Navigating choppy economic waters

10th September 2019 |   Richard Hilton

Navigating choppy economic waters

World-class sellers don’t expect success; they prepare for it.

Article summary

The author discusses why sales leaders need to look beyond surface growth figures and build a cohesive, data-led strategy to guide businesses through difficult economic times.

On the face of it, sellers appear to be on a winning streak. New figures from CSO Insights (the research division of Miller Heiman Group) reveal that, over the period 2017–19, sales organisations globally saw a 7% increase across both revenue and quota target attainment. However, before sales teams are too quick to pat themselves on the back, closer scrutiny of these statistics reveals that there is more to them than meets the eye.

In fact, the World-Class Sales Practices Study casts serious doubt on the sustainability of these numbers. While one might assume that these results are due to effective sales forces surpassing targets, our analysis attributes the trends to external economic factors. In spite of current strain, the global economy has enjoyed a strong performance in recent years, with a global GDP growth rate of 3.6% for 2018. Meanwhile, closer examination of organisations’ internal sales practices reveals that they remain wanting (in some areas severely so) with half of all expected deals never closing and customer retention decreasing by 3% – sales staff churn has increased.

Managing Director EMEA at Miller Heiman

Richard Hilton is Managing Director EMEA, Miller Heiman. He has worked for some of the biggest brands in the industry, including ADP, Mercer and Barclays