What do YOU think would be the response when asked, “What are the top challenges sellers and sales pros face today?”
Up until 5 to 10 years ago, you might have heard a resounding, “Lack of leads!” coming from salespeople.
Nowadays, in this lightning-fast digital world of social platforms and instant communication, that’s not so much the case – and with all the lead identifying and generating tools, this shouldn’t be a big problem!
At The Selling Agency, we are constantly assessing the challenges and struggles of sales teams within the organizations we work in. That’s how most every blog we write comes into being! Sitting at the table or riding along with sellers – we see first-hand trials and difficulties modern sales pros face when on the front line of sales.
We also like to check in with other sales leaders around the country to cross-check our experiences against others to make sure our blog posts are always spot on and our training and hands-on sessions are always delivering the most timely and relevant insights to build skills upon.
So as you go into this next quarter and even start looking at your strategic sales training and learning program for next year, here are the 4 key struggles we’ve identified happening within sales teams right now!
Getting Buyers’ Attention. Distracted much? Yes. In this crazy plugged-in world, we’re hit with thousands of sales and marketing messages every single day. Buyers now have 3,247 different ways they can IGNORE sellers. We see major struggles around reaching buyers and compelling them to respond to our messages and offers. Sellers are struggling with how to stand out, how to position value in a meaningful way, and how to deliver value in communication without being gimmicky or manipulative. Prospecting and Business Development is a lot like threading a needle for sales pros today.
Moving Opportunities Forward. Sales Directors and VPs tell us their sales teams are really struggling with this one right now. Slow Pipelines or Funnels clogged with irrelevant deals are making it difficult to forecast and see what opportunities are capable of moving forward. We’re agreeing with those VPs in that the problems they’re experiencing are from not prequalifying opportunities with enough information to either DISqualify them or to know how to move deals forward. Sellers are not asking enough questions and not asking the right questions – which is leading to stalled deals and missed opportunities. Sellers complain that buyers are “Ghosting” them – not returning calls or emails and leaving them wondering if or when a decision will be made and with whom.
Retaining Margin on Deals. Ouch. This one hurts organization-wide too. With buyers doing more of their own due diligence and intelligence gathering, the margin of differentiation is getting smaller when they create their own checklist of criteria. Technology has become the great equalizer – both empowering buyers and making innovation and proprietary distinctions more difficult to come by between competing businesses. When no clear distinctions exist, you’re selling in a commodities market. Combine that with weak negotiation skills and you’re losing margin over the short and long term.
Keeping Sellers Productive. Frequently, we see cycle struggles in productivity relating to seasonality in customers’ business, time-in-seat of the seller, and personal aptitude of the salesperson (ie – right or wrong person for the job). There are thousands of applications and SaaS products designed to improve, aid, and enhance seller’s productivity, but most organization’s technology stack does not overcome the personal habits of the seller. The technology stack can also add additional steps, reporting, and administrative load on sellers – leaving them with less time developing business, nurturing leads, and moving opportunities to close. The key to improving productivity has to revolve around the skills and strategy of the seller
You didn’t think we were going to leave you without answers as to how to FIX these issues, did you? Well, that’s a bit ambitious for one blog post. Honestly, KNOWING what the battles are is half the battle.
Though we tackle all these issues every week in our blog posts, the real ORGANIZATIONAL solution comes from training and consistent SKILL BUILDING – building habits through practice and reinforcement.
We’ve designed incredibly effective and responsive training sessions around each of these issues and our sellers that train in these areas are seeing remarkable improvement (think 80% response rates to mid-funnel deal messages and 18% average higher deal margins). We’ve found training has GOT to be more than just educational. It’s got to move, compel, and inspire your sellers, be entertaining, and personally relevant in a way that leads to changed behavior, practiced habits, improved skills, and ultimately, MORE PROFITABLE SALES!
If you recognize one or more of your team’s top issues above, reach out HERE if YOU want to know how to improve your sales team’s effectiveness and results and stop the excuses, complaints, and lackluster results.
Until next time, stop hoping and start SELLING!
PS – Start planning your sales training here with info about our Workshops and Sales Kickoff Experiences!
Nice points. However, buyers’ needs have to be met for deals to happen. When buyers buy, suppliers sell.
Buyers everywhere follow the same rules. Here are my thoughts:
“While every company tries to promote its own products to increase sales and exports, buyers need to find products from suppliers everywhere (local/regional/global) aggregated into one central platform to enable them to view, compare, and purchase products at the most competitive prices.”
The biggest challenge suppliers face is finding buyers. Platforms make it easier for buyers to view more products, compare products side by side, and then decide on which suppliers they want to start negotiating deals with.
Thanks for the insights, Faeq. It sounds like a bit of an apples to onions scenario where you’re describing a very specific commoditized, competitive market of products or offerings that you’ve designed a platform to serve buyers efficiently. Different vantage points make for good discussions!