Ventana Research recently announced its 2020 research agenda for sales, continuing the guidance we’ve offered for nearly two decades to help organizations derive optimal value from business technology and improve outcomes. Chief sales and revenue officers face an imperative to manage the sales organization but they don’t always have the guidance they need to embrace technology and gain the best possible outcomes. As we look forward to 2020 we’re focusing on the selling experience and the applications that simplify processes and tasks across the sales organization.
To help, we craft our research agenda using our firm’s expertise on business requirements and our knowledge of technology vendors and products. Through our continuous market research, we offer insights and best practices to help both the lines of business and IT as well as across industry verticals that will help any organization reach its maximum potential.
We have in 2020 a new focus on price and revenue management to help organizations address the strategy, planning and execution of pricing policies. These processes require specific technology — pricing optimization for managing B2C models, for example, and configure-price-quote (CPQ) to enable adjusting pricing based on the configuration of products as is most often found in B2B-focused organizations. But for many, the chief issue is establishing and maintaining process consistency in managing price books across sales force automation (SFA), accounting and ERP systems to commerce and channel-based systems. We also will focus on the evolution of the intelligent virtual agent (IVA), which can enable customers and the sales organization to get immediate answers to questions or address needed tasks.
Improving sales outcomes and revenue are the key to sales effectiveness, and emerging sales applications and tools provide the path to that goal. New applications designed for sales organizations and processes are part of an new generation of technology designed for digital effectiveness. Reflecting this, our sales practice addresses six focus areas: digital commerce; price and revenue management; product information management; sales enablement; sales performance management; subscription management.
Digital Commerce enables organizations to engage with any type of customer across digital channels — the web, mobile apps, text, voice activated “agents,” video and social channels — to deliver an optimal customer and product experience. In the world of digital commerce, the customer and product experience are top differentiators. Conversational computing is transforming customer engagement and many organizations will need to renovate their digital platform to optimize customer and product experiences or risk lagging behind competitors. We will conduct new benchmark and value index research in 2020 to identify best practices and assess and rate technology vendors’ potential to help meet evolving commerce needs.
Pricing and Revenue Management
Using big data analytics, machine learning and process management, price and revenue management technology enables B2B companies to optimize profit margin and sales objectives and achieve consistently better financial results. Pricing and revenue management for many B2B and B2C organizations is going mainstream, better equipping sales operations and deal desks to streamline the leasing and purchasing of products and services. We will conduct new benchmark and value index research in 2020 to identify best practices and assess and rate technology vendors’ potential to help meet emerging pricing and revenue management needs.
Sales enablement facilitates intelligent engagement and execution by sales professionals to achieve optimal revenue outcomes. Technology can provide unified information to help organizations optimize sales. In addition, systems that use AI and knowledge management technology can provide prioritized insights that increase effectiveness. Organizations should invest in sales enablement systems designed to meet sales needs and support their efforts with preparation and guidance. We will conduct new Dynamic Insights research in 2020 on the challenges and potential of sales enablement.
Sales Performance Management
Sales performance management (SPM) enables sales leaders to align strategy and planning to optimally engage accounts and territories through use of quotas and compensation to achieve the best possible outcomes. Managing sales performance requires that organizations effectively plan sales processes and resources; it’s critical that planning be collaborative to optimize engagement and boost sales performance. Mobile devices can provide instantaneous updates and give sales professionals and managers a straightforward view of performance to enable more effective management. We recommend that organizations adopt SPM. We recently published Value Index findings on Sales Performance Management and will begin new benchmark research on this topic in 2020.
Subscription management involves processes and applications designed to manage the subscriber experience from first digital touch to subscriber engagement and billing. To more effectively engage subscribers, organizations must prioritize technology that enhances the subscriber experience by automating subscriber operations and financial processes. Success increasingly requires organizations to embrace subscription platforms that provide a unified view of the customer. We will conduct new benchmark and value index research in 2020 to identify best practices and assess and rate technology vendors’ potential to help meet emerging subscription needs.
Every sales organization, no matter how many employees it has or the size of its revenue, has an opportunity to significantly improve the selling experience. Enhancements to underlying processes and technology can have an immediate impact on top- and bottom-line results. Determining your path forward in 2020 requires an effective strategy and knowledge of the technology you need to improve or add to your existing portfolio of investments.
Subscribe to our community to keep up to date on our research efforts in 2020 and come to our sales expertise and topic areas to see the detailed agenda and continuously updated 90-day calendar as well as more research facts and best practices.