Understanding Sales Problems: Issues to Solve Up Front
Slowly but surely, ‘things’ all around us are transcending their old physical-object-status by becoming smart and connected. As the functionality or perception of a technology evolves, the emerging set of tools doesn’t solve sales problems and close rates keep dropping. The situation where sales reps spend less time selling acquires an industry-wide acceptance. Instead of being productive, many teams have to deal with searching relevant data in CRM, spend a reasonable amount of time to renew the administrative records and reports, as well as adhere to the sales process of the company.
Where the Major Sales Problem Lies
Asking broad questions often results in the sort of aphorisms that would make a good motivation poster or trending tweet. So, ensure that you put really pointed relevant questions to define what sales performance problems your team and business suffering from. Besides, this will help you to dig into details, get exposed to burning issues, explore the opportunity space, and weigh the options.
Facing the sales problems and nasty results, every business owner is interested in their roots as they bring an immediate impact on the bottom line and can be a cause of revenue flatlining or dropping. Constraints can be a variety of things: lack of time, lack of team members, lack of process strategy, or lack of product or service understanding. The inability to drill down to the core of the problem is frustrating. Moreover, there is no point in investing time and budget for tackling the weak area - it may turn out the issue is elsewhere.
5 Problem-Prone Areas to Check
Once you decided to address the pull of possible sales problems, get ready for bumping into the weak points in your strategy, management, workflow, and team. To eliminate the sales challenges and achieving the recurring revenue, make sure you run through the major bottlenecks and obstacles in sales performance. In short, getting into the problem think about the solution. Definitely, there is no one-fits-all approach but we also offer a kind of recommendation for each challenge.
Sales Reps Setbacks
The right qualified people on the different lines of business process are one of the elements of successful company. Review your team performance, and then ask the following questions to define if the sales problems you suffer are related with sales reps.
- Do your key salespeople bring the most of your revenue?
- Are there workers who don’t align to company strategy?
- Do your sales reps miss their quotas?
- Are there some employees consistently refusing to use tools (i.e. CRM, email marketing automation, business dashboard, etc.)?
- Does your team have a member who does only the bare minimum?
As always in life, details are not the details. So, if sales performance is mostly suffering from team members, you should take some measures. To fire everyone and hire another staff is not the wise solution, however, you can analyze the salespeople performance and identify
- the higher players,
- those who earn decent revenue numbers,
- those who don’t follow the plan and fail in performance, and
- sales reps who don’t want to work and bring you negative reputation.
The next step will be creating plans and templates of everyday processes and update the onboarding of the new employees - to ensure you are hiring the right person. One more way to improve the sales problems in the team is to introduce the gamification and bonus programs for recognizing and evaluating the best-performing managers.
Sales Management Inconsistency
Sales success depends on your management team as well. The ineffective manager can derail even a superb sales rep. Here is a couple of questions you can put to determine if the sales problems come from management.
- Do your executives set clear goals and metrics?
- Do sales managers provide clear reports and feedbacks?
- Do you expect high turnover in your team?
- Do your managers provide sales coaching of new and/or existing members?
When you defined that sales problems are in the management, you need to decide - keep these workers or hire new ones. In case, you require fresh sales managers, you should develop an evaluation checklist to find the right people.
Sales Process Difficulties
Sometimes, sales is like an art or science. The efficient sales processes help to nudge team towards their goals. If you suspect this area in most of your sales problems, check the process with the next questions:
- Is the sales process well-documented?
- Does the team follow company approaches and tools?
- What feedback do you receive from other teams that work with sales?
- Are the processes used by your salespeople updated?
- Does your team apply CRM? In what way?
The root cause of sales problems is the absence of the documented process, or the process required correcting. So, develop your best-practice sales workflow including the following aspects: (a) prospecting, (b) selling, (c) support (from other departments), (d) system (tools and in-house policies), and (e) team cooperation. As obvious as it may sound, document all changes and innovations you have done.
Lacking Sales Training
Another strong theme emerging as a cause of sales problems is weak sales coaching. Various surveys show that 3 of 4 sales reps are underperforming. The solution, however, comes at the training improvement. Thus, don’t jump into the immediate updates, issue your current sales coaching.
- Are your clients confused with the provided service?
- Does your team have structured coaching?
- Is that the first sales position for many managers of your team?
- Does your team use the best sales practices?
The solution is clear - implement renovated training for your team. Consider the gradual changes into the operations and curriculum. Check this post on sales coaching for more details on creation, running and adoption of new training.
Service or Product Problems
Your team ever struggles to get the work past that point of good and over to great, but they fail. It may show that the sales problems have nothing to do with sales reps or process and rather connected to product or service you offer. Here is a couple of questions to figure it out.
- Did you run a market search?
- Have you updated your offer?
- Do sales managers suggest discounts or credits?
- Is your market niche overwhelmed with similar products or services?
- How often do you receive complaints?
It is hard to hit that sweet spot of product-market fit. If your sales problems related to the product or service - it’s high time to consider repositioning or adding changes to it. You may start with market search, identify customers’ expectations, and create a new value proposition.
In particular, there are other sales performance problems and you won’t regret if you take a look at SalesLoft’s infographic with issue-solution overview of 4 challenges faced by sales reps.
Brush It All Up
Failures are educational if you understand the mistakes and take the right actions to improve. This also can be applied to sales problems addressing. It is also critical to note that effective management of resources, core processes will lead to outstanding performance, close rates, and revenue growth. Sustainable sales don’t happen by accident, you need to encourage gradual development and staff training. Plus, the integration of sale and marketing programs and efficient use of CRM brings the transformative impact on your business strategy and income.