Closing deals and hitting quotas is perhaps the ultimate expression of sales execution — but most sales organizations are simply not performing at their full potential. The CMO Council reports that lost sales productivity and wasted marketing budget costs companies at least $1 trillion annually due to ignored, poor-quality, or poorly managed leads.
Their execution capacity — the ability to sell effectively with the time and resources available — is simply not matching the investment made in technology, people and processes. This is particularly true for enterprises operating at scale, where obtaining intelligent, actionable information that can be deployed with the intensity necessary for breakthrough performance is constrained by the rigid, unintelligent and fragmented systems they work in.
It’s not the sales processes’ fault — but it creates artificial limits on capacity, leading to what we call execution gaps. These gaps are the symptoms of your systems’ execution constraints. They take the form of all-too-common errors, inefficiencies and delays getting in the way of achieving true breakthrough performance.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Here’s why — and how.
So what’s going on? Despite considerable advances in sales automation technologies such as CRM and analytics, these apps only report defined sales process outcomes. Businesses still rely on individual managers’ ability to identify execution gaps, and their individual skills to deal with them.
Most sales managers have been around a while and know about the issues that arise in sales processes. But subjective identification of challenges will never be wholly accurate, let alone an optimal and scalable way to deal with every case.
When it comes to the four pillars of sales execution - pipeline creation, pipe progression, sales process adherence and forecasting - we can all recognize that there are multiple issues at play here.
Potential pipeline generation is often undirected and not prioritized based on where intervention is needed because there is often little understanding of whether the current early-stage pipeline realistically supports future revenue targets.
When it comes to pipeline quality, inadequate insights derived from often incomplete or outdated data mean issues are not identified early enough. It’s not hard to see why: Most organizations currently lack scalable, objective and data-driven assessment of the quality of the pipeline.
In terms of pipeline progression, doing the right thing at the right time – and doing it consistently – is a real challenge. There is no shame here: all organizations struggle to be compliant with the required steps in the sales process and inconsistent execution of the next-best-step for each opportunity is common.
The same is true of sales process adherence, where updating the CRM, particularly where it is only used for reporting, has little direct value for the sales rep or manager. In fact, seven out of ten sales reps say they spend too much time on data entry.
Lastly, forecasting is usually the sales manager’s subjective feel, typically unaided by data-driven quality validation. Closing probabilities are assigned without the insight of historical context, such as previous close rates for similar opportunities. Almost inevitably, potential forecast risks are not being detected early enough.
If you are in sales, you know these obstacles are holding back a more productive pipeline. And current tools — like CRM and BI — are just not fully equipped to deal with them.
CRM software is a system of record that only tracks transactional activity. What you get is a linear, step-by-step view of how each opportunity progresses but not all the critical variations and linkages through the sales process. When it comes to outcomes — the most crucial consideration — it cannot report whether the sales process is actually helping or hindering.
The issue with BI and analytics tools is similar — it’s all insight, no action — whereas action is what sales organizations need. They don’t enable the user to identify the anomalies, correlate the insights with their root causes and then resolve them in the same platform, in real time, based on an organization’s unique needs.
Ultimately, existing CRM and analytics software have their place, don’t get me wrong — but they’re more about top-down monitoring of sales outcomes and the organization than maximizing sales capacity.
There is a clear need for a more data-driven approach to sales execution management. So that’s what we’ve created. The new Opportunity Management Execution App from Celonis addresses all these issues by surfacing what’s really going on beneath the CRM veneer.
It’s part of the new Celonis Execution Management System, which enables businesses to optimize their execution capacity to achieve breakthrough performance in all areas. Execution Apps not only identify execution gaps, they know which ones have the biggest business impact, and the best-in-class approach to fix them. They act by automating routine decisions and, when necessary, they activate the right people to take action.
The Opportunity Management Execution App connects in real-time to your CRM data and applies Process Mining to visualize the sales process, understand the relevant KPIs in real-time, identify best practices by benchmarking across the organization and add business context on how the process is executed.
It then recommends the most relevant actions needed for sales managers and their reps to close pipeline gaps, accelerate pipeline progression, improve forecast accuracy, and hit quota. It also ensures compliance with the required process steps and the necessary information to maximize the efficiency of the sales process.
The Opportunity Management Execution App ultimately translates into winning more (more opportunities, larger and higher close rates), winning faster (shorter sales cycles) and winning smarter (higher forecast accuracy and more efficient use of the right resources for the right opportunities).
Are you ready to experience the Opportunity Management App yourself? Our brand new training on the Celonis Training Platform is waiting for you!
The Celonis Opportunity Management Execution App is available from today. Find out more here.
Miguel Milano is Chief Revenue Officer and Co-Owner at Celonis and a member of the executive management team. In this capacity, he is globally responsible for sales, customer success, solution engineering, delivery, demand generation and partners. He joined Celonis in April 2020.
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