Gartner Predicts Transition from Intuition-Based to Data-Driven Decision Making by 2026

May 6, 2022

As Virtual Selling Continues to Grow, CSOs Must Identify the Most Valuable Technologies for Driving Business Outcomes

By 2026, 65% of B2B sales organizations will transition from intuition-based to data-driven decision making, using technology that unites workflow, data and analytics. The market is growing rapidly with the rush to virtual selling due to the pandemic.

Chief sales officers (CSOs) who want to modernize their virtual selling strategy should build a technology stack based on three critical attributes: improving buyer engagement, data-driven seller actions and simplified seller workflows (see Figure 1).

Gartner surveyed 168 sales leaders across North America, Europe and Asia/Pacific from November through December 2021 to highlight key trends in the revenue technology stack such as adoption levels, current value, and future importance.

“The average virtual selling technology stack includes 13 technologies,” says Dan Gottlieb, senior director analyst in the Gartner for Sales Leaders Practice. “By investing in technologies closely aligned with the speed and complexity of typical transactions, CSOs will improve the satisfaction, adoption and benefits of virtual selling technology.”

“Investing in virtual selling tech right now requires a classic case of slowing down to speed up. A carefully designed, purpose-built virtual selling technology stack will help sales teams more predictably hit the number,” said Craig Rosenberg, distinguished vice president analyst in the Gartner for Sales Leaders Practice. “If CSOs look at those moments across the three key pillars (improving buyer engagement, adapt tactics based on data, and simplify seller workflows), opportunities to improve seller execution can reveal themselves quite quickly.”

Figure 1:

Source: Gartner (March, 2022)

Wayne Eckerson, President of the Eckerson Group added, "Our clients are eager to exploit data-driven technologies to increase engagement with customers and prospects. They now recognize the importance of having a well-constructed data strategy and architecture to support these types of key business initiatives."

CSOs must focus on designing a purpose-built virtual selling technology stack that helps sellers execute fundamental virtual selling competencies. As mentioned previously, the three critical attributes include:

Improving Buyer Engagement

Virtual selling technologies help sellers improve customer engagement with innovative methods for facilitating meetings (for example, videoconferencing, visual collaboration), and asynchronous interactions with customers in a virtual selling environment (for example, video messaging, digital sales rooms). Innovative technologies can accelerate seller development of virtual customer engagement skills.

Simplified Workflows

Virtual selling technologies simplify day-to-day seller workflows by automating time-consuming tasks (for example, e-sign, sales engagement applications) and streamlining the seller’s user experience (UX) of technology. Lack of seller digital dexterity easily undermines the successful adoption of technology. Innovative technology vendors understand that making sellers fall in love with their products requires embedding technologies into sellers’ highly detailed daily workflows.

Adapt Data-Driven Seller Actions

Virtual selling technologies equip sellers with stakeholder and company data that generates situationally aware insights to influence messaging, workflows and tactics (for example, conversation intelligence, account-based platform). Since sellers tend to have the lowest data proficiency in the enterprise, innovative technologies must help sellers understand and activate data points.

Gartner recommends CSOs evaluate emerging technologies that support two kinds of B2B transactions:

Volume and velocity: Typically executed over shorter sales cycles (less than three months), for small deal sizes (less than $25,000), with a small buying committee (less than six stakeholders), often for products with lower complexity.

Enterprise: Typically executed over longer sales cycles (six months or more), for larger deal sizes (greater than $125,000), with a large buying committee (eight to 11 stakeholders), often for complex products.

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