Research: Current Sales Performance Challenges Faced by Industry Leaders

Sales Performance Research Center - Featured Research Post

This post comes from Michelle Richardson, Vice President for Sales Performance Research at the Sales Performance Research Center. 

The Brooks Group is proud to announce the launch of the Sales Performance Research Center.

We developed the research center to provide organizational leaders with the ability to make informed decisions on sales strategy and talent management.  Our goal is to distill the large amount of information available regarding the ever-shifting sales marketplace into an easy-to-consume format.

By subscribing to the Sales Performance Research Center, you can expect unbiased research results and marketplace trends that will assist you in making the decisions that lead to the greatest impact for your organization.

Subscribe here and look forward to upcoming research findings. And for now, check out the results from our most recent survey below.

Research: Current Sales Performance Challenges

The goal of our most recent survey was to gauge the current state of sales performance and sales challenges among the group of participants we polled. The respondents consisted in majority of sales leaders and sales managers, with various other vital roles weighing in as well.

Research: Current Sales Performance Challenges

When asked about the biggest obstacles in their role, the category of “Underperforming Sales Staff” was listed by 29% of respondents, followed closely by “Hiring/Lack of Qualified Sales Talent.”

The findings indicate a need for sales enablement interventions as well as a focus on talent strategy and employee branding.

If you feel that the growth of your business is being held back by your sales team’s inability to perform, you’re not alone. It can be extremely helpful to deploy diagnostic tools to assess the current state of your sales team and develop targeted interventions that lead to the biggest impact. 

Research: Current Sales Performance Challenges

Several common themes surfaced when we asked survey participants about current trends that may affect the future of their sales organizations.

Global uncertainty and the customer hesitancy it creates was ranked among the top, along with the need for consultative selling over transactional selling.

Additional responses were reported in the following areas:

  • Tariffs and interest rates
  • Technological advances, including the rise of AI
  • Pricing pressure
  • Increased competition, included ecommerce as a competitor
  • Higher client expectations
  • Vendor consolidation
  • Lack of qualified sales candidates

Market volatility requires an agile sales force capable of shifting direction and adapting as needed. When bracing for the unknown, your best insurance is to have a team of skilled sellers who can differentiate your organization from the competition.

Research: Current Sales Performance Challenges

The top challenge facing sales teams included in our survey is customer relationship skills. Responses included in this category ranged throughout every stage of the selling process – from meeting and establishing trust with buyers, to maintaining a consultative approach, to managing customer experience, and building strong relationships post-sale.

This challenge illuminates the need for sellers to move away from a self-focused approach to a customer-focused approach that leads with the buyer’s wants, needs and preferences. Sellers must have the skills to adapt their communication style to match that of the buyer’s, and the ability to consult and provide value to the buyer during every step of the process.

Additional top ranked challenges include prospecting skills and planning and time management skills. Both of these challenge areas and the others that were ranked can be addressed effectively with targeted skills training and a front-loaded sales process.

Conclusion

The challenges faced by your sales team are likely not unique to your organization. Many sales organizations are faced with similar obstacles that fortunately have solutions that are within reach.

The first step in overcoming your challenges is understanding exactly what they are and why they’re manifesting in a particular way. This is where a diagnostics tool can be extremely helpful.

Identify the root causes of your team’s greatest performance issues, and you will be prepared to attack them with greater precision and success.

 

WRITTEN BY

Michelle Richardson

Michelle Richardson is the Vice President for Sales Performance Research. In her role, she is responsible for spearheading industry research initiatives, overseeing consulting and diagnostic services, and facilitating ROI measurement processes with partnering organizations. Michelle brings over 25 years of experience in sales and sales effectiveness functions through previously held roles in curriculum design, training implementation, and product development to the Sales Performance Research Center.

Published on August 08, 2019

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