If you look online for information on the common problems sales teams are facing you get a plethora of articles. And they all are pretty much copies of each other, as if one author looked at what was already there, and rehashed the information to produce something for themselves.
You generally hear about the same things thrown around over and over again. Prospects not returning calls, the lead marketing provides are not qualified enough, nobody answers their phone, emails are going to spam and remain unseen.
And yet, when you actually talk to successful sales managers and account executives working in the trenches day after day, the picture is very different.
This is what we hear from our clients, prospects and our friends in the industry. These are the challenges sales team are facing that slow them down, reduce their effectiveness and make achieving quota harder and harder.
When your sales team is also the one that has to update rate cards, or manually manage the discounting structure for your account tiers two things will happen. They won't like doing it, and it will eat into their selling time.
Same goes for when you have your sales team bounce between 5-6 pieces of software, websites and other sources of information to pull together what is a fairly standard, routine quote. And to make sure they are at least 30% less efficient, some teams are then forced to open up several word documents and copy and paste between them, to build a simple quote or proposal that looks half-reasonable.
Most non-sales people who hear about sales think the problem is that you don't have enough leads to work with. Most sales people on the other hand now that findings people to talk to is easy, almost too easy. The problem is finding the time to talk to them all, and follow-up and be there when they need you and your expertise and insights.
And there are only two ways to fix this problem, either make interested people jump through hurdles to contact you for the first time, or (better) have a system and a process that allows you to follow up and nurture leads so that you then have the luxury of selecting who you are able to delivery the most value for and engage with them one on one first.
Perhaps the most important by product of letting leads fall through the cracks is that you never uncover the strategic insights and opportunities that exist, and as a result you may be missing out on significant opportunities.
You can see the transformative effect in organisations when everyone in sales (and other functions) is working off the same page and has access to complete, up to date and accurate information about customers, prospects and leads.
The client experience become better, because people they talk to act as if they know them, instead of as though they are another number in a spreadsheet.
Opening more opportunities is easier because sales team members can pick up conversations where they were last left off even if that was 90 or 120 days ago.
And do not believe for a moment that only massive enterprises need a central system to manage leads, prospects and clients (that is not excel!). If you have more than 3 people in the team, having details tracked and managed in one place will give you superpowers. If you have 30 people relying on the information, your organisation will see new levels of productivity and your CEO will be asking how you did that!