Timur Hicyilmaz

At Challenger, we believe that the commercial organization has a better handle than most on what’s likely to happen in the next few years. After all, the commercial organization enjoys a ring-side seat at the circus of demand creation. We can all benefit from this information, so we’ve started asking sales leaders about their expectations for 2019. 

Leaders believe that the competition is their greatest risk 

Early indications are reasonably benign. Just a hair above half the sample of 45 organizations is at least 70% certain of their ability to meet revenue goals.  

But doubts creep in when we look under the hood. For one thing, while leaders are reasonably confident about meeting revenue goals, that confidence falls by more than half when we ask them whether they will be able to expand into new markets or industries.

Similarly, only a small minority of respondents are confident that they have the ability to move into solutions or portfolio sales or successfully launch new products and services. That’s not a great story since you can only go so far doing business with your installed customer base.  

The major risks leaders have identified add to a general sense of anxiety. 

70% of our respondents worry that their sellers can’t position offers in a compelling fashion. That’s closely followed by the 68% worried about the strong offers that the competition is putting into the market. 

The risk around seller ability to position the offer, though, speaks to anxiety around whether we are really doing our best in terms of how we speak to the customer. We think that this particular risk can be controlled even if we can’t do much about the economy at large or even how our competitors decide to act.  

More to the point, in a competitive environment, not preparing the sales force with your differentiators unnecessarily leaves you exposed to someone else coming in with a better story. And the data tells a really interesting story around sales skills that we will publish next week. 

How do you stack up?

If you are interested in how your assessment of the economy stacks up against others, you can still take the survey here. We will then send you a report that compares your responses against others at different organizations. 

Timur Hicyilmaz

Timur has been conducting research for most of his career. He was part of the team that researched many of the original concepts behind Challenger. Mostly focused on trying to better understand how commercial organizations succeed, Timur has spent time working on everything from trying to understand consumer attitudes toward energy consumption to identifying best practices for hospital operations leaders. His passion is for trying to identify strategies that are more likely to deliver a desired outcome than any others.