5 Biggest Challenges Faced by Sales Managers and How to Solve Them
Over 80% of sales leaders report at least one of these issues as their biggest challenge:
- Getting new salespeople to contribute more quickly.
- Creating an effective process to help sales representatives connect with leads and build the prospect pipeline.
- Teaching sales representatives how to create urgency in buyers’ actions.
- Differentiating the unique value proposition positively enough that sales representatives can shift the focus from price.
- Actually getting salespeople to use selling tools and processes.
Chances are, one or more of the above five problems is also your biggest problem.
How to Address the Sales Leader’s Biggest Challenges
If you fall into the 80% of sales leaders who have one of the five above listed problems, you might find the expanded version of your problem—below—useful.
1. Getting new salespeople to contribute more quickly.
About how long does it take for a new salesperson to really contribute? It almost never happens right away. In addition to learning the actual products, the sales person has to navigate the internal processes. The new rep usually also has to learn the industry and the customer personas. The problem is the lag: it takes so long to onboard new reps, and even then it may not turn profitable.
Some leaders try to expedite the time in the experience void by hiring from their competition. This is referred to as hiring retreads. Although retreads do understand the market already, they also usually have habits that should be changed.
To learn Program on Persuasion’s corporate sales training technique for addressing this issue, download our Predictive Sales Funnel eBook here.
2. Creating an effective pipeline process to help sales representatives connect with leads and build the prospect pipeline.
The lack of leads and opportunities is the number one challenge facing sales teams. This problem usually manifests in one of the following three ways:
- The rep does not know where to find the leads
- The rep does not know how to qualify leads
- The rep has identified the contacts but cannot connect
Ironically, when there is no connection, there is also no way to qualify: if the prospect won’t respond to messages, then your rep can’t really know very much about them. In fact, the flood of messages is actually shutting the communication line down and doing the exact opposite of the outreach’s intention, disconnecting.
If this is your main problem, click here to view The Predictive Sales Funnel, the in depth solution provided by Program on Persuasion’s corporate sales training.
3. Utilizing a predictable method that helps sales representatives create urgency in buyers’ actions.
Representatives are consistently disappointed by finding out that a prospect who was once “Gung ho!” is now “Ho hum.”
Like everyone, buyers have a To Do List. When the seller’s call to action is not at the top of the list, then the buyer does not take action.
When sellers realize nothing is happening, they typically respond in one of the following ways:
- They do nothing. They let the account fall through the cracks.
- They start a battery of communication, which then pushes the buyer away.
Sellers usually understand the predicament. They usually don’t understand how to create urgency in the buyer without also damaging the business relationship.
4. Differentiating the unique value proposition positively enough that sales representatives can shift the focus from price.
People are hardwired to make decisions by comparison. Science shows that we respond to the relative difference in our options, and not each option’s objective value. When sellers fail to differentiate among options, the buyers fail to differentiate, too.
When all other qualities among products seem relatively even, buyers default to differentiating by price. The key to moving the focus off of price begins by segmenting customers.
Segmentation divides customers into groups of individuals who share specific similarities. When sellers identify what buyers want and what they want to avoid, we can trigger differentiation based on those qualities.
The old saying goes, “Selling isn’t hard. You find out what the customers want, and then give it to them.” The problem with that method is that it implies that the customers already know what they want. We at Program on Persuasion have a method of finding out what your prospects want so that we all can figure out how to best give it to them.
When we figure out their wants, we chunk the customers into smaller and smaller groups so that we can focus on what each prospect wants.
The better we can segment, the better we are able to understand the smaller groups of our prospects. This allows the seller to differentiate the value proposition for each group. The better we can differentiate, the more prospects we can convert, and the less we need to lower our prices.
5. Actually getting salespeople to use selling tools and processes.
One of the foundations of modern psychology is the idea that people are motivated by pleasure and pain, and the bigger motivator of the two is actually pain. We would rather move away from pain rather than toward any gain. As humans, our main drive is to find safety.
If we extend this idea into the business world, it’s easy to see that the enemy of the great is the good. Here’s an example to put the idea in perspective: salespeople are more motivated to keep their job than they are to break records.
The reason is tied to human nature. As we said before, humans are driven to find safety. When we are short of a quota, or at risk of losing our job, we do not feel safe. We are out of the comfort zone, and we will do almost anything to return to the safe space. Moving away from the discomfort of losing our job or being otherwise punished pushes us into the status quo.
But it also keeps us in the status quo.
To have salespeople achieve goals they have never achieved before they must do things they have never done before. The very asking of someone to do something they have never done before pushes them outside their comfort zone.
Program on Persuasion has developed a corporate sales training called the Predictive Sales Funnel that addresses all of the biggest five problems that sales leaders face. At no cost, you can download our eBook that details the best ways that all five of the biggest challenges of sales managers are solved.
Photo by Wil Stewart.