Survey of nearly 300 sales professionals underscores opportunity-to-close process is broken for most sales organizations  

Sunnyvale, Calif - April 27, 2017 - Clari, the leading provider of opportunity-to-close solutions, today announced findings from a new research survey looking at how enterprise sales organizations approach sales execution and forecasting. The findings reveal every role in the sales organization struggles during the opportunity-to-close (OTC) process, which spans the point from when a lead converts to a sales opportunity to when a deal is signed.

Clari surveyed nearly 300 sales professionals, with representation at every level of a sales organization: sales reps, managers, VP-level executives and sales ops leaders.

Key findings from the survey reveal:

The Opportunity-to-Close process is broken
  • Teams struggle to forecast: Only seven percent said their forecasting process is “very efficient.”
  • Deals consistently slip: Four out of five respondents reported more than 10 percent of their committed deals slipped out of quarter — and some 40 percent reported slippage in excess of 25 percent.
  • Sales reps underperform: Half of professionals surveyed reported less than 50 percent of reps in their organization achieved quota in 2016.
Every role in the sales organization is affected
  • Sales reps don’t spend their time wisely: 42 percent of all professionals surveyed said rep productivity is their number one challenge. 
  • Sales managers strain to understand pipeline health: 70 percent look beyond CRM to find the insights they need to understand deal status.
  • Sales executives have little confidence in forecasting: 93 percent are unable to forecast revenue within 5 percent, even in the remaining two weeks before the end of the quarter.

“Sales organizations are under constant pressure,” said Andy Byrne, CEO of Clari. “They have to deliver results in a super dynamic environment where deals are always evolving and competitive situations quickly intensify. Yet, the data shows sales teams are set up for the blind to lead the overwhelmed. There’s little insight for teams to win and little confidence reps are spending their time in the right way to close more deals, faster. Deals slip right and left, and it wreaks havoc on an entire company.”

Low rep productivity means missed quotas

Almost 40 percent of respondents shared they don’t believe their reps are spending sufficient time on the opportunities that are most likely to close, with only 14 percent reporting  a “healthy” number of reps (above 70 percent) managed to achieve quota in 2016.

“Time is the enemy of salespeople,” said Craig Rosenberg, chief analyst at TOPO. “The consequence of reps not dedicating time to the right opportunities is a crisis in sales achievement, evidenced by the fact that so many sales organizations fail to meet the 70 percent quota mark — the benchmark of an effective sales organization.”

Sales managers frustrated at the lack of pipeline visibility

Only 19 percent of respondents find the data captured in their CRM to be “extremely helpful,” with 70 percent admitting they rely on 1:1 meetings, reports, or team calls to get better visibility into pipeline health. Unfortunately, many of these methods are not satisfying their needs, with just 18 percent finding their 1:1 meetings with direct reports to be effective.
 

Executives struggle with accurate forecasting and lack of real-time data

Close to 40 percent of respondents say forecast accuracy is a major challenge, with 54 percent citing lack of rep accountability as the primary cause. The survey reveals the next biggest hurdle to accurate forecasting is the lack of real-time data. By the time the forecasting process is complete, it no longer accurately reflects the latest state of the pipeline. As a result, only seven percent of respondents are able to forecast within five percent of actual achievement, even with just two weeks left in the quarter.

“Forecasting is more than a mathematical exercise,” said Dana Therrien, research director, sales operations strategies, SiriusDecisions. “Sales people need tools that will facilitate a smooth process while providing the necessary analytics. Working smarter means relying on predictive intelligence to identify those opportunities with a statistically proven higher probability to close which will ultimately drive higher accuracy into their forecasting process.”

To get even more insights about the top challenges of sales teams, view this infographic or download the full research report: www.clari.com/OTC.

These results will be shared at the EXCEED conference for sales ops leaders taking place at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on May 3-4, 2017. For more information and to request an invitation to EXCEED, visit https://www.clari.com/exceed.