Your sales team is a crucial part of the organization. Often times, they provide customers with their first impression of your business and are revenue-drivers. In a 2012 study, Towers Watson found that high-performing sales managers spend 14% more time per year on selling than low-performing sales managers. Your sales team could be encountering some obstacles that defer their attention away from their core responsibility of making sales. Here are the top 4 struggles your sales team is likely encountering and steps you can take to mitigate each.
1. Locating Qualified Leads
In 2012, CSO Insights reported that the time sales representatives needed to invest in researching accounts and generating leads was 19.4% in 2012. That's one-fifth of their time, or nearly a day each week! Locating qualified leads is a challenge for every business, no matter the industry. If your sales team is struggling with lead qualification, consider whether or not your nurturing process is developed enough to meet the needs of buyers. Even if you receive a lead who is still "warm," meaning they are still evaluating or researching and not yet ready to buy, an established nurture campaign based off customer interests and the typical purchase timeline can help your sales team take prospects from warm to hot.
2. Battling Busywork
Busywork can take up a bulk of your time. No matter your role within a company, you know how reporting, data entry and similar activities can require more time than you want to invest. In their 2012 study, Towers Watson also found that low-performing sales managers spend 6% more time on management activities and 11% more time on non-selling related activities than high-performers. To get your sales team back to selling, look for solutions, from your call center software to your CRM or sales solution, that easily integrate and automate as much of this busywork as possible. Automate contact logs and data entry whenever possible to reduce the time your sales staff spends on these activities.
3. Managing Marketing Materials
Marketing-sales alignment is a hot topic for businesses and leaders. Getting these two teams on the same page can be a bit of challenge, but it needs to be a focus so you can convert leads into customers. Every two weeks or month, get your sales and marketing managers together to discuss what opportunities are available on both ends and how the two teams can work together to capitalize. Marketing should be working with sales to let them know where marketing budget is left and where current spend is taking place. Sales should be informing marketing of what types of content they need to deliver to prospects.
4. Sales Training Scarcity
The CSO Insights study also found that 50% of organizations believe that better training, with greater frequency, is needed in the areas of customer marketplace and purchase justification -- two of the main factors influencing the success rates of your sales team. Sales training isn't a "one and done" process, however, and needs to consistently be a part of your sales strategy. This could be quick 10-minute training sessions before each meeting. It could also mean holding an internal summit or bring in a sales trainer to better prepare your team to turn a "No" into a "Yes!"
If you're not focused on helping your sales team be more successful, it's unlikely your business profits and revenue numbers will hit your expected goals. Your sales team may be encountering one or more of these obstacles and it's up to the organization as whole to help get them overcome what's in their way, whether it's managing marketing materials or battling busywork. If your sales staff is struggling with one of these four things, consider the steps you can take to help them.