Managing a sales team is no easy task. Whether you have tenured reps or an inexperienced team, if your goal is growth, there are many challenges to tackle.
Fortunately, some of the most common obstacles that plague growing companies have relatively simple solutions.
Here’s three recurring sales challenges and simple strategies for fixing or preventing them.
1) Your Reps Won’t Adopt New Technology
Does scenario sounds familiar? You find a great new tool that’s guaranteed to make your salespeople more efficient, informed, organized, or persuasive. Even though it’s expensive, you’ll get an unbeatable return.
Or you would have — except many of your team aren’t using it correctly or consistently enough.
Sales leaders often put too much energy into acquiring technology and not enough getting buy-in to use it. If your reps don’t understand how an app or tool helps them specifically, they won’t adopt it.
When you set up a new system or deliver training, connect the tool’s function to its value for the rep. Does the tool shorten the sales cycle? Improve the probability of a close? Help salespeople identify best-fit leads?
An email or edict during a team meeting might not build your case or value. You might have to sell individual reps on the tool’s ROI for them. Before you roll out a new one, use your weekly coaching session or one-on-one to explain why that salesperson should use it.
For example, you could say, “Sarah, this past month you and I have focused on your need to more consistently follow-up with your prospects. We now have a new tool that’ll make that so much easier — it lets you create multi-part email sequences that you can schedule in advance. Can you see how much time that will save you in follow-up?”
Setting clear expectations on the use of the tool is an important part of this buy-in. Define the best practices for using the tool, such as, “Use this database every time you get a new contact; review your records for accuracy every month,” and so on.
If people aren’t using the tool, identify the issue with the rep. Ask, “What’s preventing you from using [tool]? What can I do to help?” Then coach through the barrier.
While this approach requires time and energy, you won’t win team-wide adoption without it.
2) Your Sales Are Inconsistent
Can you predict what your monthly or quarterly sales will be? Far too many businesses see their results change without warning or clear explanation.
If you want to identify how to gain predictable sales and profits, first review your sales process. Companies with undefined or unclear processes often have dramatically shifting results.
Make sure every rep is following the same steps with their customers — and that everyone agrees upon the definition of the stages.
A defined sales process help you identify salespeople who are “going rogue” leading to inaccurately forecasted deals. Perhaps one of your reps consistently tells you buyers are going to commit soon, only to have purchases drag out for multiple weeks. This rep may be taking shortcuts along the way of the sale that create the stall at the finish line; for instance, maybe they’re shortening the discovery call to “save time,” but then they wind up waiting for the appropriate decision maker to sign off later.
Reps who constantly ask for special requests to “close the deal” is also a sign of not following an effective sales process. When a rep frequently gives pricing, payment, and/or implementation or delivery concessions, they’re probably rushing through the sales process and then making compromises to close.
When you notice someone deviating from the playbook, have the conversation to identify the issue. Are they skipping steps because they’re impatient? Do they struggle with a certain part of the process? Are they unclear on what to do or how to do it? Or do they simply not care?
It’s possible they have a legitimate reason for going off the beaten track, so don’t automatically dismiss their answers. For example, maybe they’ve started splitting the demo into two sessions because they’ve found customers are overwhelmed by a single long call. You will gain good insight on the effectiveness of your process during these conversations which can lead to process improvements for the whole team.
To keep your sales process relevant, I recommend reviewing the entire process at least once a year.
3) Your Reps Are Discount-Happy
Most sales leaders wish their reps pulled the “discount” trigger less often. Rather than addressing their prospects’ concerns that hold up the close of the deal, salespeople often throw in additional services or drop the price. While they win the business, the company’s profits suffer.
Avoiding the discount trap requires both skill and confidence. Train your reps on resolving objections: At least once a quarter, pull your team together and review the most common objections they’re hearing. Then work through how to respond and work through the objection with the buyer.
Sometimes discounting is because your salespeople don’t believe in what they’re selling. Confidence in your product and its’ value, means higher margins.. When salespeople truly believe in the value of what they’re selling, they’re far less likely to discount.
Build confidence and belief with a team-wide meeting to discuss your solution’s features and benefits. What makes it different and better than the competition? What type of returns are your clients or users seeing? Some companies bring in customers to discuss their experience, which is a great way to hammer home the impact your offering has. If you can’t bring someone in or arrange a call, share specific grateful customer testimonials.
Start a repository of success stories. When a rep needs a case study, example, or testimonial to share with a prospect, this library will be invaluable. Make sure your salespeople are documenting their customer interviews and that these are available to the team.
These techniques are simple and inexpensive ways to drive down the frequency of discounting.
And there you have it, three common sales team challenges and simple ways to fix them. Don’t let these three common problems sabotage your company. A thoughtful strategy will save you time, energy, and headaches…then you can focus your efforts on the truly tricky issues.
This post was recently shared on Hubspot’s blog.
4 Success Drivers You Need to Know...and Grow
How do you strengthen this "Will" among your sales associates? How does the lack of drive impact your daily life? I discussed this and so much more on a recent virtual training event you can access below. It's valuable information for any business leader who needs to maximize performance of their people to grow their company.
Click here to access the replay.
Sales managers are tasked with insuring that their team members perform at their highest potential. Despite the challenges they may face, their team needs to meet its goals. Although challenges such as inconsistent sales may seem like a problem on the surface, they are easily solved by a dedicated manager.