You might be all too aware of the problems that plague your sales department. If training and development, or lead quality and quantity come to mind, you’re not alone. But what about issues with your selling process and the sales tools that support it?
For the fourth year running, Inside Sales has asked sales representatives and managers what issues they feel are most prevalent in the sales industry.
In Insider Sales and AA-ISP’s latest research paper, “Top Sales Challenges of the Inside Sales Industry 2016”, the biggest challenges faced by sales managers were:
– Training and development.
– Quantity and quality of leads.
– Recruiting and hiring.
– Tools and technologies.
Training and development has been at the forefront of sales leaders’ minds, taking out the top spot for the last three years.
For sales reps however, the results vary slightly. Although they recognised lead quantity and quality as their top issue, rules and procedures ranked second, followed by training and development, then career advancement, and lastly, coaching.
What’s interesting about this report is that for the first time sales representatives described rules and procedures as the second most pressing issue. While it’s not clear from the research what problems sales reps had with processes, it did suggest a link between sales procedures the advancement of technology, saying:
“With so much technology and structure being introduced into the inside sales space, for the first time rules and procedures emerged as the second biggest challenge for reps.”
But hang on just a minute. Shouldn’t the development of technology be helping the sales process, not hindering a sales rep’s ability to close deals? Well, according to Salesforce’s 2016 research report, “Second Annual State of Sales”, teams were starting to adopt new sales tools and technologies, but overlooked their sales processes. The routine sales process still involved old-fashioned sales management technology, too much admin activities, and fragmented customer information. Of the sales teams who stated poor in-house processes as their biggest sales challenge, 45 per cent of them blamed too much admin work. This is not surprising when sales representatives also reported spending 64 per cent of their time on tasks which didn’t actually involve selling.
So what’s the solution? Salesforces’ report pointed to automation as a way to eliminate manual data entry, decrease human error, and improve processes. We have also highlighted how sales departments can use sales tools and cloud technology to automate their sales processes. By doing so, firms can unlock data to gain insight into the sales funnel, close deals faster, and spend less time on paperwork.
Despite the fact that sales technology has been advancing in leaps and bounds, the majority of sales teams fail to optimise their core sales process, and sales reps are feeling the pain. It might be time to take a look at your sales tools and process. Does your technology automate processes, eliminate manual paperwork, and empower sales representatives?
For more news and insider tips on how you can use technology to improve your sales processes, check out our homepage or sign up to our newsletter.
What sales challenges does your team face? Comment below.