Over Two-thirds of Sales Leaders List Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as a Top Priority for 2022

New independent study commissioned by Outreach reveals the skills, technologies and methodologies needed for B2B leaders to thrive in this period of digital transformation

Two-thirds of sales leaders report diversity, equity and inclusion is a top priority for the next two years, according to a new study from Forrester Research, commissioned by Outreach, the fastest-growing engagement and intelligence platform provider. During a time of digital and cultural transformation in sales, the study identifies the three areas of focus for sales leaders in 2022: DEI, investing in upskilling sales talent, and improving forecasting.

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The study, “B2B Leaders Usher In A New Era of Sales,” surveyed 212 sales leaders who represent more than 20 industries at companies with headquarters in the UK and North America.

“The findings of this study confirmed what we at Outreach have known for some time – the sales industry is on the precipice of a permanent shift to digital sales,” said Manny Medina, CEO and co-founder of Outreach. “As such, revenue leaders must craft agile strategies, prioritize DEI, double down on training, embrace new technologies and be prepared to adapt at a moment’s notice.”

Key Findings

  1. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is a necessary aspect to success in the sales world. Sellers are often the first point of contact for an organization; as such, 67% of respondents say that it’s important for their teams to represent the world around them, or they risk losing revenue and talent. Sixty-nine percent of respondents report that buyers ask about their stance on social justice. Almost half (46%) believe this requirement will increase in importance for buyers over the next two years. And it’s not just sales teams – 82% of sales leaders expect their CEO to take a stand on social issues.
  2. Sales leaders are investing in upskilling talent. In response to the need to layer enhanced skills on top of traditional methods to buy and sell in this hyper-hybrid world, sales leaders at organizations have reportedly invested or plan to invest in internal sales training for their managers (85%) and sales reps (89%). Sales leaders believe that for sales managers, the ability to consume, analyze, and act on data is the most important skill. However, only 30% of respondents say their managers have mastered this skill, and 17% of their managers don’t have this skill at all. In addition to training programs, leaders need an engagement and intelligence platform that aggregates progress and activities so they can see what is working and what is not, and scale successes across all reps.
  3. Forecasting is ineffective and inefficient at many organizations. Sales managers spend too much time crunching numbers, instead of interacting with prospects and customers and closing deals. Seventy-three percent of respondents say members of their sales teams spend over 10 hours a week on forecasting; and 12% spend over 20 hours a week on forecasting. And they’re not always accurate – only 43% of respondents are forecasting within 10% accuracy. Sixty percent of respondents said they don’t have a well-defined or a scientific approach to forecasting, which leads to inaccurate “calls” and wasted time across sales, operations, and finance organizations. Teams need a platform that can provide a single snapshot of their revenue stream so they can focus on higher impact opportunities for the business, rather than defending their projections.Read More: Parks Associates Announces Its Annual List Of 250+ Top Leaders In Technology

“Between the ongoing pandemic, Great Resignation, global economic uncertainty, and evolving buyer and employee priorities, this past year has been fraught with new challenges. Sales leaders have been forced to reimagine their talent, tech, and go-to-market strategies,” said Mary Shea, Global Innovation Evangelist at Outreach. “This study not only confirms what sales leaders have been facing, but also provides recommendations to help sales leaders embrace change and adapt to the new digital-first era.”

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