Be afraid. Be very afraid.

1. 57% of sales reps are not meeting their quotas.

It’s the stuff nightmares are made of: more than half of sales reps didn’t meet their quotas last year, according to Salesforce’s third annual State of Sales report. There are a lot of reasons for missed quotas, and some are beyond our control — like macro-economic factors or changing customer needs. But there are plenty of ways to motivate reps to increase their activities (and the effectiveness of those activities) — from contests and competitions to outside-the-box sales incentives.

2.  It can take 10 months for a new sales rep to be fully effective.

According to CSO Insights, it can take almost a year — or more — for a new sales rep to on-board and ramp up. That can cost companies a lot of money, especially if turnover tends to be high. If you want your new reps to be more than warm bodies (heh), regular sales training and effective coaching programs help reduce the time it takes to get them performing at their full potential. Added bonus: that can keep them feeling motivated and inspired, leading to better retention over the long term.

3. 75% of sales organizations waste resources with informal coaching approaches.

Coaching has become a buzzword in sales — and for good reason. But what some companies call “coaching,” others might call check-ins, or chit-chat, or simply a waste of time. According to a CSO Insights study, three-quarters of companies throw away precious resources on coaching initiatives that are unorganized, inconsistent, and ineffective. Of course, there’s more than one “right” way to run a coaching program — but we’ve found the best ones are driven by data. Consistently tracking metrics (in an organized, transparent manner) gives you reliable information that you can use to create action plans, evaluate performance, and ensure alignment across your team.

4. The top-fifth of sales talent brings in almost 60% of revenues.

This should a shiver down your spine: according to another CSO Insights report, not only are sales organizations over-reliant on their top performers — most of those companies don’t know why their superstars are so...super. Sales leaders struggle to find (or consistently use) “quantifiable assessment tools,” which prevents them from understanding why their top reps are successful, or even who their top reps are.

5. Reps spend 35% of their time actually selling.

A survey of over 700 sales reps found that respondents spent most of their day not selling. Customer meetings and research took up a good deal of time — which isn’t necessarily a bad thing — but so did administrative tasks, like data entry and writing emails. Many weren’t using software to help manage their time, but those who did spent almost 20% more time selling than those who didn’t.

6. 3% of buyers trust sales reps.

This stat from a HubSpot Research study is truly terrifying (and a little sad, TBH). The good news is that there is so (so) much room for improvement. And there are some pretty simple ways that reps can increase their credibility and build trust — like doing research to fully understand their prospects’ needs and pain points, or being generous with relevant information, resources and advice.

If those stats sound scary — or worse, familiar!— never fear: Q4 is the perfect time to start budgeting time, efforts and resources for to create better best practices in 2019. (And, of course, we're always here to help.)

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