• May 22, 2024

Adaptive Sales Organizations Are Three Times More Likely to Grow, Gartner Finds

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Sales organizations that are adaptive by design will outpace competition and achieve superior commercial outcomes, Gartner revealed during the opening keynote at the Gartner CSO & Sales Leader Conference in Laas Vegas, noting that future-proofing the organization to manage change with agility is the key to unlocking growth opportunities by as much as three times.

"To thrive in the uncertainty, sales organizations must embrace constant adaptation, effective decision-making, and be able to sustain shifts in strategy or execution," said Alice Walmesley, director of advisory in the Gartner Sales Practice. "Organizations that make this shift to adaptive design are more likely to mitigate the downsides created by external events and capture the full potential of opportunities."

Despite this, Gartner found that two out of three sales leaders struggle to shift resources to an emerging priority.

"From budget constraints and limited resources to fast-evolving buyer expectations and mounting pressure to adopt and master new technology, sales leaders are stuck in a reactive mode," said Dave Egloff, a vice president analyst in the Gartner Sales Practice. "Rather than building organizational adaptability in the face of this constant chaos, leaders are over-relying on individual sellers, leading to seller burnout and performance issues.

"Sellers are overwhelmed and experiencing change fatigue from this pressure-cooker backdrop," Egloff stated. "For a sales organization to succeed in constant disruption, leaders must signal a pivot from a reactive approach to being adaptive by design. It is this game-changing shift toward anticipatory adaptation that will lead to an organization having a winning advantage."

Gartner defined adaptive organizations as ones that can navigate the decision-making process with speed and accuracy, advance confidently through decision processes as they use sales intelligence to find usable, contextualized insights, quickly determine a course of action, trigger change to gain competitive advantage, and ultimately sustain those actions through disciplined change management.

The firm also identified the following three accelerators that speed up decision-making:

  1. Revenue intelligence, which leverages data as contextualized insight, informing sales leaders on what’s coming, what’s working, what’s slowing them down, and what they should do as a result. Data is both predictive and actionable.
  2. Technology as a teammate, which focuses on building different relationships between humans and technology, with clearly defined responsibilities and transparent actionability. Technology is no longer just another tool that can overwhelm sellers but now a partner that helps them adapt.
  3. Modularity, which enables agility and allows organizations to tweak their approaches to situations as they evolve rather than being locked into tightly interwoven dependencies.

"CSOs must embrace this winning formula regardless of marketplace conditions, acting with agility and finding opportunities for growth in disruption," Walmesley concluded.

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