3 typical challenges for salespeople (and what to do about them)

In the increasingly frenetic world of sales and constantly increasing targets, sometimes the ongoing needs of the customer are forgotten.

Not enough qualified leads coming into the top of the sales funnel:

With some research suggesting that buyers don’t contact vendors until they are 60% of the way through their decision cycle, it’s imperative – but tough – for sales teams to get into sales conversations earlier in order to build top of the funnel opportunities.

The idea that ‘cold calling is dead’ and that leads will magically appear from a social selling campaign became popular in recent years – I believe the pendulum is swinging back the other way and that sales leaders will realise that the creation of opportunities above the funnel is a rigorous process that requires a multi-touch approach (including the telephone!) hard work and discipline.

A good prospecting strategy begins with the end in mind. The sales target should be broken down into the number of deals (based on average deal size) required, the close rate, and the number of successful customer interactions (phone calls or visits) needed to make this happen. From here a prospecting plan (daily/weekly/monthly) can be built including social media interactions, phone calls, voice mails, emails, networking events in a structured cadence to achieve the desired results.

Wasting resources on deals that have a low probability of closing:

Time is the most valuable resource for most of us. The track record of sales professionals making quota has dropped by 10% in the last 5 years according to CSO Insights– not surprising that ClearSlide research says that 80% of CFO’s don’t have high confidence in sales forecasts!

Many salespeople are wasting time and resources on deals that are unlikely to close. Sales leaders need to implement processes that improve their forecasting accuracy and give them the ability to coach their teams to focus on the deals that have a higher probability of closing.

Here at ValueSelling, we have developed a simple equation known as the Qualified Prospect Formula which we believe covers every ingredient of a successful sale. By using detailed questions for each one of these components of the QP Formula, we provide sales leaders with the tools to coach their teams to be more effective

Recent research states that the number one barrier impacting the sales organisation’s ability to achieve its 2018 revenue objectives will be “sub-optimal sales manager coaching”. Giving sales leaders the tools and processes to be able to coach effectively can increase sales productivity by as much as 20%.

Poor Customer Experience:

In the increasingly frenetic world of sales and constantly increasing targets, sometimes the ongoing needs of the customer are forgotten.  In the B2C, world consumers have become ‘spoilt’ in the internet age – 1 click today and you have it today. We see this trend impacting on the world of B2B sales and the interface between sales and customer service/support will become more and more important. The sales handover process needs to be strengthened to avoid over-promising and under-delivering.

The sales conversations should mirror the clients buying process, the modern-day salesperson needs to really focus on the requirements of the client/prospect and not their own “close plan”

As part of the ValueSelling Framework we recommend a process whereby the salesperson confirms to the buyer in their own words all the steps required to enable them to achieve the value of your solution or service. This simple discipline reduces the anxiety of the buyer that they will be left “high and dry” after the sale is consummated.
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