Consider this scenario: The first physical meeting with a new customer has been scheduled. To prepare, the account manager invited a colleague from solution sales and an industry expert. A few emails were exchanged and they finally meet for the first time in the customer’s lobby. A quick discussion ensued on who is saying what. All three had a story to tell, but these stories were neither well aligned nor tailored to the customer’s context and concepts. The sales team talked about products and services without having a real conversation with the customer about their issues. Did they provide a winning perspective for the customer? Probably not.
This is just one example of what can get in the way of sales success. There are different inhibitors to sales success in different organizations and in different industries, depending on what and how you sell, and how radically the customers’ expectations changed from buying products to achieving measurable business outcomes. There are several different perspectives that come into play when looking at this issue, but one statement is true without any doubt: It’s never just one inhibitor that stands in the way of sales success.
In our 2013 Sales Performance and Sales Productivity Study, the biggest inhibitors to sales success were:
- Communicating value messages and competition – 22%
- Pricing – 22%
- Challenge of a complex buying requirements with – 19%
- Inability to attract new clients – 15%
These four inhibitors covered 78 percent of the inhibitor space.
All four are closely connected to each other. If sales professionals are not able to communicate the right value messages to prospects and clients at the right time during the customer’s journey and to the right buyer roles, the other inhibitors are logical consequences.
Value messaging goes south when there is no dynamic messaging framework in place that helps people to tailor messages to the different stages along the customer’s journey and to different buyer roles. When that happens, sales professionals are more likely to find themselves in a competition-driven, price-focused buying process. If customers don’t recognize a significant differentiation in terms of outcomes — which sets a provider apart from the competition — the buying process will make all providers look the same.
Buying environments and requirements become more complex every day due to two elements:
1. an increasing number of impacted stakeholders and, 2. more risk-averse and more financial results driven buying processes. Both elements increase buying complexity and buying dynamic. Product value has to be translated into the buyers’ different worlds regarding business results and wins. If all these challenges exist, the fourth challenge, the inability to attract new customers, follows.
Around this time of the year, sales organizations prepare for their strategic planning process in the fall. Sales performance and sales productivity are key metrics to be improved continuously. Many data points are relevant, e.g. results of your current initiatives, adjusted roadmaps, latest trends in the industry, and specific sales challenges and how they are addressed in other organizations.
Help us to help you and invest a few minutes to participate in our 3rd MHI Research Institute Sales Performance and Productivity Study 2014. The SPPS 2014 is focused on sales operations, sales enablement, sales training and sales technology. We want to learn more about the scope and the trends regarding sales productivity in different functions. Furthermore, we want to understand your current and future investment priorities. A special focus this year is on the role of front line sales managers and how well they are equipped, and on the different initiatives driven in sales enablement and/or sales training.
What you can expect from the study as a participant
The findings of the SPPS 2014 will help you as a participant to understand those sales productivity core themes and trends, as well as the related investments trends. Furthermore, the findings will help you with data to support your strategic planning for 2015 in your organization, regarding trends, scope and investment priorities.
What’s in it for you – immediately?
In return for investing your time to complete this survey, you will have immediate access to a collection of research published by the MHI Research Institute, the Strategic Themes Digest, as well as an invitation to our participants’ webinar that will feature the results in October.
Thank YOU very much for participating!