Sales leaders eat, breathe and sleep results. When the team is hitting its targets, all is well in the world. But this isn’t always the case. In fact, in a survey by Salesforce, 57 percent of sales reps said they expected to miss their quotas in 2018.
Slumps happen, and when they do, leaders rush to hit the panic button in an effort to turn things around. Sometimes, all it takes is a few tweaks. Other times, it requires a greater effort.
Here are three challenges that many sales teams face. If your team faces them, the right sales training can have a huge impact and help your team beat quota this year.
1. Too Much Discounting
Many sellers are uncomfortable talking about money. They might undervalue your offerings; think the price is too high; and have a hard time making the value case to themselves, never mind to buyers. As soon as a buyer brings up pricing, the seller caves and start discounting. They give away the farm just to get a sale.
Even if sellers could make the value case, buyers are trained to get sellers to cave. Here are a few examples of common negotiation techniques buyers use:
- “We can’t spend more than $250,000.”
- “If we can meet in the middle, we have a deal.”
- “Your price is too high.”
The best sellers don’t cave. They seek to understand why the buyer pushed back. If they need to, they can defend the price by communicating value. If they need to change the price, they explore new possibilities, change scope or offer trades that make good business sense. They don’t jump to discounting when a buyer asks for a lower price.
When sellers discount, it impacts not only their individual sales goals but also the organization’s. It also signals to buyers that they’ll discount again in the future – not a habit you want to develop in your buyers. If your sellers are discounting too often, it may be time to teach them how to negotiate. This training is crucial if you want them to win sales at favorable pricing.
2. Not Consistently Winning Important Sales
Imagine you ask one of your sellers to present their plan to win their most important sale. Do they impress you? Most freeze like a dear in the headlights. In fact, RAIN Group recently polled several hundred webinar attendees to find out, if they asked 100 of their sellers to present their plan to win their biggest sale, how many would present an impressive plan. The lowest possible answer was 20 percent or fewer. Nearly 63 percent chose this answer. Only 14 percent of respondents reported that 30 percent or more of their sellers would present an impressive plan to win.
Your sellers need to take a proactive approach and make opportunity planning a top priority. Sellers who win plan to win from the start. The RAIN Group Center for Sales Research recently studied the effects of sales opportunity management process and win rate. The upshot of this research? The better sellers are at planning for sales opportunities, the higher the win rate.
If sellers are to win – and win big and often – they need a plan. Look for a training provider who can teach your sellers how to develop strategies that will allow them to consistently land their most important sales.
3. Sales Conversations That Make You Cringe
After downloading a white paper recently, I received a call from a seller who jumped right to the impact his service would have for our company. I had two problems with this approach: First, he didn’t even know if we were experiencing this problem, but he had a solution for us. Second, it’s not how you start or lead a sales conversation.
The seller failed to build rapport or any type of connection with me. He didn’t view my LinkedIn profile to see if we had any mutual connections (we had three) or if we had anything in common to help build a relationship and trust. He didn’t ask questions to understand what’s happening at our company. He assumed we experienced the same pains as other companies in our space and jumped straight to the impact.
The conversation didn’t last long.
If your sellers are missing important elements in their sales conversations, it’s impacting their sales success and your ability to reach team quota. Sales are won and lost based on the conversations sellers have with buyers. Make sure your buyers have a consistent and positive experience (and then buy something) by giving your sellers the training they need to lead great sales conversations.
If any three of these situations sound familiar, it’s time to consider sales training for your team. Making improvements in any of these areas can help you grow sales and margins and hit your targets.