Analysis Spotlights Opportunity for New Approaches to Measuring and Managing Sales Team Strengths
BURLINGTON, MA (April 3, 2014) – More than one-third of enterprise sales reps today – even those with extensive market and product training – arrive at sales calls unprepared or unable to apply the critical information and context needed to successfully sell into their markets, according to data compiled by Qstream, a mobile sales enablement and analytics provider. The findings are based on an analysis of 240, 000 responses to scenario-based sales challenges delivered by Qstream’s platform to sales reps across a range of industries.
Qstream’s data shows that within regulated industries some 31% of reps could not correctly answer questions curated by sales and marketing teams as critical for broad market context within their respective industries on first attempt. Figures were significantly higher in unregulated industries involving generic selling skills with 46% of respondents answering incorrectly on first attempt.
The findings underscore widespread industry analyst sentiment that as tectonic changes in buyer habits tip the balance of power away from sellers, significant gaps remain in what reps know, versus what they need to know to be successful – despite ongoing investments of time and money in sales training and support.
At the same time, separate research conducted at Harvard into the neuroscience of learning suggests that most sales enablement programs are not conducive to the way the brain actually encodes information into long-term memory. Attempting to consume a mass of information all at once, humans forget as much as 79% of what they learned within days and months. However, this research has shown that using a combination of interval reinforcement and active recall in short bursts effectively can increase retention by up to 170% and durably change ingrained sales behaviors.
Qstream’s data corroborates these research findings. After presenting sales reps with key market and product questions a second time, following a short interval of a few days, sales rep performance improved substantially, with only 18% of reps in regulated industries answering incorrectly on their second try, and 28% in unregulated industries.
“These results highlight an enormous opportunity for companies to transform their approaches to sales enablement, ” said Duncan Lennox, Qstream CEO and Co-founder. “The top revenue performers across many industries are implementing mobile sales reinforcement strategies in an effort to transform product-centric selling approaches into contextual, value-added conversations key to buyer purchasing decisions and increased win rates.”
Data points for the survey were derived from the Qstream platform, which was used to push scenario-based challenge questions, or “Qstreams”, to sales professionals every few days. Using any mobile device, reps submitted answers and could immediately see the correct answer and why in just minutes a day. A combination of onboard game mechanics and social collaboration delivered engagement rates of 90% or greater. Qstream’s sophisticated analytics engine compiled the data points from aggregate responses to deliver actionable, real-time insights.