A Gartner survey of CSOs in 2H 2021 identified the top three investment areas to be sales enablement, digital marketing and sales operations programs.
“CSOs are adjusting their expanding budgets in 2022 to become better prepared for what could be foundational shifts in the way sales teams and buyers fundamentally interact,” says Betsy Gregory-Hosler, senior director: research in the Gartner Sales practice.
“For example, CSOs and sales teams are now partially or fully funding activities traditionally owned by marketing, leading into an unprecedented time of spending within these functions.”
Besides most CSOs anticipating increased investment in sales enablement, the following categories will also see an increase in spending in 2022:
* Digital first investments: The pandemic accelerated B2B buyers’ exposure to, and comfort with, using digital commerce platforms for large, complex purchases as well as smaller deals. In a more virtual environment, most CSOs recognise the importance of digital marketing.
* Analytical thinking: CSOs plan to invest in sales operations, with sales analytics a key priority. Over half of the CSOs Gartner surveyed identified sales analytics, a key element of sales operations programs, as a priority for organisational success.
* Technological advancements: After protecting technology budgets in 2021, CSOs continue to prioritise tech investments moving in 2022. CSOs plan to increase investment in sales technology, prioritising pipeline generation, CRM data, and training and coaching use cases.
“The pandemic has fundamentally changed B2B buying behaviors,” says Robert Lesser, director: advisory in the Gartner sales practice. “With buyers opening themselves up to more virtual experiences in conjunction with a mixed outlook for conferences and in-person events, it is clear that the shift to digital will not be short-lived.”
While budgets may be increasing, the planning process is still crucial to guide upcoming investments and achieve the greatest commercial impact. Sales leaders should consider the following with the flexibility that an increase in spending can bring:
* Understand major B2B buying and selling trends and how they are changing the path to growth: CSOs must understand how three major trends – digital buying, virtual selling and emerging technologies – are rewriting what it takes to succeed in B2B sales to invest ahead of the curve.
* Benchmark budget against peers to strengthen business cases: Effective benchmarking helps sales leaders build business cases, defend budgets and make data-backed strategic decisions.
* Ensure sales enablement and operations leaders are equipped to optimise new investments: Sales enablement leaders need a planning process to assess sales enablement program effectiveness, align the various sales enablement programs to the sales strategy and communicate program results.