Sales is one of the main goals of any business. This goal is intertwined with business objectives like increasing revenue, net profits, customer retention, and business growth and development. All of these have made it inevitable for salespeople to be put under lots of pressure as well as workplace stress.
In the midst of all these responsibilities and expectations, what businesses, as well as managers, often forget are the reasons behind why salespeople fail and how they can help them to succeed. They are a team, after all, and the success of one would be the success of all.
This article will take you through several reasons why salespeople fail and how you can help them to succeed.
Why do Salespeople Fail?
Your sales team is the engine of your business, which, in dealing with leads and sales prospects, can drive cash flow, account receivables, gross profits, increased sales, increased customer loyalty, and, therefore, success for your business.
However, for your sales team to function effectively, it needs to be maintained and looked after. As the sales manager appointed by the business owner, it is your job to monitor sales and make sure that your sales team is meeting their targets. While your job seems super easy when the targets are met, it becomes extra challenging when they are not met.
This makes it important for you to understand why salespeople fail because only after you have understood the why would you be able to help them succeed.
One of the reasons why salespeople fail is because he or she is new employee. New employees are the biggest challenge to a sales manager. While initially, they do not lack motivation, their failure continues to be unavoidable because they are in a new job that will take them some time to learn and adapt to and then reach the same levels as other salespeople.
The reason behind why salespeople fail is two-pronged because not only it ends up affecting the morale and confidence of the employees themselves, but it also affects the overall performance of the sales team. As a manager hence, it is your responsibility to help the new starter come up to speed quickly while being sure of their ability to hit targets in the future.
The Inconsistent Seller
This is one of the common problems that every sales manager faces. Inconsistent sellers are one of the reasons why salespeople fail, which results in you being unable to forecast your sales. Such sellers are those that meet their sales targets for a month or two but then drop their performance from the next cycle. The whole brunt of such an inconsistency is faced by the other sales team members- who then have to work extra hard to cover up for the slack and meet the team’s target.
As a sales team manager, you will have to motivate your sales team as well as that salesperson. By giving them a guiding hand, you will be ensuring that you get the results you want in each and every sales period.
A flatliner is one who has been performing well consistently over an extended period of time but not great. This is another of the complicated reasons why salespeople fail that you would have to deal with. In such a scenario, the flatliners would be under the impression that they are doing fine because they are getting so close to their sales targets.
What they fail to realize is that mediocrity is nowhere the same as sustainable success. You will hence have to explain to them how sales targets are given as the bare minimum, and it is always preferable that they do more rather than remaining stagnant. You will also have to find a way to encourage and speed up their growth.
Over-investment in an Unqualified Opportunity
Whether it is about your product and services or about your leads- the one universal rule that is always applicable is quality over quantity. This highlights the importance of lead qualification so that your salesperson can identify a good lead or a poor lead.
In case if your salesperson does not qualify leads, they will end up spending too much time on unqualified leads and hence fail with little to no returns on investment, no deals being closed, and the sales cycle’s time being increased. Thus, for your salespeople to stop failing, they should go through all the data from sales reporting and, based on it, determine how much they should invest in their leads.
Poor Time Management
One of the other reasons why salespeople fail is poor time management. Your salesperson should be able to balance his time between researching the quality of the leads, making calls, taking sales prospects down the sales pipeline, and even doing sales presentations with a sales pitch.
When looking deeper into time management, your salesperson should also be able to do so effectively while, for example- they are on a call. See what they are talking about- the features of your product or service or the benefits that those features provide to your prospect. Because if they are talking more about the benefits from the features, then they are doing it right.
When it comes to why salespeople fail- one of the most obvious answers is lack of motivation. However, the motivation here is not only in reference to the salesperson’s personal motivation but also refers to the motivation of the entire sales team as well as how you are motivating them.
The types of sales team meetings you hold, the sales movies that you watch with them, the motivational sales quotes that you share with each other, competition sales that you hold, and many more is what can motivate them. It is only when you motivate them, will they be able to motivate the sales prospects and close the deal.
Stagnation of skills is one of the other reasons why salespeople fail. Salespeople should consider themselves as students who are constantly learning new sales administrator tactics to close deals faster, constantly sharpening their soft skills for excellent salesmanship, adding words to build a powerful sales vocabulary, and constantly evaluating the chosen sales methodology to assess whether it is a right one, or does it require changes to be made.
All of this will help your sales team and you to take advantage of the room that was left for improvement and get benefits from the same, hence securing future results as well.
If your salesperson is not result-oriented, it becomes one of the other main reasons why salespeople fail. This is because by not being result-oriented, a disconnect is caused between their actions and the goals that they are supposed to achieve.
If, while managing your sales team and motivating your sales team, you can also teach them to connect the dots of all that they do, they would start taking responsibility for their actions and be able to move the sales prospects down the sales funnel.
Additionally, by being result-oriented, they would also be able to overcome call reluctance, better the quality of their sales promotion, avoid unnecessarily long emails and even less meaningful or useless calls. These contribute to under-performing sales, and when they are result-oriented, they would also know what to avoid in order to achieve their results.
In today’s day, where technology and digitization have changed the way everything is done and preferred, if your salesperson is technology averse, it becomes the reason behind why salespeople fail. Such salespeople have lower productivity and efficiency than those who leverage technology in their sales process. Chances are, such technology averse salespeople might even lead to an increase in operating expenses and account payable.
How to Help Your Salespeople Succeed?
Successful closing of deals is an art that involves removing all the reasons behind why salespeople fail, having an in-depth understanding of the buyer persona, customer’s gain and pain points and how the product or service that you are offering will solve their problems and even knowing how you can improve customer retention.
Once you have identified all the problems faced by your sales team, you should tackle them at individual levels so that it would then lead to a cumulative effect of multiplying the success of your sales team. To do so, these tips would help:
Having a Defined Sales Process
The benefits of having a defined sales process along with a well-researched sales strategy would have larger chances of converting your prospects into customers. In sales, every situation and customer requires a unique approach, but irrespective of this, the general outline of your sales process would continue to be the same. This process would start with prospecting and qualifying leads and ends with closing the deal, nurturing customer relationships so as to encourage returning customers, and promise proactive customer service.
You would also need to show your team how to keep filling their sales pipeline while closing deals at the same time. While it would be tempting to set up a commission to meet your monthly target, then build the foundation to hit the target in each sales cycle- it is your job to set the expectation that consistent, a repeat performance is more important than just meeting the sales targets and crossing it once out of three months.
Conducting Frequent Training Sessions
Training is something that should start the moment an employee joins your sales team. It should become a regular part of your employee development program. Such training sessions are the best way to combat all the reasons leading to why salespeople fail. You should begin with a solid induction and then an on-boarding session for the new recruits.
During this, you should familiarize them with your sales process and even give them an in-depth knowledge of the product or services that your organization offers. After this, you should also tell them what gives an edge against your competitors and how to handle objections, cold calls, and doubts. The new recruits should also be teamed up with an experienced salesperson who would teach them all the ropes of sales, like, for instance, give them phone sales tips.
In addition to having training sessions for the new recruits, you should conduct regular training courses and strategy workshops for your entire sales team. These sessions would give you compounded returns on investment over a period of time by helping your team refresh their knowledge, add on to their skills, brush up on their communication skills, psychology of selling, understanding of buyer personas, and so on.
Periodically Conducting Individual Reviews
When periodically conducting individual reviews, you would be sitting with your salesperson, knowing their difficulties, if applicable, even find out why salespeople are failing, help to find the solution for the same, evaluate the sales pipeline that they are following, and even asking them for the training that they need in order to perform better.
During individual reviews, you would even be able to gauge how well and how much of the sales tools are being used by your sales team. This is important to know because sales tools like CRM software are designed to make their work easier, faster, more automated, and efficient. They would also spare the time as well as the focus for closing more deals.
One of the other advantages of this is that by reviewing and discussing with your salespeople, you would also be able to help them identify what they are good at, which creative approach of theirs is worth carrying forward, and how they can best develop their own sales technique in line with your organization and the values you want to uphold.
You can even teach proven sales methodologies that can give them a head start. Lastly, during such reviews, you should have different metrics like your financial KPIs, ACV, and ARR, and visual pipelines to support your suggestions and review.
Providing Actionable Feedback
After conducting reviews, it is important to provide feedback that is constructive and can be worked upon. Through these feedbacks, even give them clear targets and goals to achieve which are not monetary based. Additionally, also ask them to achieve sales pipeline milestones within a specific time frame so as to ignite their competitive streak and, therefore, their motivation.
When giving feedback, also make sure that they involve around the value creation that your sales team should provide to the prospects at every step of the sales process. This is because it is the value creation provided which would convince your customers to make the purchase.
Providing Positive Reinforcement
A motivated, dedicated, and focused sales team is a boon for your business. To have one, you will need to make constant efforts to give them an environment to thrive. Such an environment would recognize the efforts of its sales team and even have monetary rewards in place.
Keeping Them Motivated
One of the other reasons why salespeople fail is a lack of motivation to carry out their job. Jobs tend to be emotionally testing, physically tiring, and mentally demanding. When you have the pressure of a sales target to meet, this increases manifold.
To keep them motivated in such an environment would require you to be empathetic and creative. This way, you would be able to organize healthy competition sales, sales incentives, training and development sessions, and informal events that can bring your sales team closer together.
However, in the case of new recruits, to ensure that their motivation does not face the brunt when they are unable to close the deals the first few sales cycles, you can consider creating an introductory period without a sales target. In this period, you should set up learning and activity milestones that will divide their jobs into smaller, more attainable chunks.
The sense of achievement that they gain from these smaller targets will keep your new recruit motivated and even help them make sales. It even makes them clear on how to undertake all the basic activities that are required to be performed as part of the sales cycle.
In the case of inconsistent sellers, they are driven by motivation beyond pure commission. In this case, you will have to find out what will motivate them- so that you can use those specific little rewards and incentives to motivate the inconsistent seller and trigger their lasting performance.
This could be in the form of public praise if they are ego-driven, a day or 2 of paid leave if they meet their targets continuously for three months, or if they are attached to money- then setting up a generous bonus system for when they meet their targets. However, you would have to take care that you do not end up giving an extra incentive to inconsistent performers as this would break the morale and motivation of your consistent and reliable salespeople.
Different salespeople do respond to different incentives, but your team deserves the same level of reward. It is your job that you maintain this equality even while boosting the morale and motivation of your sales team to get consistent performance for longer periods of time.
Giving Them More Responsibility
One of the ways to ensure consistent performance from your sales team is by giving them more responsibilities. This is especially true in the case of flatliner performers. A flatliner can be given the role of mentor-ship to the new hire. This would motivate them, reignite their spark and make them strive to achieve so as to put forward a stellar performance standard in front of their pupil.
This would also increase the job satisfaction of the mentor as they would feel that the company values him or her. Another added benefit would be that they would get a break from the job that they were doing for a long time- on returning to which, they would now be rejuvenated.
Giving Them Better Leads
It is quite likely that in your sales team, you end up forgetting flatliners who have consistently delivered decent results. The majority of your attention goes to the poor performers and the star performers, with the star performers getting all the best leads, hence also reinforcing their position again and again.
This would mean that the problem is with your management rather than with the flatliner’s actual performance. To correct it, you should assign the stronger leads to the flatliners as well. They can then make use of the MEDDIC sales process to then plan their next steps and improve their performance.
How Can Deskera Help Your Business with Sales?
Deskera is an all-in-one software that is dedicated to attending to all your business needs. When it comes to sales, Deskera has two main software that you should definitely have. The first one is Deskera CRM which is an easy-to-use software that facilitates contact and deals management, customization of the sales pipeline, automating email marketing campaigns, and customer support, to mention a few of its utility features.
It helps in managing sales and support from the same platform while also allowing you to track the performance of your marketing efforts like performance marketing, social media marketing, and content marketing through detailed analytics on open rates and click-through rates, along with other relevant metrics.
You can also view open and won deal statistics, deal status by team members, and activity reminders right there on its dashboard. It lets you view all your activities in a calendar view so that you can plan your day efficiently and increase the productivity of your sales team.
When it comes to Deskera CRM+, it is one of its kind software as it is the world’s first growth CRM software. Deskera CRM+ helps in building funnels that would convert visitors to leads to paying customers. You can either select any one of the high conversion funnel templates or create your own from scratch. It will also automate follow-ups.
It will also help in creating beautiful landing pages that would be conversion-optimized, along with CTA buttons and forms to be filled. The landing pages created would automatically be optimized for tablet and phone viewing. You would also be able to build lead magnets, product pages, registration pages, and opt-in pages to give your marketing the boost it needs.
Deskera CRM+ will also segment the leads from the forms, based on which form they came from. This will help you to design their personalized marketing campaign accordingly. You can even split a segment into two parts if you want to run A/B testing on the same. This would help you figure out the type of marketing campaign that would work the best for each segment.
Having such CRM software will free your sales team from doing repetitive tasks and help them focus on sales- their strong point.
Why salespeople fail has several reasons- some being their own individual reasons, others being managerial deficiency reasons, and then some that come from the customer’s side. Some of these reasons are:
- New Employee
- The Inconsistent Seller
- The Flatliner
- Over-Investment in an Unqualified Opportunity
- Poor Time Management
- Personal Motivation
- Stagnant Skills
- Not Result-Oriented
- Technology Averse
But, as a sales manager, you should be able to solve all these reasons because only then would you be able to achieve your goals and further your company. In order to do so, you should take a modern approach where you support your employees organizationally as well as emotionally. This approach is much better than the one where you only fire your salespeople and then worry.
Under this approach, you would be investing in your people, trusting them, coaching them, knowing their strengths and weaknesses, and helping them make the most of their abilities. When demotivated, you would motivate them through sales movies, motivational sales quotes, sales books, competitions, incentives, and getaways. Some of the ways in which you can help your salespeople succeed are:
- Having a Defined Sales Process
- Conducting Frequent Training Sessions
- Periodically Conducting Individual Reviews
- Providing Actionable Feedback
- Providing Positive Reinforcement
- Keeping Them Motivated
- Giving Them More Responsibility
- Giving Them Better Leads
This will show that you care about them as individuals and not just about your targets and KPIs. The benefit of this would be that they would be more invested in achieving your objectives, hence building a successful sales team. Work together with your sales team and your sales tools like Deskera CRM and Deskera CRM+, and you would have a set framework for smooth functioning.