5 Dominant Sales Challenges to Overcome in 2020

Sales is the most critical function in any organization as well as the most challenging. One of the biggest sales challenges that salespeople face is having a long list of to-dos that mostly comprises mundane tasks such as following up with prospective clients, sending sales proposals, and updating statuses in the CRM system leaving your sales representatives little time to do what they do best: sales.

The lack of access to adequate sales tools to navigate through the overwhelming workload could hamper the overall productivity of your team. So  let’s take a look at how your organisation can overcome  the top sales challenges it is likely to face this year.

1. Generating quality leads 

While retaining existing customers can generate repeat sales, you need to acquire good, quality leads to meet your targets, scale the business, and stay ahead of the competition.

But if your organization is on a tight marketing budget and reducing spending on content creation, promotions, and advertisements, then this is probably a key sales challenge it is likely to face this year.

How to overcome:

Build your account book based on existing customers

  • One of the best ways to generate good, quality leads via cold outreach is by building your account book based on your ideal customer profile. Your typical customer would be companies most likely to benefit from your products or services.
  • Begin with identifying common traits among your existing customers—those who have already found value associating with your brand. Identify common characteristics such as company size, revenue, number of employees, location, and industry or vertical.
  • Once you have identified the right customer profile, narrow down to identify the right person to contact in an organization. A simple approach is to search for appropriate keywords in their job titles or designation. This will also help in establishing the hierarchy within the organization.
  • Alternatively, if you wish to avoid the manual process, several sales intelligence tools help define the ideal customer profile as well provide contact information.

2, Qualifying an opportunity or prospect 

One of the most common challenges salespeople face is the inability to accurately identify prospects that may not lead to a sale. Pursuing poor quality leads not only clutters and bloats your rep’s pipeline but also buries more promising deals.

“Selling is difficult,” concedes Prakash Batna, VP of Sales at vending solutions provider Vendiman, “The toughest sales challenge is identifying the influencers, buyers, and decision-makers. It’s important to not end up chasing the wrong clients and to know when to ask for an order.”

If you do not train and equip your salespeople to identify the right opportunities, they may spread themselves thin chasing every lead.

How to overcome:

  • Equip your sales team with proper qualification techniques to identify in the first two calls whether a prospect has a genuine need to buy your product. That way, your team won’t waste time on the wrong leads.
  • Pen down the various factors to score your leads and segment them into different clusters so you know which ones to prioritize and focus on.
  • Monitor your sales pipeline quarterly to let go of deals that have not registered any sales activity or even email engagement in a while, and those that have gone beyond their sales duration. Encourage your teams to drop old deals and look for new opportunities to grow their numbers.

3. Differentiating the solution 

With a plethora of alternative solutions available today, it may get tricky for a salesperson to create a sales pitch that sets your organisation apart from the competition.

Moreover, prospects today are well-informed and already further down the sales process when they get in touch with sales professionals. They are not only evaluating your solution but also your competitors simultaneously.

How to overcome:

  • Elevator pitch: To distinguish your products, work closely with your team to understand the prospect’s challenges and identify how your offerings can help solve for those. Integrate this to create a strong elevator pitch for your brand that your salespeople can use as a reference to back their claims when they pitch to prospective customers. Your elevator pitch must include information about your product or service, how it is unique, and the lucrative proposition you can offer prospects to solve their challenges.
  • Example of a good elevator pitch:  

“Did you know an average salesperson spends more than 50% of their time on manual tasks? Most of the time, they are caught between toggling pages and doing administrative tasks such as updating databases and manually adding leads, leaving them little or no time to actually spend time on selling. Our customer relationship management software can help you fix that with integrated tools that automate routine tasks and thereby allow sales reps to spend more time on speaking to leads and converting them. We would love to show you a demo of how our solution could help benefit your sales teams. Shall we schedule a demo for next week?”

  • Sales enablement content: Equip your team with sales enablement materials such as:
    • Battle cards
    • Comparison sheets
    • Use-case decks 
  • Objection-handling: Also, make sure to train your team to handle objections effectively to enhance the quality of interactions with your leads. 

4. Getting past the gatekeeper 

Another common sales challenge faced by sales representatives is finding the right decision-maker in a potential client organization. Your team might receive quality leads and have an excellent sales pitch to present; however, if they are knocking on the wrong doors within a client’s organization, the chances of them closing a sale are almost zero.

In specific scenarios, your sales team might be denied access to decision-makers by gatekeepers. Difficulty in accessing the right stakeholders could elongate your lead conversion cycles and affect the morale of salespersons.

How to overcome:

Here are some ways to identify the decision-maker:

  • Use company hierarchies: While your sales teams might interact with junior executives within a prospect’s organization, the decision-maker would be a senior member within the hierarchy with budgetary control. Enable your sales team with organization mapping to work their way up within organizations through continuous engagement and relationship-building and establish a good rapport with the end-users, advocates or influencers, and the decision-maker.
  • LinkedIn connections: Salespersons can leverage professional contacts through their LinkedIn network to connect with the decision-makers. Mutual connections could introduce your team directly to the decision-maker, act as referrers, or provide feedback to speed up the process.
  • Build a rapport with the gatekeepers: Gatekeepers are trained to keep salespersons away from decision-makers. Instead of approaching gatekeepers as adversaries, encourage your sales team to embrace gatekeepers as extensions of the decision-makers. Ask your team to be sincere with the gatekeepers and inform them of their objectives behind reaching out to the decision-makers. Request your team to be respectful and courteous to gatekeepers and appreciate that they are doing their duty. A strong rapport with gatekeepers could help salespersons in obtaining appointments and additional information about the company, which they can leverage to make a persuasive pitch.

5. Using the right tools 

Often salespeople use multiple tools such as spreadsheets, power points, clunky CRMs, and mobile phones to store customer data. This habit leads to information being spread out across various tools and deters their speed as they spend a majority of their time toggling between applications.

While you might employ several state-of-the-art tools to help your salesforce, they are most likely to go back to the apps they are most comfortable with unless offered a compelling alternative.

Tips to overcome:

  • Several tools can help reduce redundancy and mundane work of salespersons such as:
  • Sales prospecting tools
  • Sales engagement platform
  • Lead scoring
  • CRM: An intuitive and easy-to-use CRMs that salespeople will look forward to using as it makes their jobs easier and reduces dependency on multiple applications. A comprehensive AI-powered CRM solution that has all of these above-mentioned capabilities such as lead management and sales engagement, as well as allows integration with other complementary tools, will answer your sales team’s problems in one go. Your team does not have to toggle between pages to access all relevant information.

CRM solutions, like Freshsales, can provide a 360-degree view of the customer, including social profile and website activity, customer behavior, email opens, click-through rate, and lead scoring data. Freshsales can also be used to engage with prospects from within the CRM, like place calls, send bulk emails, and generate reports.

With the right intervention by sales management, sales challenges faced by your team can be solved with intuitive technology to stay ahead of the game in 2020. With minute changes to approaching sales challenges, you can guide and build a motivated and result-driven team.