In sales, it’s a long way to the top… especially when you’re going in the opposite direction. Professional selling has become more challenging. If you’ve been asking yourself, “Is it just me?” the research shows that, yes, it’s you (your internal transformations, increasing product complexities and internal changes). But it’s them too. The buyers.

Buyers’ expectations are higher than ever before, and at the same time, they’ve learned how to be more effective at getting exactly what they want, on the terms they want. CSO Insights’ latest research shows that 2017 continues a five-year trend of lower quota attainment rates.

Of course, buyers aren’t the only factor. Competition is intense, and there are large and small disruptors in play across numerous markets and industries. There is a downward momentum in effect that can make salespeople and leaders feel like they’re running up a down escalator – they need to take two giant steps just to get one step further along.   Even those organizations who make progress in a given time period are hard pressed to keep any advantages they’ve earned.

That’s why we’ve titled the 2017 CSO Insights World-Class Sales Practices Report “Running Up the Down Escalator.” The good news this year – and this is part of the value of ongoing, annual studies like this one – is that success is still a realistic and achievable goal, and there are practical steps to take to get there.

This year’s study identified a small group of “world-class” performers (7 percent of participants) and the 12 organizational practices they adhere to that are linked to better sales results.

By “better results” we mean a measurable difference in revenue attainment, quota attainment, win rates and attrition rates.

The report offers a new take on the Sales Relationship Process (SRP) Matrix model, which shows how higher levels of customer relationships intersect with more advanced sales processes to create a picture of where a sales organization is today and where it can go tomorrow.

The full report is available here and it will repay careful study. Or try the quick-read summary first. Fuel your run up the down escalator with expert analysis!

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