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The 4 biggest challenges facing sales

Article provided by Sales Guru

When training and coaching salespeople, I always highlight four key areas. If you’re lacking in one of these areas, you are never going to reach your true sales potential. This remains true, regardless of the impact of COVID-19.

#1 Sales results against the target

Let’s cut to the chase. Your sales target is not your goal. Your sales target is your company’s minimum expectation of you; the reason they hired you in the role. The end result of anything in sales by which we measure our success and how many people or companies we are helping, is the scoreboard – your results against the target.

#2 The pipeline

Are you in a drought or is your sales pipeline full? The health of your sales pipeline is the lifeline to your sales results. Too often pipelines are optimistic and exaggerated at best. I recommend being brutally honest and disqualifying anything in your pipeline if you cannot put a yes against all of the following:

  • Do I understand the current situation?
  • Do I understand clearly what they are looking to resolve or achieve and why?
  • Do I have clarity from my prospect on the value to them in achieving their objectives?
  • Do I understand their sense of urgency to achieve or resolve their objectives?
  • Do I understand if they can afford what we are offering (i.e. budget)?
  • Do I understand their decision-making process and timelines?
  • Do they want my help?

Consider these and then ask yourself again: Do I have a strong sales pipeline or am I feeling the pressure of a pipeline drought?

#3 Qualified meetings

The main reason behind a poor sales pipeline is that you are not seeing enough qualified people that you can help and will buy from you.

Here’s a quick exercise: Look back at the past four weeks: how many new sales meetings should you have set up? How many did you actually set up? What’s your shortfall?

Now look at the upcoming two weeks: How many meetings should you have in your diary? How many do you actually have?

#4 Prospecting

The cause more often than not for insufficient new meetings is a lack of consistent daily prospecting activity. The word “prospecting” is associated with the gold rush when people around the world rushed to goldfields in the hope of finding wealth. The first prospecting tool was a pan. The men would get down and sift the river sand looking for gold – not just once or twice, but from sunrise to sunset. Why? Because the potential personal reward was worth all the effort.

It continues to baffle me as to how low the general daily prospecting activity is and how little time salespeople put aside to do what should be their number one non-negotiable activity. Are you committed to a daily prospecting activity to achieve your end results? How much time should you be dedicating to prospecting daily to fill your calendar, pipeline and to achieving great results?

My checklist for sales success:

  1. My sales results against target for the last three months.
  2. My qualified sales pipeline for the next three months: what it should be and what it is.
  3. New qualified sales meetings for the last four weeks booked and seen: what it should have been and what it was.
  4. New qualified sales meetings booked for the next two2 weeks: what it should be and what it is.
  5. Have I done enough daily prospecting activity for the past four weeks – what is my standard?
  6. Companies or people on my prospect list: how many should I have weekly and how many do I have?
  7. Minimal acceptable standards for all of the above.

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