What is Sales Acceleration and Why Does it Matter?

Tried everything to optimize your sales processes but still need new ways to drive growth? We have one simple phrase to add to the mix: sales acceleration.

With a high-quality sales acceleration formula, you’ll develop a more skilled sales team, greatly refine your sales processes, and modernize and automate your sales tools. 

The result? Speedier sales and rapid revenue growth. Here’s how to get it done.

What Does Sales Acceleration Mean?

Sales acceleration refers to the strategies and tools that move prospects through the sales pipeline more efficiently and effectively — enabling your sales team to hit their goals faster.

Broad tactical approaches such as sales enablement and sales-marketing alignment, as well as specific tools such as lead-routing applications or contact and pipeline management systems, all fall under the sales acceleration umbrella. 

Sales Acceleration vs. Traditional Sales Prospecting 

In contrast to traditional cold calling and sales prospecting, the contemporary sales acceleration approach uses real-time data and dynamic, integrated tools. These resources give salespeople the context, buying signals, and personalized content to close more opportunities more effectively. 

Compared to traditional sales prospecting, sales acceleration uses real-time data and integrated platforms to close more opportunities.

Why Sales Acceleration Matters

Sales acceleration improves go-to-market (GTM) results in five main ways.

Boosts Sales Productivity with Practical Insights

Sales acceleration streamlines information extraction from raw B2B data, linking it with buying signals for context. It presents up-to-date, connected, personalized and actionable information, boosting overall productivity.

Facilitates Alignment Between Marketing and Sales

Sales and marketing alignment is essential for eliminating duplicated effort and sharing valuable lead information. 

Sales acceleration tools such as customer relationship management platforms (CRMs) and marketing automation systems foster cross-team collaboration. They streamline communication, create a unified sales enablement ecosystem, and host a single source of truth for lead data. 

Enhances Lead Prioritization and Outreach Speed

Sales acceleration tools identify the most promising prospects, eliminating guesswork and making your sales team significantly more effective in less time.

They instantly capture buyer intent from various sources, collate it to score leads based on your rules, and then port it into your lead routing system for easy prioritization and fast outreach.

Empowers Sales to Focus on Growth

Sales acceleration platforms automate repetitive processes like data entry, lead distribution, and email automation. This gives sales representatives more time to focus on meaningful interactions and demonstrating value to prospective customers. Better relationships boost revenue growth through upsells, cross-sells, and land-and-expand motions.

Improves CRM Data Accuracy and Actionability

While most CRMs contain valuable sales intelligence, getting usable and up-to-date information from them can be challenging. Acceleration tools that integrate with your CRM facilitate more accurate — and actionable — insights. 

Poor data quality is costly and undermines the impact of prospecting and email campaigns.

Feeding your sales CRM with clean, enriched, and deduped data via a data provider like ZoomInfo ensures every message is tailored to meet your target audience needs. 

You Should Prioritize Sales Acceleration if … 

Unsure if your revenue team needs a sales acceleration overhaul? If you find yourself in any of these scenarios, you do.

  • Your sales team can’t respond to leads fast enough. This matters, as 78% of leads convert with the first business that responds to them.
  • Your sales team is too busy doing manual, administrative tasks to prioritize engaging with prospective customers.
  • Your sales team regularly works from unreliable CRM data. They waste time on cold leads, or worse, scare away warm ones with uninformed outreach.
  • You can’t systematically identify and nurture high-quality accounts. Your team is chasing down new leads instead of building more business through secured customers.
  • Sales and marketing are operating on different planets. Marketing funnels poor-fit leads to sales, and sales lets great opportunities go stale while both teams become increasingly frustrated with the other.

The Sales Acceleration Formula 

Mark Roberge, former chief revenue officer at HubSpot and current advisor and educator, is credited with coining the sales acceleration formula in his aptly named book, The Sales Acceleration Formula.

The formula states that sales acceleration creates a more efficient sales process by focusing on three factors:

  • Salespeople who align with your offering and audience. 
  • Sales processes that empower positive sales behaviors. 
  • Sales tools that support reps and amplify processes.
The sales acceleration formula focuses on 3 factors: salespeople, sales processes and sales tools.

Strategies & Tools for Sales Acceleration 

Improving sales performance and revenue with the sales acceleration formula is a three-part process.

Part 1: Developing Great Salespeople 

Roberge names sales hiring as the single most impactful element of sales performance. Defining, finding, and retaining great sales hires is a necessary first step. 

Understand Current Sales Performance

To determine if hiring, firing, training — or a combination of all three — is needed to accelerate sales, first assess team performance, strengths, and opportunities. 

  • Document the performance of each sales rep. Review their sales pipeline, cold calls, email outreach, product knowledge, and customer interactions.
  • Identify patterns in each rep’s approach, including whether they use a proven model or operate independently — and consider how that may affect team success and future process overhauls.
  • Consider how different personalities and behaviors impact team morale.  
  • Analyze past performance data to understand what kind of patterns and individual behaviors contributed to wins and losses.

Define Your Ideal Salesperson

What do they look like based on your brand, product or service, team, and goals?

  • List the characteristics of your successful salesperson. For example, Roberge mentions features like intelligence, curiosity, willingness to be coached, strong work ethic, and past experience.
  • Score candidates or reps in training on how well they align with the traits you want.
  • Assess improvements, top performers, and focus areas today and over time.

Implement Ongoing Sales Coaching

Salespeople aren’t successful in a vacuum. Continuous sales coaching and learning is key to engagement and sales productivity.

Build a culture around coaching through regular, one-on-one meetings between managers and team members. In these sessions, salespeople should reflect on their strengths and improvement areas, then work on a plan to address the latter. 

Part 2: Improving Sales Processes 

With the right people in place, focus on tightening and modernizing the following processes.

Identify Internal Inefficiencies

Undertake a comprehensive review of your overall sales org:

  • Uncover inefficiencies and bottlenecks
  • Understand how individuals and teams collaborate
  • Identify any lack of resources
  • Pinpoint challenges in gathering or sharing customer data 

This stage aims to isolate issues, understand their effects, and determine which new processes and tools to prioritize. 

Develop Buyer Personas

Creating and documenting buyer personas is essential for building touchpoints, messaging, and outreach:

  • Outline your ideal customer. Consider demographics, preferences, needs, problems, and behaviors.
  • Create distinct buyer segments. Group target audiences with shared characteristics and behaviors.
  • Profile each segment, give them names and roles. Incorporate their goals, challenges, preferences, and decision-making criteria. 
  • Align content, messaging, and campaigns with the needs and preferences of each group.

Empower Sales Enablement 

Sales enablement gives sales orgs the content, guidance, and training to build value-adding relationships, onboard new users, and shorten time to revenue. Strong sales–marketing alignment is necessary.

A sales enablement program can improve sales readiness, equip sales teams with change management techniques and tools, and showcase your product/service value. 

Align GTM Teams

Streamlined buyer engagement and conversion occur when your GTM team (sales, marketing, and customer support) collaborate. 

Sales and marketing, specifically, need to share messaging and lead information that’s fresh and focused on conversion. Service level agreements (SLAs) can help outline mutual expectations in terms of lead transfers and resource sharing.

Part 3: Adopting Powerful Sales Tools

Much of sales tech is designed primarily for sales leaders, but productivity increases when it aligns with everyday sellers’ needs. 

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation software includes all-in-one platforms for email marketing, lead scoring, visitor tracking, analytics reporting, and more. 

Marketers get better data in less time, which they can use to feed effective messaging and resources to sales. Sales engages with marketing automation features such as customer journey tracking and lead scoring to build personalized, timely action plans. 

Sales CRM/Pipeline Management

CRM automation provides oversight and enhances interactions with prospects and customers. While applicable to teams such as marketing, sales, and support, its primary sales use is streamlining pipeline management. 

Pipeline management involves projecting the prospective sales you intend to close, and monitoring sales from beginning to end to find opportunities for improvement.

CRMs and pipeline management platforms (or sales engagement platforms) can automate and improve accuracy for tasks like creating new lead records, tracking interactions, moving leads through the pipeline, and sending follow-up reminders. 

B2B sales cycles are notoriously long, involving multiple touchpoints and large buying committees with various stakeholders. Automating pipeline management can keep your sales team motivated and on track.

Lead Management (Qualification, Scoring, Routing) 

Lead scoring is the process of assigning a value to a lead and prioritizing based on buying signals’ strength and target persona fit. Lead scoring feeds into lead routing, where the most qualified leads are given to the right salesperson with the context they need to move the lead down the pipeline. 

Lead management that encompasses all of the above is an important part of the sales process — and it’s a perfect candidate for automation. Modern lead scoring and routing software remove much of the guesswork and manual labor to get the right leads in front of the right people before they go cold.

Email Automation

Email automation is a lead nurturing and reengagement strategy for sales professionals.

In the past, sales emails were typically simple engagement blasts, which were created, sent, tracked, and followed up on manually — and not personalized. The ability to personalize and automate email through rich templates, auto-scheduling, automated replies, engagement tracking, and integration with CRM/pipeline tools is now a key part of effective emailing. 

Because the tone of automated emails can sound robotic, conduct A/B testing to identify the templates and messaging that connect best with the target audience.

Activity Tracking 

Sales activity tracking software monitors and analyzes what sales teams do. It includes insights into prospects, ongoing deals’ progress, and the pipeline’s overall health.

It’s not only helpful for sales reps themselves to understand their workload, catch blockers, and close more deals faster, but it’s also a place for sales leaders to track realistic key performance indicators (KPIs) and identify opportunities for coaching.

Sales Forecasting and Analysis

Sales forecasting software reviews historical sales patterns and current sales pipeline to determine average sales cycle length, opportunity value, sales representative performance, and overall deal health. 

It then creates predictions around future lead volume, pipeline value, and the probability of closing deals.

Sales forecasting is important because it prevents the costly mistake of pursuing unqualified leads. It also helps sales leaders anticipate future demand so they can hire and train effectively. It also gives businesses an understanding of their financial future, so decision-makers can confidently strategize on hiring, budgeting, entering new territories, or introducing new offerings.

People + Processes + Tools = Growth

Unlocking potential in your sales team and achieving revenue growth is possible with a well-executed sales acceleration strategy.

By following the sales acceleration formula that empowers people, modernizes processes, and adopts powerful tools, you improve data hygiene, align marketing and sales efforts, and optimize your sales processes.