CSO Insights released their 2014 Sales Performance Optimization report. Their intention is to highlight key sales problems so companies can improve sales performance. The results match up clearly with the symptoms of sales problems I have been sharing for years. Yes, you read that right: symptoms. The report and other analyzers are referring to these issues as "problems", but they are incorrect. These are symptoms that cover up the problems! Let's review them:
Five Key Symptoms the CSO Insights Report Highlights to Improve Sales Performance
Here are the five top barriers to sales revealed by the report:
- "salespeople aren’t getting enough qualified leads,
- are having significant difficulty in effectively conducting needs analysis to qualify opportunities,
- are not able to effectively identify and access decision makers,
- are struggling with competitive differentiation,
- in a sales cycle that has lengthened, with more decision-makers involved."
These are NOT problems--they are symptoms! Look what you find with a little digging:
- salespeople don't know how to prospect
- salespeople don't know how to qualify
- salespeople don't know how to reach decision makers
- salespeople don't know how to start conversations effectively, or position themselves
- salespeople don't know how to identify all the stakeholders in a decsion, the buyer's decision making process, and/or meet the individual needs of the key decision maker plus all the stakeholders.
Those are problems! Resolving them would massively improve sales performance. Yet most organizations and most salespeople wish to ignore them. It's easier to complain that the leads are weak, or it's Marketing's fault, or the buyers are too mercurial. The fact is most sales processes, if the company even has one, are ineffective. And if you don't have a sales process you have no idea where you and the prospect are, or why an opportunity died.
The responsibility for the effectiveness of a sales process comes right down to you. The salesperson. YOU are responsible for finding and doing the behaviors to improve sales performance.
In my training programs, I teach salespeople how to consistently and effectively overcome every single one of those problems listed above. You can concern yourself with dubious metrics like "social reach", or you can concentrate on prospecting, qualifying and closing. Which would you rather be doing?
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