud as it is so lovingly called now, has become the de facto standard that is disrupting the traditional software companies who still sell software in a box.
Sales automation was the name of their category, which added technology to the age-old practice of selling. As always, sales was the last to figure out the power of new technology offered by computing and the Internet, but arguably sales is once again the most impactful influence on business.
My dear friend Barry Trailer, one of the founders of CSO Insights, had just released the landmark research study in 2005 that answered the question about the actual impact on revenue that CRM software had. They studied roughly 1,300 companies, half using CRM software, the other half not. Everything else was similar.
Companies using CRM software had 17% more revenue.
You see, CRM organizes the sales process, it doesn’t necessarily accelerate the sales process. Unless you call 17% speed increase acceleration. Nevertheless, CRM is critical, even foundational, to our discussion.
The productivity increase of 17% wasn’t the only providential aspect of having your customer database in the cloud. CRM was and is the foundation upon which other applications build to increase revenue far more than 17%. Salesforce.com has added a bunch of additional apps since then and opened up a massive ecosystem to other providers that promote sales. They call it the salesforce.com AppExchange.
A customer database for sales is like having a website for marketing … absolutely critical. It’s where you begin. It’s the Henry Ford assembly line that put automobile manufacturing on the map. But we have come a long way from an assembly line cranking out Model T Fords.
Enter Sales Acceleration.
Sales acceleration means to increase the velocity of the sales process.
It’s the technology that fills the gap between established categories known as Marketing Automation and CRM.
New research we release tomorrow shows that companies spent $12.8 billion on sales acceleration technology last year in North America, which is $2,280 per sales rep. The potential market size is even larger. The study estimates that North American businesses could spend as much as $6,790 annually per representative on sales acceleration technology by 2017 — making the total addressable market in excess of $30 billion.
Other findings of our study include:
- Inside sales teams spend slightly more than outside sales teams on technology and significantly less on compensation.
- Inside sales teams close deals in 69 days on average compared with 144 days on average for outside sales, representing a 109 percent difference in closing times.
- More than one-third of sales leaders believe they should be spending more on technology.
You see, you can speed things up by shortening the sales cycle.
Many accelerate by using inside sales. My definition of inside sales is professional sales done remotely, as described in one of my most popular Forbes articles. This is where you respond in seconds to leads generated over the web, make more calls in less time, and use web conferencing to avoid traveling and taking lots of time away from busy buyers. Bob Perkins, founder and CEO of The American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP), often says that Inside Sales is sales.
Sales acceleration is not just about sales automation, although it most often uses sales automation.
Some companies actually use our sales automation tools but don’t make any more calls than before. Their culture is hard to change. They made 22 dials a day before they used our power dialer, and they make 22 dials after. It’s crazy. That isn’t sales acceleration. 170 calls a day is sales acceleration. 22 dials is like buying a nail gun and shooting one individual nail at a time and resting in between because of all the thought that goes into using compressed air to drive a 12 penny nail.
Start dialing people!
Sales acceleration is also about working smarter.
It’s gathering real-time sales intelligence from LinkedIn, InsideView and ZoomInfo. It’s having something relevant to talk about when you call a new prospect besides just the weather. It’s connecting with social media, lowering costs, raising visibility, and generating leverage.
Sales people are rediscovering email again. But now it is email designed just for them. It can tell them when people open their emails and can even trigger an immediate call back. But the thing they like the most is that it now attaches their email to the person’s record in salesforce.com as a note so their sales manager can see they are actually working.
Sales Acceleration is the conveyor belt that keeps the assembly line moving. It’s the power tools, the specialists, the knowledge workers, and the robotics. Now it’s the predictive analytics, big data, and artificial intelligence that are really advancing things since old Henry did his thing.
Sales Acceleration is also about the people.
Two days ago I gave a one-hour seminar in Provo, Utah. I quoted some research that has recently changed. For nearly a decade the single biggest obstacle for inside sales departments was finding more leads.
Now it’s hiring and training good people … fast. Leads are second. Our company’s mantra, for example, is that if we grow the people, they grow the business.
Inside sales is one of the few higher paying professions that is still growing in this crazy economy.
Sales Acceleration is the science of sales. It’s using math and statistics. It’s split testing with A and B options and continually improving through iteration. Yes, salespeople are now using math, don’t act so surprised. (We figure it out eventually.)
It’s about responding to web leads in less than five minutes like we learned with our research with Dr. James Oldroyd.
- Dr. James Oldroyd released landmark research with our own Dave Elkington in 2007 about the incredible effect that accelerating response to web leads can have
It’s about making 6 to 9 phone calls to respond to a lead instead of just 1 or 2.
It’s about using predictive 2.0 technology that can determine who and when to call for optimal contact and qualification rates. It’s about calling into local calling markets with a local Caller ID because people answer local phone numbers 57.8% better than blocked numbers, toll free numbers, or even long-distance phone numbers.
Even I know when a salesperson is calling if they are dumb enough to tell me.
It’s about finding the actual ingredients your sales people tell you make up the perfect sale and enhancing your database with those factors. It’s about scoring leads and prospects with statistical predictive significance.
Instead of guessing.
It’s about nurturing prospects and customers, not just the marketing automation practice of nurturing leads.
It’s about tracking velocity metrics. How fast you respond. How persistent you are. What percentage of leads get contacted. The length of your sales cycle. How engaged your prospects are. How fast an appointment decays if it is set 4 days out instead of 1 day.
It’s about speed.
It’s about execution.
Venture capital firms are constantly courting us in our space; high tech is pretty hot right now. One of the biggest and best brought us some data where they shared their research on the tools, technologies, and top companies making up what is now being called the Sales Acceleration space.
Our research team helped me with the task of categorizing these top sales acceleration applications. See if you can figure out the order I put the categories in:
- Recruiting Technology: Monster, Jobvite, CareerBuilder
- Sales Training Technology: CallidusCloud, TeamVisibility
- Sales Compensation Technology: Xactly, CallidusCloud
- Gamification*: Hoopla, Bunchball, Badgeville
- Data/List Services: Data.com, Zoominfo, Hoovers (D&B), NetProspex, OneSource
- Sales Intelligence Tools: LinkedIn, InsideView
- Video Conferencing: PGI (iMeet), Cisco
- Sales Email*: Hubspot (Signals), Yesware, Toutapp
- Live Chat: LivePerson, Boldchat
- Social Tools: LinkedIn, Radian6, FlipTop,
- Texting*: SMS Magic
- Remote Sales Presentation Technology: Citrix (GoToMeeting), Cisco (WebEx)
- Sales Quote and Proposal Tools: Apttus, Quosal
- Contract Technology: DocuSign, EchoSign
- Predictive Analytics Technology*: Lattice Engines, Infer
- Data Visualization*: Domo, Tableau
Our own platform category is Sales Communication Tools, which, residing upon the assembly line of the Salesforce.com CRM platform, is like Henry Ford’s overlying conveyor belt that ties these applications together and keeps things accelerating toward sales growth.
If we have missed applications that are notable for sales acceleration, please comment and we will do our best to highlight them also. We probably should include Twitter, as it is actually starting to be effective in the sales acceleration space, as I discuss in what will soon be my 2nd most popular Forbes article called 31 Twitter Tips: How To Use Twitter Tools and Twitter Best Practices For Business.
*NOTE: As a disclaimer, InsideSales.com, my company, also offers sales acceleration applications in the categories indicated*. Some, like predictive analytics, we have offered for 6 years with our Predictive 2.0 technology. Also, as an additional disclaimer, Domo is run by a member of our Board of Directors, Josh James, the legendary CEO of Omniture, which was sold to Adobe.
And lastly, A few years ago we gave a seminar in Boston on what we called High Velocity Selling, which is roughly the same concept as Sales Acceleration. The term came from a blog article that went viral by our own Board Member, Lars Lecki, of Hummer Winblad. We laughed when one of our favorite competitors immediately changed their name. Sorry, I already checked… Accelify.com is taken by a cool software company in Brooklyn who helps schoolchildren. – Ken
Why I Haven’t Written Much Lately
People are asking me where I’ve been.
I’ve usually written a new article or two every week for several years. I’ve been lucky to write my thoughts once in a month or two.
Haven’t felt like there was much that I hadn’t already said.
So I’ve been learning new things, gaining answers to hard questions. I’m taking everything in, not giving much back recently.
But I’ve embarked on a new adventure to get back to my roots.
What are my roots? (more…)
62 Top Sales Experts Share Sales Tips and Sales Quotes
We just passed the 6 month anniversary of The Inside Sales Virtual Summit, an industry event that changed the world of sales and marketing. More than 15,800 sales leaders registered for a day of learning and enchantment on June 20, 2013.
62 sales experts gathered for the largest online event of its kind that the sales industry had ever seen.
We just asked them to unite their wisdom one more time with a tip or sales quote. Salesforce.com had me publish a quote or tip from every single one of them on the Salesforce blog. Forbes published articles telling how it was done in only three weeks from start to finish using collaborative marketing.
Enjoy this summary of the quotes and tips from our 62 authors: Business and thought leaders who participated in the virtual summit that is now part of history.
NOTE: The specific tip or sales quote from each expert is their first statement in italics.
1. Guy Kawasaki, Author, Venture Capitalist and Technologist and former Chief Evangelist at Apple Computer
“Enchantment is the purest form of sales. Enchantment is all about changing people’s hearts, minds and actions because you provide them a vision or a way to do things better. The difference between enchantment and simple sales is that with enchantment you have the other person’s best interests at heart, too.” (more…)
Sales Operations: Lessons Learned From Fraser Bullock, Mitt Romney, And The 2002 Winter Olympics
What would you ask a man who is Managing Director of Sorenson Capital, Chairman of the Board of the #1 tourist attraction in Hawaii, former COO of the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics, former Chairman of the Board of Omniture, and a current board member of 7 companies including a new Advisory Board member and shareholder at our own InsideSales.com?
And did I mention he helped found Bain Capital with Mitt Romney and would have been heavily involved in our federal government today if the last election had gone differently?
Yesterday I had an hour and a half with Fraser Bullock, the very man. (more…)
62 Sales Tips and Sales Quotes Top Trending Article on Salesforce.com Blog
Hello everyone. A while ago I was asked by my friend Amanda Nelson, who runs the Salesforce.com blog to write an article for their awesome blog. I decided that the best article I could write would actually be a collaboration between the 62 different different sales experts, authors and business leaders who spoke at our record breaking Inside Sales Virtual Summit that was held on June 20th.
We had 15,800 people register for the live and archived content with 62 speakers.
Here is a quote from every single one of these incredible sales experts. Sort of like a virtual reunion!
It got posted today, Halloween Day, October 31st, 2013.
Here is the link to the article,
And as you can see, it trended to the top on the whole blog immediately! (more…)
Inside Sales Tips: Dialer Software And Why Salespeople Should Make More Calls
I just came from a two-day consulting engagement with the sales team and CEO of one of the largest residential solar power companies in the country. I was impressed because they already had some of the best internal processes, disciplines, and best practices I had seen.
1- Their sales process and personnel are focused into specialties. Our research with Dr. James Oldroyd has shown significantly higher close ratios for companies who focus on a specialist model rather than a generalist model where sales reps prospect, close, and service accounts. (more…)
31 Twitter Tips: How To Use Twitter Tools And Twitter Best Practices For Business
For years I have wondered what the value of Twitter is for sales and business. Everyone knows the indisputable value of LinkedIn for B2B sales, marketing, B2B prospecting, and entrepreneurs in general. But Twitter is gaining traction in B2B.
This article shares some of the latest Twitter strategies, tactics, tools, and best practices.
Darren Rowse of ProBlogger has a really cool ebook called 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. It it gives you 1 thing to do per day on your blog for an entire month. It is for those who never quite get around to it because they are so busy.
Think of this article as “31 Days to Be Using Twitter to Build Your Business.” (more…)
Cold Calling Is Dead, Thanks To LinkedIn (#1 on Forbes)
Or should I write it the way two entire industries, sales and marketing, would probably exclaim:
“Cold calling as we know it is dead… thank you LinkedIn!”
Last week I received an email from my friend Ralf VonSosen, Head of Marketing for Sales Solutions from LinkedIn.
He brought to my attention a blog post from Steve Masters, Campaign Delivery Manager and UK-based journalist who writes for BUSINESS 2 COMMUNITY (B2C) and several other blogs and digital media outlets.
“I have since reached out to Steve Masters, and invited him to join us on a Google Hangout last week to talk more about his original blog. He responded with an entire article called “Cold Calling Defined by LinkedIn in Hangout.” – Ken
I was only hours away from speaking at the largest single webinar I had ever done in my life — “The Science of Using LinkedIn, Technology & Social Selling for Cold Calling” — with my good friend and partner Steve Richard, Co-Founder of Vorsight. (more…)
How InsideSales.com Pulled Off The Biggest Virtual Sales Event Ever… in 3 Weeks
Hello everybody, Ken Krogue here. I wanted to take a little bit of time and walk people through how the whole Inside Sales Virtual Summit came together.
But first I want to say thank you to the speakers. Thanks for all your work. Thanks to the authors that participated. Thank you to our sponsors, especially ON24 for the awesome technology that pulls it all together. The event was wonderful; we’re gonna do it again.
We believe we started a new model—or at least been able to participate in it—called collaborative marketing. David Williams, the CEO of Fishbowl Inventory, wrote an article on Forbes about what we did called “Collaborative Marketing Is The Next Big Thing.”
This whole tradeshow was people who got together because they wanted the same thing. We knew that attendees wanted great content, authors wanted influence and promotion and experts and the vendors wanted introductions to people who might be interested in learning more about their companies. It was a win-win, and it all came together. Everybody pitched in. (more…)
Jeanette Bennet of BusinessQ Magazine Interviews Top Sales Leaders – Ken Krogue’s Answers to Top Sales Questions
Interview taken from the Summer 2013 issue of Utah Valley BusinessQ Magazine
Jeanette Bennett, BusinessQ: What are common traits of successful sales people? Can anyone learn the traits?
Ken Krogue, InsideSales.com: When I was at FranklinCovey years ago, we started the first inside sales department. We interviewed 450 people through the process to find specific indicators of success amongst top performers. We found those with a background in competitive athletics were almost always successful in sales. But it doesn’t have to be athletics — a chess champion was one of our top reps. LDS missionaries create another factor — no where else in the world do young people knock doors for two years. The other predictors were Eagle Scouts and a background in technology.
With two universities in Utah Valley, we are one of the most technical cultures on the planet. We really are Silicon Slopes, and local companies have built and imported strong senior sales leadership.
We use Persogenics to determine personalities, and we even put our personality profiles on our nametags and on our doors. When you walk up to a door and see that this person is an “Dominant/Dominant,” you better be ready with the bottom line because you only have a few seconds. With those who are Amiable, you need to build trust, and for Analyticals, you better have a sound argument with visuals. We can find out in the first 30 to 60 seconds what kind of personality type we are talking to amongst our buyers and then adjust our process. But sales people need to know their own style first. It’s all about learning — learning is what we choose to do for ourselves, training is what someone else does to us.
All the training in the world without learning has no value. (more…)