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10 Tough Challenges Salespeople Face Today and What to Do About It

Selling Power recently conducted a survey of sales managers to determine what challenges they are currently facing. Of the 420 responses, here are the 10 most frequently mentioned challenges. These challenges are not in any particular order.

The purpose of this post is to explore a methodology for handling sales challenges quickly and effectively during your next sales meeting. It is common for sales managers to quickly jump from a problem to a solution and then to sell the solution to everybody on the team; however, this shortcut in thinking and precipitous action is not often rewarded with success. Someone once said that “thinking is an experiential form of action.” Thinking is cheap, but action is expensive.

It may be a good idea for you, the sales leader, to create your own list of sales challenges and bring it to your next sales meeting. Ask your salespeople to cocreate new solutions. Instead of handing out your solutions, put their minds to work and encourage them to create at least five solutions to each challenge. Next, implement the solutions and discuss the results in your next sales meetings.

Sales Challenges Management Questions Creative Solutions
1. Longer decision time frames What are the causes? What would accelerate the lead pipeline? Create a more attractive selling proposition. Improve lead scoring and prospect engagement. Create a lead-nuturing process. Accelerate lead flow.
2. Need to win more proposals What technology can cut proposal writing time? What process can improve win rates? Explore such vendors as Big Machines and Sant.
3. Competing with a lower-priced competitor whose promises won't hold up over time How can we educate customers to justify an investment in quality? How do our best salespeople sell value over price? Collect authentic customer testimonials that focus on value. Ask independent expert to create a white paper. Use social networking to promote long-term value.
4. Finding more qualified leads How do we define a qualified lead? What are our best lead sources? What new lead sources can we tap into? Explore online lead sources, such as Inside View, ZoomInfo, Hoovers, Jigsaw, LeadDogs. Explore outsourcing lead qualification. Check out , InsideSales, and ConnectAndSell.
5. Weathering budget cuts What are our customers buying today? How can we encourage them to consider fresh ideas? What impact can we have on our customers' bottom lines? Price more aggressively. Allow customers to defer payments. Alternate financing options. Explore high cost of doing nothing. Better justify ROI.
6. Deals lost to delays How do we transform our sales funnel into a buy-cycle funnel? How well do we understand how our customers buy? Review the lead-scoring process. Improve the sales process to gain a specific commitment at the conclusion of every call. Gain commitment at a higher level.
7. Too many competitors What is the best way to differentiate our solution? How can we improve our sales message? How can we deliver more value? Improve the quality of each customer interaction. Improve the collaboration between sales and marketing, and create integrated social-media campaigns. Present more customer testimonials.
8. Little customer interest in our add-on services What changed? How do customers think about our product? What are the top three customer priorities? Bring the customer’s voice back into the company. Align customer priorities with product development and marketing.
9. Fewer staff members to help hit sales targets How can we improve our sales support? What are the underserved needs of our sales team? Invest more time in training sales support. Streamline the sales process. Create better metrics to understand what really drives productivity.
10. Getting through to the C-level decision makers What is the current process? How do we train our team? What is our big-game hunting strategy? Train and coach salespeople on C-level selling techniques. Read Whale Hunting by Tom Searcy. Set up CEO-to-CEO calls.


Key takeaway: Problems are nothing but wake-up calls for creativity.

Question: How do you respond to these tough sales challenges? Please feel free to share your thoughts!

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Brett

5. Solve the clients problem, they will find the money in the budget.

Highlight the cost of having the problem.

Michael Pedone

10. Getting through to the C-level decision makers...

Previously to the past 18-months, sales calls were mostly inbound... Prospects were calling in. But the game has changed and once top sales pros are now struggling to survive because most aren't prepared on how to be successful playing on the new field.

The outbound sales process is very different than the inbound sales process. When new circumstances become prevalent in public safety, task forces are re-trained. The sales profession is no different. Train, educate and adapt or fail. It's that simple.

Michael Pedone
http://www.salesbuzz.com

Michael Pedone - Online Sales Training

10. Getting through to the C-level decision makers...

Previously to the past 18-months, sales calls were mostly inbound... Prospects were calling in. But the game has changed and once top sales pros are now struggling to survive because most aren't prepared on how to be successful playing on the new field.

The outbound sales process is very different than the inbound sales process. When new circumstances become prevalent in public safety, task forces are re-trained. The sales profession is no different. Train, educate and adapt or fail. It's that simple.

Michael Pedone
http://www.salesbuzz.com

Michelchiasson

Gerhard,
Thanks for the post. Good symptoms of a number of things..

1 - I would say that the ability to call at the highest level would take care of this. If there is a problem to be solved, with dollars budgeted, and the right relationship, it should be easy to ask for the business. I will rope in number 2 and 5 along this as well. I always go back to "I could sell anything to my father if he had the money". Relationships are key inside the account and the more sales based on relationship and value instead of price and features, the more you win.
4- this one is a real challenge that can't be overcome with training. State of the market today make it difficult. If you have a large organization however, leveraging all the relationships inside your organization with a solution like cvusoftware will help you shorten your cycles.
10- I believe that this is the true pearl here. If the deal is the right size, not only will this prevent delays in the negotiation process but it will also help from a client loyalty standpoint after the sale. That CEO to CEO will prevent the relationship to be single threaded and will open up many more opportunities. Not enough CEO's are involved at this level.

Not sure it gets me an ebook, but it got me going. Thanks!

Michel

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