January 10, 2017

frequent-struggles-sales-teamsIs your sales team dealing with poor sales performance?

If so, then you are probably scrambling for answers on how to overcome obstacles that are dragging your team’s productivity down.

But what is the first step in trying to solve the age-old problem of struggling sales reps?

The first thing you must do is find the root of your team’s struggles.

 

4 Common Sales Team Struggles

1.   Poor Sales Planning

poor-sales-planning-sales-team-strugglePaul Meyer, founder of Success Motivation Institute, once said, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort.”

With nearly every endeavor, planning is the most critical step in ensuring that you reach your goals.

So if your sales team is struggling with hitting quotas, closing deals and forecasting revenue, it could simply be due to a lack of planning.

Thus, how can you improve your planning process?

Here are a few tips to help you guide your team to success:

  • Set clear goals. Whatever you and your team’s goals are, whether it is increasing productivity, revenue or improving the personal and/or professional development of your reps, you must define that specific goal.

A clear goal will keep your team focused and will allow your team to handle obstacles more effectively as they come.

 

  • Set a start and end date for each of your goals. Some goals have a way of remaining open-ended. Perhaps you have heard someone begin a sentence with, “One day, I will do this…” or “In the future, this will happen…”

Unfortunately, if your goals remain that vague, you and your team may feel less accountable for your actions. Set specific dates, and hold yourself and your team accountable to help keep your team on track.

 

  • Set a communication routine. A great way to reinforce your plans is to make sure your team has a communication routine in place. That means scheduling weekly or monthly meetings and reports so that everyone is all on the same page.

During your meetings and within your reports, continue to review and track the progress of your goals until they are completed.

 

2. Ineffective Sales Process

Your sales process is the key to your team’s success in many ways.

During the sales process, your team must:

  1. Prospect and find leads
  2. Connect with those leads to collect vital information
  3. Do some research on leads to help provide a more personal pitch
  4. Craft and present a well-formed sales pitch to the lead
  5. Close the deal and turn the lead into a buyer

But if your sales process is ineffective and your reps are struggling through any of the key steps above, they may find it difficult to close important deals.

In order to make the sales process less challenging for your salespeople, you will need to get them to:

  • Focus on the benefits and how they will help the buyer instead of trying to sell the features or technical aspects of your product or service
  • Genuinely connect with the customer so that they can earn the customer’s trust
  • Ask questions and learn about the potential buyer’s concerns and pain points
  • Avoid annoying the potential buyer with too many follow-up calls or emails
  • Avoid making false promises or providing a discount just to close a deal
  • Consider the opinions of other key stakeholders beyond the original point of contact
  • Utilize helpful tools such as a CRM for quick access to organized information

By following these steps, your team can improve their overall sales process, create an authentic relationship with customers and overcome many common sales struggles.

 

3. Lackluster Sales Messaging

poor-sales-messaging-causes-sales-team-strugglesWhen it comes to building trust and a lasting relationship with your customers, your sales messaging is critical.

As a company, your messaging needs to stand out and should reflect the idea that your main priority is the customer and their needs.

That means your messaging will need to address:

  • Pain points: Your customers’ problems
  • Solutions: How you can solve their problems
  • Advantages: How you can help them more efficiently and thoroughly than your competitors
  • Social Proof: How your company has helped your previous customers

If your salespeople can confidently and consistently address these concerns as they speak to potential buyers, it will leave a positive impression with your customers.

Not only that, but it will improve their ability to close sales more effectively.

 

4. Someone On Your Team Is a Bad Fit

In an ideal world, it would be nice if you could just hire the top salespeople in the world and then just let them rake in the sales for you.

Unfortunately, sales talent varies from rep to rep and choosing the wrong person to join your team can be costly.

Why is that?

Because the wrong salespeople can affect:

  • Time spent while training new hires
  • Lost revenue due to missed sales quotas
  • Personal and team productivity
  • Team morale
  • And much more

This goes to show that hiring the right people from the start is critical to building a great sales team.

So to help you find the right people to join your sales team, you will need to:

 

Envision the ideal member of your sales team.

List strengths and weaknesses of your team along with what your team needs in a new rep in order to improve. Also make a list of what traits your ideal sales rep should have.

Determine responsibilities of that sales rep.

Rank the above traits from your ideal sales rep on a scale from one to five (one being least important compared to five being the most important). Then, based on the rankings, determine what traits a candidate absolutely must have in order for you to consider hiring him or her.

Look for the top candidates out there.

Now that you have a grasp of what ideal sales candidates for your team look like it is time to find them.

When searching for new sales reps, there are a few methods for finding the right candidates including:

  1. Reaching out to your network. As sales manager, you likely have a network of other professionals in a similar position. If this is the case, look to these people in your network to find information on prospective sales reps who may have recently left a position or are currently looking for a new position.
  2. Asking for employee referrals. Similar to your network, your sales team may have a network of friends or acquaintances that include sales reps. Check with them periodically to see if they know anyone who may be qualified for the open position on your team.
  3. Using a staffing agency. Staffing agencies generally go through a rigorous screening process when searching for candidates that are qualified for open positions. Reaching out to a staffing firm could ultimately save you some time and energy on finding the right sales candidate to join your team.

When you find the right candidates to join your team, you may realize that their expertise and overall cultural fit can help minimize the amount of your sales team’s struggles.

 

As you can see, if your sales team is struggling, it can be due to a number of factors.

But by pinpointing the source of your team’s struggles, addressing those struggles and working to solve the common issues listed above, you can truly build a powerful sales team.