Article | 3 min read

The future of sales is connection

Zendesk’s survey of 3,000 CRM decision-makers reveals just how important it is to connect sales organizations to critical customer information within the business.

By Zoe Koven, GM for Zendesk Sell

Published August 1, 2022
Last updated August 1, 2022

Disruption. What was once a trendy term used to describe unicorn startups and industry-changing technologies is now more closely associated with world-altering events, uncertainty, and unforeseen challenges.

The past two years haven’t been easy—they’ve shown that true disruption is forced on businesses, not chosen. While every industry, company, and team has been disrupted in some way, no other aspect of the business world has been more affected by disruption than sales teams. Whether it’s growing customer expectations, labor shortages, digital transformations, or market uncertainty, sales professionals are facing more pressure than ever. But there is a solution: creating a connected sales organization.

Zendesk Sell’s brand-new State of Sales report dives into the latest industry trends and how businesses are adjusting to the post-pandemic world. Based on survey data from more than 3,000 global CRM decision-makers and influencers, the report asked small and mid-size companies how they feel about their sales investments. Here’s what we found:

  • Sales orgs must be connected to critical customer information to stay competitive

  • The pandemic has had a ripple effect on seller expectations, buyer capabilities, and the market at large. So, it comes as no surprise that CRM leaders are looking to bring crucial customer data into their sales process to not just grow but also maintain their revenue targets.

    Our survey found that 72 percent of CRM leaders say that their teams need to integrate sales tools to avoid losing business and that sales teams must be cross-functional to beat their competition. As one U.S. sales representative in business services put it, “Everything we are doing is very tedious and subjective. We want to glean more integrated information quickly.”

  • Your tech stack is the key to optimizing your sales process—if done right

  • The digital transformation of the sales process means businesses are investing in more tools and technologies for their sales reps. Our survey found that sales teams typically use an average of nearly five sales tools, and 46 percent plan to add more tools over the next year.

    However, there seems to be a disconnect between stakeholders regarding the usefulness of these tools. While IT leaders are confident in having secured the tools to create connected sales organizations, sales leaders don’t share that sentiment. There’s even friction among sales leaders and their reps, with nearly 32 percent of sales reps reporting to their leaders that they are always or often overwhelmed by the number of tools they use.

    Sales and IT leaders understand the tangible benefits of a connected business, but the question remains: how can businesses bring systems together and how to enact change? As one sales leader in the U.S. retail market said, “The key benefit of a CRM tool is company-wide visibility, company-wide transparency. Everyone wants to sell more products, and if everyone can see what is going on, everyone can work together to grease those wheels.”

  • Businesses can move the needle with quick wins, integrating sales with broader teams

  • In our survey, a majority of sales leaders were fairly satisfied with their systems and tools, but making full use of them without requiring a lofty investment is still to be seen. One quick way to do this is by bringing sales and customer support closer together. Only 35 percent of CRM leaders said they are extensively integrating customer support with sales operations data; however, 90 percent of teams with integrated solutions say it has had a positive impact on their business.

Sales teams today also can’t solely rely on their soft skills to close deals and build long-lasting relationships—they need to deliver a personalized sales experience. Seventy-five percent of CRM leaders we surveyed agreed that sales teams must be prepared to engage in personalized sales conversations in digital channels. However, only 27 percent have conversational sales capabilities in their CRM today, with even less planning to invest in this area in the next 12 months. There needs to be a shift in the way sales leaders evaluate tools and technologies prior to investment.

State of Sales 2022

Learn about the most pressing issues facing sales organizations today, what the dawn of conversational CRM means for your tech stack, and how you can come out stronger.

State of Sales 2022

Learn about the most pressing issues facing sales organizations today, what the dawn of conversational CRM means for your tech stack, and how you can come out stronger.

Read the free report now