Selling is not for the faint of heart. You're thinking, "No Shit! Tell us something we don't know." Maybe you already know that it's hard. Maybe you already know why it's so hard. But if nothing else, understanding that there are common pain points that many salespeople face might just make you feel better about charging ahead each day.
As a sales enablement strategist, I speak to a lot of different sales teams and hear similar complaints from teams in a variety of industries. I've discovered what many salespeople face on a daily basis, and the pain points listed below are just a few that, if tackled, can help increase productivity, morale, and most importantly sales.
- Too much time spent in meetings
Sure, there are some meetings vital to the business and the sales organization. But one complaint I hear frequently is "I spend so much time attending meetings, I can't get any work done." This is going to be a common theme - can't sell when doing anything other than selling. The US Bureau of Labor statistics suggest there are up to 56 million meetings per day, states Elise Keith in "55 Million: A Fresh Look at the Number, Effectiveness, and Cost of Meetings in the U.S."
I recommend scheduling meetings only if they are necessary. Prior to setting up another meeting, try to decide if a meeting is warranted. Would this topic be best handled and be more efficient in any other way? Maybe send out a consistent report instead of requiring everyone to get together to report back to the team. Maybe an email is all that is necessary. Maybe a real-time scorecard? Save the meetings for "only when necessary."
- Bogged down by administrative work
"I'm too busy to enter that crap into the system." This may offend someone in sales, but let's be honest - EVERYONE IS TOO BUSY! I get it though. With little to no assistance on daily tasks like creating reports, presentations, entering data for the CRM - it's no wonder why stress on sales teams is running high. In a recent study by Fergal Glynn, "The State of Sales Productivity", only one-third of a salesperson's day is actually spent selling. Quickest solution: Hire someone to perform these tasks. Sure. That's simple enough. Each salesperson receives their own admin. Well, maybe that's a possibility in a large company, or maybe just hiring one or two people to assist with this bottleneck of work, and free up more time to sell outweighs the loss in sales productivity. Or in many cases I work with, creating a sales system to optimize or automate many of these tasks can be just as effective. By adding task reminders about deadlines, follow-up emails, calls, and meeting goes a long way to stay on top of an otherwise overwhelming amount of things to do each day.
- Confusing Processes
The tools sales teams use today are changing fast. This rate of change requires checking in on the sales process. What may have worked 5 years ago, 1 year ago, or even 6 months ago, may not be optimal today and in the future. If the process is confusing to the sales team it will inevitably cause a reduction in efficiency. We have all heard K.I.S.S. IT. (Keep It Simple Stupid). This goes for your process as well. Try to streamline it as much as possible. The benefits of a clear, well-adopted process will result in higher productivity.
- Insufficient Training
A salesperson who lacks an understanding of the product or service they are selling will struggle to sell. This is a commonly overlooked pain point. An organization may be jazzed about hiring a ringer from another company, but if this person isn't trained on the process, product, and information key to making a sale, they will still be left under-performing. As part of a sales enablement team, I see this quite often. Sometimes a new hire just needs to understand what sales collateral is at their fingertips. Other times, a salesperson needs to be trained on the entire process and how to close a sale. A great tip is no matter what stage the salesperson is at in their career, provide a repository of important sales training documents for all members of your team.
- Low Lead Quality
Ok, this one is huge - and probably the single biggest obstacle sales organizations complain to us about. A massive time-suck, spending your valuable, precious time working a lead that is completely unqualified is frustrating. An unqualified lead also impacts close-ratios and kills confidence. This is where the sales and marketing teams must work together to ensure the leads they are generating are more Bottom-of-the-Funnel (BOFU). Establishing key qualifiers and having leads work their way through a qualifying process (either automated or manual) will allow the sales team to focus on prospects with a higher likelihood to purchase.
In a nutshell, don't bog down the team with meetings that could be replaced with quicker communications, more regularly. Try to alleviate the mind-numbing administrative tasks when and where possible. The sales process must continue to evolve and yet remain as simple as possible. It only helps the overall sales performance when training is readily available and accessible to all personnel, at every level. Last, but not least...work with the marketing team to hone the lead generation, segmenting where possible to focus the sales team's time on higher quality leads. I know not every salesperson experiences all or even any of these pain points. But for sales managers, unmasking what pain points your team faces will most likely increase productivity, morale, and inevitably sales.