If your business is experiencing a sales problem, you are not alone.
Does your business have a sales problem?
Successful sales in any business is a gift. But when a sales problem is thrown at you, it can be a real grind. Struggling economies, pandemics, fierce competition, or sales force retention struggles can greatly impact producing desired sales results.
This is an extremely important topic and an ongoing conversation. Our team at X5 Management receives regular inquiries from businesses across many different industries on how we can potentially support sales problems and challenges.
What are the common sales problems with achieving consistent sales success?
While there are many moving parts to effective selling, there are several potential problems that create roadblocks. I will focus on the five I often see that can be fixed with some focus and discipline.
5 Common Sales Problems
- The overall sales culture of the organization
- Sales management
- Simple methods of effective selling
- Relationship building
- Goals and objectives aren’t clear
I have offered high-level thoughts on each of the five areas, along with some experts in the sales arena that I have a tremendous amount of respect for. There are countless books written on sales, and when it comes down to it, the basics are still key and can be very effective.
Sales Problem #1: The overall sales culture of the organization
“A healthy sales culture starts at the executive and managerial levels.”
-Mike Wienberg, Bestselling author and Sales Consultant
Does the entire organization support and respect the sales department or team members in sales? While sales are the lifeblood of any business, it is often the case when sales targets are achieved or exceeded, “we all made that happen,” but when sales are behind the target, and the pipeline is lean, “the sales team is not performing.”
Regardless of your role within the business, you must care about sales and the people responsible for generating sales. Be part of the solution rather than ragging on salespeople when sales are struggling. This starts at the top of the organization, and the CEO must set the tone here. Also, try to help with sales growth and not hinder it.
Sales Problem #2: Sales Management
Regardless of the structure of your sales organizational chart, effective sales management is critical to sales success.
How do we select and recruit sales team members? Is there a methodical process, or do we rush to get bums in seats?
Do we have structure and process for consistent and measurable weekly, monthly, and quarterly activities? Do we inspect what we expect?
Does the Sales Manager conduct joint calls from time to time with newer sales team members or team members that are currently struggling in sales?
Both are key to being a great sales professional vs. a great sales leader, but one person can’t do both. This is a common challenge within many organizations when the greatest sales professional is the sales manager or sales leader. The reality is that there are way too many conflicting priorities to do both well effectively.
“Successful managers and sales teams need to avoid unproductive distractions and tasks.”
-Mike Wienberg, Bestselling author and Sales Consultant
While an effective CRM is key, avoid making it the only thing that you focus on.
You can’t manage your sales team on email alone. As quoted in Mike Weinberg’s book, Sales Management Simplified:
“There is no replacement for the value of one-on-one meetings, regular team meetings, and spending time in the field with salespeople. Imagine how well a baseball team would do if the coach spent each day sitting in an office and only communicated with texts and emails. That team is all but guaranteed to lose. Managing a sales team isn’t rocket science. You can divide the job into three simple categories: sales leadership and culture, talent management and sales process.”
Sales Problem #3: Simple methods of effective selling
Often, there is no great process, and the basic sales processes and steps aren’t consistently followed.
Notably, these steps include:
- Prospecting/account management
- Fact-finding and discovery
- Demonstrating value
- Creating rapport and developing relationships
- Effective follow-up
Who is on the list? What is the reason? Do they have a problem that you can solve?
“Pick Up the Damn phone.”
– Jeb Blount, Bestselling author and sales guru
During the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Times ran an article about how people were suddenly rediscovering the “humble phone.” In one article, the Guardian announced the ‘return of the phone,’ going on to describe how people were rediscovering that a “call can offer real closeness.”
Jeb Blount’s book, Virtual Selling, is a must-read. He covers many ideas on how to best engage with remote buyers and close deals fast.
Jeb talks a lot about virtual calls:
“On virtual video calls, you must never discount the power of the subconscious mind and how it holds sway over your stakeholder’s perceptions, emotions and behaviour. On video calls, the brain must expend energy as it attempts to interpret the picture it sees on the screen and compare it with the way it expects a person to look like in person. When that picture doesn’t look natural, when the clues and cues that are normally present in an in-person conversation are not there, the brain must work harder to fill the gaps.”
Fact-Finding and Discovery
This is a critical step and can’t be rushed. Get to know your client. What main challenges do they have? Selling does not occur in this step. Ask great questions and listen.
(Read all about the art of asking great questions and truly listening to their responses in this post)
This is a commonly missed step. In our business, we live and breathe this! Our view is that you MUST demonstrate value before the client ever cuts the cheque.
Creating Rapport and Developing Relationships
I will expand on this in the next step, but it is so simple but often rushed or totally overlooked.
Do you act and sound like someone that your prospective client would want to deal with?
Whether it is during the selling process or after the sale, follow-up is key. Sometimes sales professionals follow up too fast, and some are way too slow. Find the ideal balance in your business.
Never forget to follow up after the sale or delivery of your goods or services, even if that isn’t your department. Was the client satisfied with what they received or paid for? Was it delivered on time?
Sales Problem #4: Relationship Building
Whether you are phoning, conducting Zoom calls, or meeting in person, relationships matter when it comes to sales. They always have, and they always will.
I am a relationship guy, and I take pride in my ability to build meaningful relationships. I often talk about LRT.
(Click here to read the first in a blog series on X5 Management’s principle of LRT: Like Respect and Trust)
While it is not complicated, many sales professionals skip these simple yet critical steps. Slow the process down and build rapport before going for the BIG close too fast.
(Incredible customer service can also solve many of your biggest sales problems. Here are 5 Customer
Service Skills to Master to Stand Out From Your Competition)
Sales Problem #5: Goals and objectives aren’t clear
What are we measuring? Do we measure what matters? Another great read by John Doerr, Measure what Matters – How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKR.
While it’s ultimately about sales results, many things must be tracked and measured.
What critical things your business measures and tracks will make the difference with overall sales results?
As you can appreciate, there are so many areas that can be discussed or written about when it comes to sales. The basics do work, along with focus, discipline, executive and unwavering optimism that your business provides great value and the right client will want to buy and do business with you.
I hope that you found this blog of value. If our team at X5 Management can assist you, we would be pleased to have a complimentary Discovery meeting with you to determine how we can potentially support your business with sales growth. Click here to book yours today.
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