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Do your sales reps struggle to win deals?

It’s no secret that sales reps often act as “double agents” in order to keep the peace between their company and client.

Sales reps traditionally value their relationship with the client and are often annoyed that they have to “push” a client or potential client for the business and often try and avoid any potentially negative interaction.

At the same time sales reps realize their company provides them a paycheck and subsequent commission to close business and know they have to make those painful calls to clients to ask for the business. A frustrating dynamic for everyone.

Our evidence-based sales effectiveness model reveals this dynamic to be based on a fundamentally flawed framework. Sales effectiveness means bringing insights, tying those insights to what you know of your prospects business and helping your prospects, possibly even provoking your prospects, into a new view of their problems. When the sales model and organization is correctly structured sales reps are empowered to bring new ideas and to be disruptive. It’s our job!

Having this sales effectiveness approach embedded in your sales organization brings a new focus to seeing more clearly into phrases often heard by sales people.

According to our research, there are five common objections that B2B Sales Executives typically hear from their sales team during a sales pipeline call:

1. Business is slow
2. Customers just aren’t buying
3. Decisions are constantly being delayed
4. Clients don’t have the budget – cash is tight
5. No one is answering my calls

Currently most sales pipeline update calls create a great deal of angst for all parties concerned. Whether the calls are: weekly, monthly, quarterly, or on an ad hoc basis there is a tremendous amount of “gamesmanship” played by both sides.

The Fraudcast
The Sales Executive understands their sales team’s pain but also feels the heat from other C-Suite executives to provide a realistic and accurate sales forecast. The CSO’s reputation and integrity are on the line with every sales pipeline update delivered to the executive team.
Many organizations we speak with admit their sales pipeline calls consume numerous hours of unproductive time that affects all levels of the organization. We often hear our clients refer to their sales pipeline calls and forecasts as Fraudcasts. We find that there is usually a sizeable Reality Gapbetween what is forecasted and what is actually committed.

There are numerous models and tactical toolsets available (beyond CRM) to help companies increase their sales effectiveness. According to a recent CSO Insights survey over 47% of forecasted enterprise sales opportunities never close. CSOs need to really analyze their sales pipeline and in most cases need to reduce the pipeline to only include realistic closable business.

Simple Approach – Sales Effectiveness
We advocate a simple 2-fold approach to increasing Sales Effectiveness. Firstly use a selected set of proven sales effectiveness tools and work closely with the sales team AND secondly create a repeatable sales effectiveness process so CSOs can spend more time coaching versus chasing bogus spreadsheets.

The sales effectiveness process we advocate helps the CSO uncover the true answers to the typical generic “deal delays” outlined above. Sales effectiveness process combined with a robust pipeline and forecast methodology and 1:1 coaching will reduce the number of deal stalls CSOs hear from their sales team.

CSOs and sales reps can leave the forecast espionage to Ian Fleming and James Bond. Quality interaction and coaching between sales management and sales reps will increase the veracity of the sales forecast and save thousands of unproductive person hours in updating forecast pipeline spreadsheets at every level of the organization.

Gary Collins