CSO Insights Reveals Key CRM Statistics and Trends

By Geoffrey James

CRM may have come of age, but there’s still plenty of work to be done. That, in the view of this writer, is the bottom line of this year’s survey of more than 1,300 sales executives. This year’s study, sponsored by CSO Insights and CRMguru.com, with additional support from Selling Power magazine and Search CRM, reveals that sales groups face massive challenges in the face of a rapidly changing business world. Here’s a quick glimpse at the state of sales in today’s corporations:

  • sales reps not meeting quota: 51%
  • sales execs who think sales reps are doing more paperwork: 33%
  • sales execs that find it more difficult to access business information: 30%
  • sales deals that do not close as originally forecasted: 90%
  • firms implementing a CRM system: 53%
  • firms with CRM achieving significant performance improvements: 26%
  • sales groups with no formal sales methodology in place: 58%
  • firms planning to increase the number of sales reps in 2005: 65%

The study also identifies 10 top trends that developed during 2004 and can be expected to continue into 2005.

  1. Although many companies have reduced their sales expectations, sales groups are still finding even the reduced expectations difficult to fulfill.
  2. Organizations expend more effort than in previous years for every deal that eventually closes.
  3. Executives want better indicators and metrics to forecast sales.
  4. Bad leads and lack of a sound business case are the primary reasons sales don’t close.
  5. Traditional sales approaches are becoming less effective, therefore new ones are needed.
  6. Sales managers are looking to hire more people with better skills.
  7. Companies with formal sales methodologies outperform those without.
  8. The major challenges in CRM are obtaining and updating accurate data.
  9. Sales managers need to know more to manage reps effectively.
  10. Traditional sales organizations and traditional sales approaches are losing momentum.

A white paper outlining these trends, as well as more information on the study, can be downloaded from the CSO Insights website, www.csoinsights.com.