I had the pleasure of chatting with Dave Stein (@davestei) about his company in an e-mail interview. His company is doing some interesting work, check out the interview.
Question: How long has ES Research Group been in business?
[Dave Stein] I founded ESR in 2005 with N. Adam Rin, Ph.D. Adam was a President of Gartner Research.
Question: What is your core business?
[Dave Stein] ESR is a research and advisory firm (think Gartner, Forrester, etc.) that provides independent intelligence about and comparisons of sales performance improvement processes, programs and tools and the companies that provide them. We do not provide sales training or sales consulting.
Question: What offerings do you have that are related to CRM?
[Dave Stein] ESR has performed extensive research on companies with successful and unsuccessful CRM deployments. We have also evaluated tools that integrate with CRM systems promising to provide added value and a higher degree of compliance. We publish reports about our findings and recommendations. Those can be found on our website.
Question: As a sales expert what do you feel are the common challenges sales organizations encounter?
[Dave Stein] First, and most important is making sure the right people are on board. ESR estimates that 25 to 33% of salespeople in companies with sales performance problems are not suited for their jobs. That means that neither training, nor tools, nor coaching will help them get better. Next is a general lack of process. Sales is dead last in most companies when it comes to process, quality, measurement, accountability and productivity. Much of this relates back to a seat-of-the-pants approach to selling. That would never be acceptable in R&D, finance, manufacturing or any other department.
Question: How can CRM products be used to help sales people and sales managers do their job better?
[Dave Stein] There are two ways. First, it can help salespeople comply with whatever methodology and related processes their company has built. Secondly it can help management understand how individual salespeople are advancing deals and where assistance should be provided before it’s too late.
Question: In your opinion, what is the next big thing in the world of enterprise sales?
[Dave Stein] There are a few trends which ESR has been observing:
- Some companies are moving some or all of their sales function to an inside sales model to save money. This will work well in some cases, but is precisely the wrong approach in others. Enterprise salespeople need to become more effective. There are proven paths to sales effectiveness, but shortcuts, tricks and tips won’t get a company there. What will is a strategic approach to sales performance improvement (and sustainability), technology, learning and ongoing reinforcement.
- Technology-enabled selling is providing many companies with a definite competitive advantage where the automation of existing processes is tuned for increased sales effectiveness and efficiency. CRM is the backbone of technology-enabled selling, but out-of-the-box CRM won’t get the job done. CRM has to model real-world processes. Only then can other technology be layered in where appropriate.
- Traditional sales training as we know it (three days in a conference room at the Holiday Inn) is quickly transitioning to anytime, anywhere, on demand virtual learning. There will always be a need for face-to-face, live learning for salespeople, but the economy, heterogeneity of sales teams and how people are now learning are all changing the learning medium.
Question: Brief blurb about ESR Research Group?
[Dave Stein] ESR provides advice and guidance for our clients through custom advisory/consulting services and online reports. We work with companies from literally the Fortune 20 all the way to start-ups in helping them understand and benchmark their current levels of sales performance and devising plans for ongoing performance improvement. The Third Edition of ESR’s most widely-read report, our annual Sales Training Vendor Guide, was recently published. For more information go to www.ESResearch.com/STVG.