B2B Sales Research: Do Your Sales Reps Stack Up?

An accurate assessment of whether your sales strategy including your hiring process is on the right track requires doing your due diligence in terms of research.

As a handy shortcut, I’ve assembled the key findings from three recent B2B sales surveys on hiring and performance: (1) The Bridge Group’s 2012 survey of 197 B2B technology companies  (2) DePaul University’s Center for Sales Leadership’s 2012 survey of 435 sales leaders; and (3) Steve W. Martin’s survey of more than 100 VPs of Sales at technology companies featured on the Harvard Business Review blog.

How does your sales team compare?

Size of sales team

  • The Bridge Group: average team size was 13 sales reps
  • Center for Sales Leadership: 51% of teams were less than 100 sales reps

Therefore, for the most part, these findings are particularly relevant for SMBs.

Best tools for hiring

The Center for Sales Leadership found that the top tools for hiring sales reps include face to face interaction, telephone screening, and a variety of psychometric assessments.


Average sales rep tenure

  • The Bridge Group: 2.5 years
  • Center for Sales Leadership: 33% of sales reps quit/were fired within their first 12 months

Average Sales Cycle Length

        Steve W. Martin:

  • Inside sales: 70% reported a sales cycle of 60 days or less
  • Outside sales: 54% reported a sales cycle of 90 days or more

Average ramp up time

Or course, your sales ramp up time is heavily dependent on the length of your sales cycle.

The Bridge Group found that the average ramp up time was 4.2 months.

They also found that 24% of companies said their ramp time was greater than 6 months.


Average annual quota

  • The Bridge Group: $670,000

       Steve W. Martin:

  • Inside sales: $985,000
  • Outside sales: $2.7 million

Percentage at or above quota

  • Steve W. Martin: 60%
  • Center for Sales Leadership: 71%
  • The Bridge Group: 74%

Overall: 68%


Average annual on-target earnings

  • The Bridge Group: $109,000

        Steve W. Martin:

  • Inside sales: $96,250
  • Outside sales: $195,000

Sales leadership challenges

The Bridge Group found the top 3 challenges for sales leadership were increasing performance/productivity, forecast accuracy, and hiring sales reps.


The bottom line

While you can’t always extrapolate survey findings to your own sales hiring and performance, they can provide some useful benchmarks for your sales reps to shoot for and surpass.

What are your top sales challenges? Share them in the comments or tweet @ideal.

Share on LinkedInShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone
Ji-A Min

Ji-A Min

Head Data Scientist at Ideal
Ji-A Min is the Head Data Scientist at Ideal. With a Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Ji-A promotes best practices in data-based recruitment. She writes about research and trends in talent acquisition, recruitment tech, and people analytics.
Ji-A Min