Outsell’s 2018 Sales Performance Benchmark

Author: Ned May

Date: November 28, 2018


In our ongoing dialog with the market, Outsell hears two common themes from CEOs and their teams. First, effective execution is a primary focus for companies and their leaders today. Second, growing top-line sales remains a challenge for many, if not most. To these ends, we set out to identify how sales is operating in sales organizations today: What are their biggest challenges, how are they realizing success, and what defines top performers? This report analyzes these questions and more, provides key outcomes from our research, and provides leaders with an important benchmark for comparing their own sales performance against the industry’s today.

We advise readers to undertake their own benchmarking efforts and provide the opportunity for everyone to do so immediately by clicking on the link at the end of this analysis. Those who do will receive an individually tailored benchmark utilizing this data.


Outsell, in conjunction with OC&C Strategy Consultants, fielded a sales performance survey from February to June 2018, using the results as the basis to build a normative benchmark database. The 35-question survey explores differences throughout a company’s sales team in terms of overall performance, organizational structures, key challenges, and operational metrics.

Each organization invited respondents to participate by submitting confidential data to the survey. This report examines the 60 executive-level responses we gathered in the first round of that survey. In aggregate, respondents accounted for over $8.9 billion in revenues spread across STM, B2B, and other data, information, and analytics providers.

For deeper analysis, we labeled those reporting double-digit growth as high performers and the rest as low performers. On average, 25 high performers reported growth of 30% over the prior year, while low performers reported growth of only 5%. We also grouped firms based on annual revenues, segmenting them into small (under $10 million), medium-sized ($10–50 million) and large ($50 million or more). The average revenue for these groups was $4.8 million, $27 million, and $299 million, respectively. Figure 1 shows respondents by growth.

Outsell Inc. Outsell’s 2018 Sales Performance Benchmark

This is the fourth in an ongoing series of CEO Topics exploring sales performance. Last fall we explored sales execution in our report The Last Mile: Outsell Sales Lead Response Ranking 2017. That analysis exposed a vast range of buying experiences across the information industry. We’ve revisited those results recently and will be publishing an update in the coming month. This report followed Solution Selling in Information Businesses and an early survey, CEO Topics: Sales Excellence Study. This research collectively provides a foundational toolkit for an information industry executive to improve sales.

Table of Contents

Why This Topic


Key Findings: Sales Performance

Key Findings: Growth Strategies

Key Findings: Product Design

Key Findings: Team Structure

Key Findings: Organizational Challenges

Essential Actions

Related Research

About the Author

About Outsell


List of Figures

Figure 1: Outsell’s 2018 Sales Performance Benchmark – Respondent Growth Rates

Figure 2: Outsell’s 2018 Sales Performance Benchmark — Sales as Percentage of Plan by Company Size

Figure 3: Outsell’s 2018 Sales Performance Benchmark – Percentage of Reps Making Quota

Figure 4: Outsell’s 2018 Sales Performance Benchmark – Average Renewal Rate

Figure 5: Outsell’s 2018 Sales Performance Benchmark – Time to Close


List of Tables

Table 1: Primary Growth Tactic Deployed

Table 2: Average Pay by Sales Position


Management Consulting Company?

Investment levels are adjusted accordingly for management consulting companies. Please contact finance@outsellinc.com to have your order fulfilled.


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Outsell’s 2018 Sales Performance Benchmark”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment