The success of your small business depends on how well your sales team can sell your products or services despite variables such as pricing, features, and market disruptions. If your team’s consistently failing to hit their targets, it could be because of one of these reasons:

  • Lack of preparedness: Forty percent of sales reps don’t feel prepared for their calls, while 82 percent of B2B decision-makers think sales reps are unprepared.
  • Failure to communicate well with potential buyers: Eighty-five percent of potential customers are dissatisfied with their experience over the phone.
  • Inability to target the right prospect: Sales reps can spend up to 40 percent of their time looking for somebody to call.

Small businesses can tackle these challenges head on by strategically using sales management software to increase preparedness and improve sales training and targeted prospecting.

Failing to leverage sales management tools will result in a closing rate of just 1 in 5 qualified leads with only a 25 percent chance at exceeding sales quotas.

This article will look at three key sales challenges and ways you can overcome them using sales software.

3 Key Challenges for Salespeople

Chart: 3 Key Challenges for Salespeople

Challenge 1: Lack of a targeted prospecting strategy

Stats show that 50 percent of prospects aren’t a good fit for what salespeople set out to sell in the first place. This means that:

  • Sales teams are wasting time sending mass emails and cold calling random prospects, creating a poor experience for prospects by failing to deliver relevant communication and value.
  • Sales reps are wasting time by approaching random strangers who may not even be a good fit for the product.

Sales teams need a targeted prospecting strategy to improve their productivity, save time, and increase their chances to convert leads.

How sales management software can help you create a targeted prospecting strategy

About 42 percent of salespeople say prospecting is the most challenging part of their job. Here’s how sales software can help you create an effective targeted prospecting strategy:

Analyze your existing customers. Talking to the right person is vital to creating a targeted prospecting strategy.

Sales management software offers features, such as sales data and intelligence, which help salespeople capture data on existing customers. Insights about which leads converted in the past help salespeople target similar prospects.

Predictive lead scoring features remove unlikely prospects and identify those who could actually convert into customers.

Be better prepared. Forty-four percent of buyers want to know “how similar organizations have used the product successfully” in the first sales call. Thirty-seven percent want to talk about why their specific company should go through with the purchase.

Increasingly, buyers are looking for customized advice from salespeople and a list of the product’s benefits.

Sales management software offers file sharing, syncing, asset management, and team messaging features. These help sales teams collaborate, ideate, and innovate to quickly gather relevant information for more informed and targeted pitches.

Target your communication. Only 24 percent of sales emails are opened and 85 percent of customers aren’t satisfied with sales calls. This means that sales reps aren’t offering valuable or relevant information.

That’s why you need to collaborate with the customer engagement department to dig deeper into why customers are satisfied or not. Understanding their painpoints will help you craft targeted communication and provide value with each interaction.

To further improve communications, centralize information from different departments in one place. Upload and share documents, presentations, spreadsheets, etc., in your sales management software so everyone has access and your sales reps can save time compiling relevant literature.

Track prospects over time to convert them into leads. Identify trigger events such as relocation, scaling up the business, and dissatisfaction with a product to know when customers are most likely to make a purchase.

Use the email tracking feature to track opened and clicked emails and to send timely follow-ups soon after an email is opened. Monitor online social network activity, such as customers’ likes, dislikes, shares, comments, reviews, and mentions, to make your message timely and relevant to them.

Takeaway: Prospecting is hard. But, you must continue to prospect before and after sales to ensure you’re targeting the right person using the right information at all times. This will help you identify opportunities to cross-sell and upsell because you’ll know when the customer is ready to make their next purchase.

Challenge 2: Getting customers to think beyond price

A recent survey found that one-third of salespeople are competing against low-cost providers. Your reps are competing with cheaper alternatives of your products and services, struggling to maintain their advantage in the market.

With almost 50 percent of deals being lost due to the customer’s budget, it’s important to train salespeople well on the following aspects:

  • Ability to defend a premium price. Your leadership understands what goes into making a decision, so they should be involved in training the sales team in preparing a convincing pitch that includes explaining your pricing when necessary.
  • Using the right hook for selling. Avoid selling from the standpoint of price alone. Instead, explain how you can provide value to the prospect through your product.

How sales management software can help you provide better value

Gaining the trust of the lead or prospect is one of the only ways you’ll get through to them. Here are some ways you can strategically use sales software to prepare your sales team for the price wars:

Don’t underestimate non-traditional competitors. Start by getting to know the ecosystem. Do a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat) analysis of the non-traditional, disruptive, low-cost, but promising competitors to know what value they offer. Use the automated workflow and pipeline management features to make this step an important part of your sales process.

Get notified about steps in the workflow that are due and overdue with a deal or contact. Send these reminders directly to your mobile device or mail inbox.

Customize sales copy to provide value. Keep improving your sales copy based on your clients’ current and future goals. Persuade them to try upcoming features and services, which may be more effective than trying to beat your competition in an all-out price war.

Break down the cost of your product for your customers and discuss the potential return on investment (ROI) with them through successful case studies. Arrange a customer reference call or send an email to negotiate with them.

With sales management software, you can record notes and attach them to a contact to share actionable items, important customer information, and minutes from sales meetings with your team. This centrally located information can be used to customize and improve sales copy.

Takeaway: Have your organization’s decision-makers mentor salespeople so that they can fully explain your pricing. Remember, they should sell “value,” not focus on pricing alone.

Challenge 3: Understanding the buyer’s decision-making process

Twenty-two percent of sales professionals said that understanding the buyer’s decision-making process is a top challenge. Some of the factors contributing to this challenge are:

  • Inability to understand the structure of the buyer’s organization.
  • Inability to navigate decision-makers and influencers within the organization at different steps of the buying process. This happens when sales professionals lack knowledge and understanding of buyers.

How sales management software can help you influence your buyers’ decision-making processes

Gartner says that sales leaders need to understand their customers’ purchasing behaviors better, including knowing where and how they can “influence the decision-making process.”

Here are a few strategic ways to influence a buyer’s decision-making process to close deals more efficiently:

Decode and prepare for the decision-making process. The decision-making process typically involves three stages. This is what you should do to guide your buyer through to the final stage:

Chart: Three steps for sales

Ninety-five percent of customers choose solution providers that offer content at every stage of the buying process. Use the lead management feature to share best practices and relevant documents to help fellow salespeople through these stages.

Track marketing campaigns to understand the impact on the sales pipeline and buyer’s decision-making, then improve your sales copy accordingly. Use visual account planning and visual buyer map features to automatically create charts that map out influencers in a sale.

Nurture leads and follow up with them. Prospects don’t always convert in the first few interactions, and organizational hierarchy can sometimes delay the final decision. A survey found that 80 percent of sales require five follow-ups after the initial contact. However, 44 percent of salespeople give up after just one follow-up.

To counter this, stay consistent in your interactions. Use the automatic lead scoring and routing features to ensure leads never get lost and that sales reps are able to convert them when they’re hot. Sales management software also tracks, updates, and stores all interactions between salespeople and contacts (leads) in real time to help nurture leads.

Leverage social selling. Social media can help you communicate with and influence prospects and customers. Seventy-three percent of salespeople who integrate social selling into their process outperform competitors and exceed their quotas by 23 percent. They’re also 79 percent more likely to hit their sales goals.

Train your salespeople to use social selling tools and contact management software to track what contacts are posting on social media. These tools can provide the next best actions or responses to these posts that will increase interaction with your brand or improve the customer experience.

Takeaway: A buyer’s journey never ends, so following up is the key. Nurturing and assisting a buyer until they become a repeat customer is crucial to a successful sales process. Also remember, customers are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend.

Next steps to help you choose the right sales software

Here’re some considerations to make before you purchase sales software:

Chart: How to choose sales management software