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May 17, 2021

Gartner CSO & Sales Leader Conference Americas: Day 1 Highlights

We are bringing you news and highlights from the Gartner CSO & Sales Leader Conference, taking place this week virtually in the Americas. Below is a collection of the key announcements and insights coming out of the conference.

On Day 1 from the conference, we are highlighting the opening keynote, Gartner’s Future of Sales research and sessions on revenue enablement, and diversity and inclusion in sales. Be sure to check this page throughout the day for updates.

Key Announcements

Opening Keynote: Rewriting B2B Selling for Digital Buying

Presented by Brent Adamson, Distinguished Vice President, Gartner

In today’s digital-first environment where many B2B buyers prefer to not interact with sales reps, suppliers must rethink how they sell. In this opening keynote presentation, Brent Adamson, distinguished vice president at Gartner, discussed how B2B buyers are engaging with digital information, the impact it has on their purchase decisions and what suppliers need to do in response.  

Key Takeaways

  • “43% of B2B customers today would prefer to buy a complex solution without engaging a sales rep at all.” 

  • B2B customers who pursue digital-only buying actually harm their own customer confidence.

  • “By choosing to avoid sales reps, customers are forgoing a critical means for distinguishing nuanced differences between suppliers and driving consensus across the buying group.”

  • Digital-only buying leaves customers to find nuance and establish consensus on their own in a digitally dominant environment. Everyone loses in this world.

  • “In this world where customers would prefer not to talk to sales reps at all, but find little to no value in the online experience, sales leaders have to find a completely new means to give back what neither sellers nor digital can provide on its own.”

  • “B2B selling in today’s world must be digital and human. A carefully designed, richly immersive digital experience where sales reps are accompanied by a seller rather than funneled to one.”

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Leading Sales Into the New Digital Reality

Presented by Michele Buckley, VP Analyst, Gartner

The movement to multiexperience selling will exponentially increase the number of touchpoints, interactions and transactions that suppliers will have with customers. This increase means that sellers will need new technology capabilities to support those roles and processes. In this session, Michele Buckley, VP Analyst at Gartner, provided a strategic roadmap for CSOs to lead into that digital future by leveraging AI, hyperautomation and advanced analytics.

Key Takeaways

  • “Most CSOs are redesigning their sales strategy to focus on a highly effective and efficient route to market.”

  • “The future of sales goes far beyond simple virtual selling or hosting online meetings.”

  • “We see the future of sales creating multiple interactions between people, process and technology.”

  • “Lead your team into the new digital reality by accepting that shortly AI will be omnipresent in B2B sales.”

  • “Hyperautomation is about fixing pent-up automation requirements at speed. It’s a concept that combines various complementary technologies to automate and augment business processes faster which in turn delivers business outcomes faster.”

  • “If you haven’t started looking at AI, you’re going to be left behind in 6 months.”

  • “Refresh your technology roadmap now to keep pace in 2022.”

Activating Revenue Enablement: How CSOs Are Integrating Enablement Actions to Drive Revenue Growth

Presented by Doug Bushée, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner

Revenue production in B2B sales is changing and is no longer linear. Despite this, most organizations still use siloed functions to control and own different aspects of the buyer’s journey. In this session, Doug Bushée, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner, discussed how progressive sales organizations are moving beyond enabling individual sellers to supporting revenue-generating customer-facing roles.

Key Takeaways

  • “The future of sales will be more virtual and more digital than it’s ever been before, and sales enablement functions, and the sales organizations they support, need to be prepared for that future.”

  • “We are seeing sales operations function align and combine marketing, sales and customer success operations to form revenue operations functions.”

  • “By aligning enablement functions, you can improve communications and messaging across all revenue-generating roles, improve redundancy, and take advantage of the experience and expertise within your organization.”

  • “Revenue enablement can help streamline the sales motion in support of the buying journey.”

  • “Revenue enablement optimizes the cost of sales and improves the buyer and seller experience.”

  • “In this new world where buyers are choosing different ways to buy, we need to enable end-to-end revenue generation.”

Practical Steps for Harnessing DEI to Drive a Stronger Performance

Presented by Elizabeth Beard, Director Analyst at Gartner, and Maria Boulden, Vice President and Executive Partner at Gartner

Gartner research shows men still outnumber women at all levels of the sales organization. In this session, Elizabeth Beard, director analyst at Gartner, and Maria Boulden, vice president and executive partner at Gartner, discussed practical steps commercial leaders can take to create more diverse and inclusive sales teams that achieve stronger top-line growth.  

Key Takeaways

  • “Diversity, equality and inclusion is an urgent revenue generation enabler, in addition to being a moral imperative.”

  • “Every sales leader right now is, or should be, evaluating their go-to-market strategy, including their organization design. Fix the inequities and sharpen your compensation program so that performance is the great equalizer.” 

  • “When you think about what you need in your sales organization today - digital dexterity, conceptual capacity, intellectual curiosity. You’re probably lacking these if you’re still poaching from your competitors or recruiting from the same business schools.” 

  • “Everyone’s voice is important here. Minority groups won’t be able to create this change in a vacuum. Sales leaders need to own it, create it and drive it.”

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