Challenges faced by today's sales force & some solutions
Sales force is the backbone of any business. A strong and effective sales force makes businesses, profitable. That is why businesses, across sectors, spend a good amount of time and money on getting the correct kind of people to join their sales team and train them rigorously, to build efficiency.
In the bygone days, cold calling a prospect, scheduling a meeting with the prospect and closing a sale was the norm and it was effective then. Nowadays, customers are choosy; everything is on the net, they have the ability to research the company, products and even the salespeople; their buying is informed buying until and unless the demand is more than the supply. With so many similar products in the market, competition is very high and only well thought of strategies and a competent sales force can fetch the desired profits and growth for the company.
The ‘Sales Scenario’ has changed
Ever been under a microscope. This exactly describes today’s sales scenario. Today, the Customer RULES. At least 99% of the time but for some niche product. Every product or service is dissected or broken apart through research, comparison, feedback, testimonials, product performance, etc; and all these details one can get from digital platforms. No purchase is a fluke buy. Very rarely. As said before, today’s customer is an informed customer. In truth, most of the sale is done before you even get the first meeting. Today’s consumers thrive on options. It is very much possible that your lead/prospect has already shortlisted two or three options before they have agreed to meet you.
Technology has heavily influenced customer demand and choice. In order to keep up with these behavioral shifts, a business should be well-equipped with the right market, product and consumer knowledge topped with the correct EQ (Emotional Quotient). Only then can businesses connect their products and services with the right customers on their preferred platforms. Also the need of the hour is transparency. Tell it like it is. The only way to survive now is by creating a robust offering of products, services, pricing and after sales support that any consumer cannot resist accepting.
Some challenges faced by the organizations
The Sales Rep hiring process
To begin with, the hiring, training, induction and breakthrough of sales reps take a long time. Even after the whole process, there is no guarantee that all the sales people will turn out good. Added to that, there is a strong chance of them leaving the job mid-way. Research shows that on an average, a new sales representative takes seven to nine months to be fully productive. This creates a strain of the sales process thus hindering the smooth running of the organization and creating too much pressure on sales leaders.
Solution: The best solution to overcome this problem is to integrate systems like CRMs, coaching tools, sales enablement, and content management with a complete end-to-end sales execution strategy. This will help new sales representatives close deals faster and in a professional manner.
Communicating Value to Consumers
As consumers are definitely more informed, the best way would be to be transparent and communicate with them honestly. Traditional selling processes do not work today. Businesses are becoming more creative and innovative in their ways of presenting products and services. With the buying process and platforms having undergone a huge change, there is no space for mistakes. Mistakes can cause huge losses to the business as now consumers don’t shy away from giving feedback, which is read by other prospective buyers. So beware!
Solution: Ensures part of your company’s sales force, you are prepared with even the little details of your offerings as can be, to gain consumer confidence that your offering is what they are looking for. If you, as your company’s product representative, cannot understand your consumers need, taste and preferences then surely your consumer will not buy from you.They have choices. You will have to get into the brain of your consumer. This will only happen when you have studied the market, product and consumption habits and when you follow healthy communication channels with your consumers.
Prospecting good leads
With rising competition, quality leads are becoming harder and harder to prospect. One of the main gripe that sales force have is that, the leads they get from their marketing initiatives are poor quality. What then?
Solution: Farming good leads is an art. Engaging with brands and products is easy for consumers to do, but how do salespeople identify good clients? There is no sure fire way. It takes time and efforts to cultivate and farm good prospects. Sales and marketing teams can align marketing and sales strategies with demand and assist in qualifying quality leads which can then be passed to their sales team. This way there is no chance of wasting time on dull prospects. A solid CRM that can automatically score leads, plug into LinkedIn and other social media channels for prospecting, and create a solid funnel, would be the best bet. These are incredibly the most powerful tools, as the reach and variety of people you could tap is immense.
Constant rejections are part of a sales representative’s journey. The trick is to not be demotivated by any of it and move on to the next, bettering your pitch and presentation with each rejection. It is also true that no matter how much you prepare for it, hearing “no” over and over again can take its toll over a matter of time leading to stress, self-doubt, and burnout. How one deals with it, is a matter of mindset and attitude.
The most important thing here is to motivate your sale representative after these rejections.There are many ways one can deal with or combat rejections. Include these aspects in your sales training process.
Your sales representatives should:
Develop a positive never give-up attitude
Not take rejection personally
Not dwell on what is not but move forward with what will be
Know their sales ratio – what is expected of them
Be goal oriented and closure oriented
Not focus only on one or two leads. Should have a pipeline of several leads
Be ready for queries and hurdles
Adjust to changes in sales scenario – be informed
Get into a ‘trusted advisor’ role so that they can turn rejections into acceptance in future
With such a sales mentality and strategy in place, overcoming modern day’s sales challenges will not seem so challenging and the team will not only be able to retain valuable customers, but will be able to attract new ones, systematically. Stay ahead of the game by using the right technology and approach and soon you will have a self-driven, motivated and result-driven team.