Five Common Pain Points in Sales – And How to Overcome Them

Sales is a high-pressured, fast-moving area of business. It’s no surprise then that there are many pain points that exist in sales. They can frustrate and obstruct even the most well-run, highly-organised sales team. They can affect all levels of the organisation, from sales team leaders to sales reps. Here are five of the most common pain points that impede a smooth sales operation – and the strategies that can be deployed to overcome them.

Pain Point 1. Too Many Meetings

This is a very common complaint that a lot of sales reps have. It’s very simple – what do salespeople want to do? Sell! Any time spent away from their desk or their phone is time spent not selling – and not adding value to the company. If too many meetings are scheduled in a salesperson’s diary, then their performance is naturally going to suffer.

One survey showed that the average salesperson spends 6.4 hours preparing for and attending internal meetings each week – that’s nearly a whole working day!

How to overcome this?

For a sales team leader:

Consider reducing the volume of team meetings. Only schedule them when they are absolutely necessary. Think to yourself: could the meeting topic be communicated in another way, for example, by an email? If you arrange weekly meetings, try rearranging them to fortnightly, monthly, or even quarterly.

Meetings don’t have to be conducted face-to-face, either. Video calls or group chats on apps like Slack or Skype are effective ways of getting your team talking, and crucially they don’t require anyone to leave their workstation.

For a sales team:

If the amount of team meetings reduces, then of course it makes sense for everybody to maximise the time spent in meetings. Make sure that management sets a clear schedule or agenda for each meeting and that all team members stick to it. Try not to let meetings overrun or go off-script!

Pain Point 2. Too Much Admin

Administrative tasks. Often necessary but, for a lot of sales reps, far too time-consuming. One recent study showed that salespeople spend 20% of their time on CRM updating/admin/creating sales reports. This, surely, is a massive waste of time and effort. Imagine how much more successful a sales team could be, if that 20% of time was freed up to prospect more leads and talk to more buyers!

How to overcome this?

For a sales team leader:

One idea is to employ an administrative assistant, to handle all the admin while your sales reps get on with the job of chasing new clients. However, if a new hire isn’t feasible, then other solutions exist to help you.

Use apps and software to streamline the administrative process and make your team’s working life easier. Ensure that all team members are using the same CRM. Adopt sales acceleration solutions, in order to automate tasks such as data entry, lead generation and outbound email campaigns.

For a sales team:

Communicate to management what administrative jobs are the most laborious and take the most time out of your day. If new strategies are implemented, use them and monitor how effective they are for you. Keep the conversation open with your sales leaders and suggest improvements.

Pain Point 3. Not Enough Training

If a salesperson hasn’t received adequate training, they will struggle to sell. Training can come in many forms, from cold calling best practice to the correct way to close a deal, to product and pricing information.

This pain point is especially applicable to new hires, who may not have the product or selling experience to work at their best.

How to overcome this?

For a sales team leader:

Make sure that every new employee receives training on the product/services they are selling. Create a centralised repository where your team can access all the information and training materials they might need when talking to customers.

Leverage the expertise and resources of other teams, as well. Use the materials and content produced by your marketing department in your sales training. This is a good sales enablement tactic, and will guarantee that your sales reps are all working with the same information.

For a sales team:

Identify if you need extra training in any areas of your job. If there are particular tasks or obligations you find difficult, make a note of them and ask your sales team leader if any resources are available.

If you make a successful sales call or close an important deal, share what worked with the rest of your team. Create an open forum for sharing ideas and successes with each other. That way, you can all learn from each other’s experience.

Pain Point 4. Sales and Marketing Aren’t Aligned

Having a strong alignment between sales and marketing can make all the difference to the success of a business. Consider this nugget of research from MarketingProfs, who highlighted that companies with aligned sales and marketing departments saw 38% higher sales win rates!

All too often, both departments work separately from each other and are reluctant to share their targets and goals. This can be damaging to the outcomes of both sales and marketing.

How to overcome this?

For a sales team leader:

Implement a collaborative, cooperative approach to working with marketing. Make the most of the library of content that marketing will have on file, to save your team valuable time in creating their own selling materials. Ask marketing to assist with creating cold call scripts and outbound emails. This will produce better and more targeted emails and sales pitches, and help to define a clear, unified message for your brand.

For a sales team:

Aligning sales and marketing is a long-term strategy that requires all team members to get behind it. Maintain an open conversation with marketing through regular catch-ups and team meetings. Share results and discuss new tactics with your marketing department. Don’t be afraid to suggest any improvements or changes to the brand messaging, if you think it would improve your sales success rate.

Pain Point 5. Low Lead Quality

Perhaps the most important pain point of all to a sales team. If a sales team has a lack of qualified leads, it will have a hard time selling. Qualified leads are much more likely buyers than unqualified ones.

If salespeople are consistently working with unqualified leads, it makes selling a much more difficult proposition. This can cause lower close ratios and impact on the team’s confidence.

How to overcome this?

For a sales team leader:

Harness the power of sales acceleration solutions to improve the quality of your leads. Develop buyer personas in collaboration with marketing. Buyer personas are a fictionalised representation of your ideal customer, based on market research and existing data. They will help target your lead prospecting and increase your chances of contacting potential buyers.

For a sales team:

Use sales triggers to find out when customers would be most likely to buy. A sales trigger is any event that creates an opening for a sales opportunity. For example, if a prospect has recently been promoted, or if the company they work at has received funding.

Sales triggers assist salespeople in pinpointing leads at exactly the time they’re ready to buy, making the job of selling so much easier.

Conclusion

The key to overcoming most of these common pain points is communication. Communication between your team and with others. Adopt the above strategies and test them. See what works for you. Monitor the results and share any suggestions for improvement. Overcoming pain points in sales is a constant challenge, but hopefully the above advice will give you a good head start.

 

Joe Barron is the Content Writer for Cognism. Did you like this article? Do you have any thoughts or comments? Contact him at joe.barron@cognism.com

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