Everyone already knows this: sales are the lifeblood of the company. It is the main obstacle for exceptional performance, as the sales team is usually the first line of contact with a company’s clientele. Companies invest heavily in their sales team, yet many see marginal gains in correlation with their investments. From our experiences, we’ve identified these 5 common sales problems and what your organization can do to combat them.
Problem #1: The Eternal Sales Cycle
In a results-driven profession that hinges on efficiency, a long and drawn out sales cycle may be your biggest enemy. This can be caused by numerous factors, such as not talking to the decision-maker or buyer, confusing your client over your value, or not understanding your client’s needs well enough. While constant contact with potential buyers is an important practice, making genuine contact is even more essential towards accelerating the sales process.
Solution: Closely documenting client relations can allow you to more effectively ask the ‘right’ questions and develop a stronger rapport. A tactical, informed approach will allow you to connect with a decision maker on a more personal level, thus more likely to find an application for your product or service. This will help you close deals more quickly, freeing up time for you to explore new leads, make initial contact and generate new business.
Problem #2: Failure to Compile Full Contact Information
Communication is key during the selling process, for without it there is not even the initial contact that results in a closed deal. However, salespeople often find themselves limited by incomplete contact information for a potential buyer, which is a critical problem especially during time-sensitive scenarios. The exclusion of any one method of communication and research inhibits your sales process, making it harder to connect with your client and ultimately inhibiting deals.
Solution: When initial contact is made, it is vital that a buyer’s contact information is captured promptly to ensure that the lines of communication are consistently available. The more information you are able to compile on your lead, the more intimate and applicable your proposal can be. Essential contact information includes a phone number (work and if possible, a mobile) and an email address.
Problem #3: Tracking Progress
Properly documenting your daily activity may seem to be an unnecessary hassle that offers no substantial bolstering of your company’s revenue. However, as the sales cycle progresses these small details can make a world of difference as well as their absence can. In reality, an organized, tactical approach to the tracking and recording of client relations makes all the difference in structuring a sales process that is bound for success.
Solution: Gather and document all the information you can obtain during each interaction; this creates a stronger connection with the client. It is important to not discount the small details, as some may become useful later in order to give your client a more genuine appreciation for your proposal. This also shows that you have been actively listening during your interaction with your client, providing additional assurance that you genuinely care for them and setting a positive tone of what can be expected of you down the road.
Problem #4: Too Many Voices
Consistency and trust are golden principles in any sales community. Target customers often find themselves dealing with numerous people within your organization, and this impersonal approach can cause a variety of problems, confusion and desensitization being the most common. While having multiple representatives contacting a potential customers is often a necessity, this often leads to different employees telling customers different things, damaging the trust in the consistency of your organization.
Solution: Establish a clear principle that is of utmost importance for your organization to convey to your customers, and make sure everyone across the board is well aware of this. With this in mind, ensure that communication within the organization among team members is strong and that people are accounting for themselves as well as each other.
Problem #5: Not Looking into the Future
Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to look into a crystal ball and see future customer behavior. But businesses are changing at a rapid pace, forcing companies to innovate at a much higher rate today in order to keep up with the market. That said, having a formidable grasp of the latest news and initiatives at your target company gives you a distinct advantage in landing that big account you so desire.
Solution: Research, research, research! Learn all you can about a company and their goals for the coming year. Utilize news sources, press releases, and any sort of medium you can to understand your target and out-study your competitors. As Alan Lakein said, “failing to plan is planning to fail.”