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Growth Team Membership™ 2012 Global Sales Leadership Priorities Survey: Customer-Centric Shortfall

Published: 5 Apr 2012

Frost & Sullivan's Growth Team Membership™ (GTM) recently completed its 2012 survey of sales executives globally. The executives were asked to identify their most pressing challenges for 2012.  GTM will focus its best practices research to address the prominent issues identified in the survey.

Sales Leadership in 2012 - A Snapshot

  • Implementing lead generation strategies is the primary challenge of sales executives.
  • A lack of personnel is the root cause of the primary challenge.
  • In comparison to 2011, staffing levels will remain static while budget levels are expected to increase moderately in 2012.
  • Companies attribute 20 percent of their sales to distribution channels and partnerships.
  • In the main, Sales uses social media to identify and qualify leads.
  • LinkedIn is the primary social media platform used by Sales, and is typically used to improve sales reps' knowledge of customer needs and to boost brand recognition.

2012 Sales Leadership Survey Executive Summary

The 2012 survey reveals that sales executives continue to wrestle with a perennial issue: improving customer focus. Specifically, sales leaders must employ more effective tactics to generate high-quality leads, map their sales cycle to customers' purchasing behavior, and incorporate customer feedback into their sales strategies.

To examine these challenges in more depth, the survey asked respondents to "root cause" their top internal challenges by indicating if they stem from issues with staffing, process, technology/systems, or strategic alignment. Sales executives attribute their challenges to two primary causes: limitations in staffing (limited resources and lack of knowledge) and processes (ineffective processes and inadequate communication). Sales executives are unlikely to see staffing improvements in the next year, as most respondents anticipate staffing levels will remain static in 2012. Budgets, however, are expected to increase moderately in 2012. Despite concerns over inadequate staffing and processes, nearly half (49 percent) of the survey respondents rate their function's effectiveness as "above average."

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