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Top 5 reasons sales pros and teams are not hitting their goals

You're supposed to be a deal-closing, revenue-generating all-star. And yet, so many things seem to get in your way every single day that prevent you from achieving your goals. Let's fix that, shall we?

Top 5 reasons sales pros and teams are not hitting their goals Blog Feature

Liz Moorehead

Editorial Director, Speaker, Host of 'Content Lab' Podcast

July 22nd, 2020 min read

"Wait a minute, let me get this straight... is this marketer literally coming in here to tell me she understands what I'm going through and knows how to solve sales problems?"

I know, I know. 

Your reaction reminds me of the time a well-meaning, non-Italian ex-boyfriend of mine tried to tell me how to improve upon my great aunt's much-beloved, absolutely perfect family recipe for Italian Wedding Soup.

(First of all, how dare you? And, as a follow-up, how dare you?)

Yet here I am, being that annoying little whiteboard-loving marketer asking you to listen to me about how to solve the problems you're having — both as individual sales professionals and as sales teams. 

So, why should you listen to me?

I'll keep this short and sweet. I'm not your typical marketer. I actually care about y'all. I care about y'all a lot.

In addition to being IMPACT's editorial director, I am a steadfast and downright mouthy advocate for those in sales — which includes often getting on my soapbox with other marketers about why they should care about sales.

Why? Because sales problems are marketing problems; we are one team trying to achieve the same goals.

As a result, I spend more than half my time talking to, brainstorming with, and listening to our sales team. Which means I know first-hand what kinds of problems modern-day sales teams and leaders are facing and how to actually solve them.

Now that we're all best friends, let's get down to business. 

What you're going to find in this article

Because I know sales folks are some of the busiest people on the planet — another reason why I'm writing this article and not someone in sales — I want to lay out explicitly what you're going to find under each listed problem:

  • A summary of what the problem is and why this problem exists.
  • An overview of how to solve the problem. 
  • A list of the relevant resources and/or tools you'll need to solve your problem.

Sales problems are often very complex to explain and solve for, which is why each one will come with a list of resources for you to leverage. That way you can easily find the solution you're looking for and the additional materials you need to make your life better. 

Keep in mind that not all of these problems may apply to you. That is by design, so you can get exactly what you need out of this article, without drowning in irrelevant fluff.

I encourage you to skim this article for the problems that make you go, "Yes! That's me!" And then dive in. Ignore the rest.

1. "Thanks to COVID-19, I am struggling to be as effective in what is now a video-first world."

What's the problem?

The first wave of coronavirus (COVID-19) turned all of our lives upside down earlier this year. (And signs point to a second wave potentially disrupting our lives this fall and winter.)

As a result, business leaders had to make tough decisions about how to progress — in fact, many of them still are. Some were able to take their operations fully remote. Others were not. Of course, employees who didn't lose their jobs also struggled to adapt to being positive and productive while working from home full-time. 

Sales teams, however, faced a completely new challenge. Sales appointments that could once be held "nose-to-nose, face-to-face" (as the old saying goes) had to go completely virtual. 

On top of that, buyers were forced to start making purchasing decisions without being able to see products or meet anyone from the company they were buying from, in person — a huge blow for service-oriented businesses, B2B consulting firms, or any company with a showroom or products that require at-home visits. 

Yikes. 

How do you solve it?

You need to become a virtual selling and video sales expert and fast. Here are the resources you need to do it:

IMPACT+ resources that can help

2. "I hate answering the same questions in sales conversations. I want to close more deals faster, with more educated buyers."

What's the problem?

Do you ever feel like the first sales conversation you have with most prospects are headlined by you answering the same exact questions you answer for all prospects, no matter who they are or how "unique" their challenges or needs might be?

Like, literally, if you could have a holographic recording of you answering those questions at the beginning of every sales call, your life would be a lot easier and less annoying?

Well, you're not alone. 

More importantly, is a way to remove this pain, speed up your sales cycle, and close more deals faster with more educated prospects. 

How do you solve it?

This is a multi-step process, but one that will pay you back in the form of thousands of thousands of dollars in revenue, as well as many hours given back to you folks in sales to spend however you want. 

Homework for your marketing team

IMPACT+ resources that can help marketing

What you need to do in sales

IMPACT+ resources that can help y'all in sales

3. "I don't know how to use video in the sales process. I also don't know how to be effective on camera. Bottom line, video freaks me out."

What's the problem?

We hear this one a lot. You're someone in sales who knows video is important. You're totally on-board (in theory) with the fact that your buyers prefer video, that video builds trust faster than any other content type out there, and that video should (again, in theory) be a part of your sales process...

...somehow. 

See, this is where it gets tricky for most sales pros.

You know at a high-level video matters and is important, but once you have to noodle on how to actually go about using video consistently in your day-to-day outside of virtual sales demos... it gets dicey. 

It used to be that you could just stick with the "devil you know," i.e., your old school sales practices and in-person charm. Now, however, you need whatever edge you can get in this post-coronavirus world; especially since most face-to-face interactions aren't even an option. 

So, where do you even start with video?

How do you solve it?

OK, you bringing video on as a consistent, revenue-generating part of your sales process is going to require you to understand the basics of how to integrate video into your sales process. Then you'll need to dig into the finer details and best practices of actually creating videos and being a great communicator on camera.

These are the resources you'll need to do it:

IMPACT+ resources that can help

4. "No matter what I do, my prospects don't do anything with my emails. They don't open them. Or, if they do, they don't click on anything or respond."

What's the problem?

Stop me if you've heard this one before:

"Hey, just checking in! Wasn't sure if you had missed my previous 18 emails."

"Did you know about this mildly compelling statistic that's marginally related to your company and/or your job function? Please love me."

"Hi, pal! It's been a couple weeks, and I haven't heard from you. What did you think of the 26-page proposal I'm sure you didn't read, because my analytics tell me? Wanna grab dinner and drinks?"

"WHY WILL YOU NOT CLICK THIS CLICKBAIT-Y, ALL CAPS SUBJECT LINE?!"

Yeah, you know the drill. You spend your days as the sales equivalent of the girl waiting by the phone for her best guy to drop a call her way. 

But minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, and week after week, your calls for attention, affirmation, and signed proposals go unanswered.

Why?! 

How do you solve it?

Sales and marketing teams use the same data points to tell them the same thing:

  • If someone isn't opening your email at all, something about your subject line or sender information isn't compelling them to do so — or is causing them to avoid your message. 
  • If someone is opening your email, but not responding or clicking, there's something about the substance of your email that is either not interesting enough to elicit a response, or something else about it is causing them to set aside responding. 

That said, sales and marketing emails are fundamentally different beasts. That means while the data points and inferences are the same, how you tackle these problems is quite different. 

So, what do you do?

IMPACT+ resources that can help

5. "The content our marketing team creates is just fluffy nonsense. None of it helps us close any deals. They do not understand what we need."

What's the problem?

Ah, a tale as old as time. Sales and marketing teams that don't get along. Even though they're both, in theory, supposed to be marching toward the same goal of attracting and closing deals with your ideal buyers. 

On your side of the fence, you're often wondering what the heck is it that marketing is doing? Why are they creating content that seems to not help you do what it is that you're supposed to do — close more deals? Why is it that they seem to look at you as if you have three heads when you tell them what they're giving you isn't going to enable you to make more sales?

What will it freaking take for y'all to finally get on the same page, where the collateral marketing is producing actually helps you during the sales process?

How do you solve this?

Unlike some of the other issues discussed in this article — unopened or unanswered emails, learning how to use video, etc. — this is a complex issue that requires everyone to be on the same page (ye olde sales and marketing alignment) and committed to making long-term, sweeping changes...

...in addition to making short-term adjustments and changes that help you start feeling more supported and understood by your marketing counterparts. 

In short, you'll be able to do certain things that alleviate this pain in the immediate future. However, you need to make some major changes to how both of your teams work together and build strategies, if you want to see this problem go away for good.

What both sales and marketing teams need to do together

  • Create a revenue team that meets once a week, combining key members of the marketing team (whomever is in charge of the content strategy and the marketing team leader, if they are different people). Your meeting agenda should be as follows — review the sales-relevant content that has been published since the last meeting, what sales-relevant content is currently in production, and (finally) a brainstorm in which the content strategy leader gets the most recent questions sales reps are getting that need to be turned into content pieces for assignment selling. (I'm going to be writing an article about how this works, because we've been doing this at IMPACT... and it's been nothing short of life-changing.)
  • Your marketing team should read this article about what marketing teams most commonly get wrong about their sales counterparts.
  • You're not off the hook! Then you and the rest of your sales team (if there is more than just you) need to read this article on what the #1 thing sales folks get wrong about marketing

IMPACT+ resources for both sales and marketing

IMPACT+ resources just for y'all in sales

"Boo, my problem isn't listed here..."

I consider this article to be a living document, that I will come back to and update over time, as the need arises.

So, if you don't see your specific problem (for yourself or your sales team), start a discussion in the sales professionals message board of IMPACT+. (You don't need to pay, you only need a free IMPACT+ account to access this board.)

Until I hear from you, keep in mind that while some challenges you face may be easily fixed with some small strategic adjustments, not all will. Sometimes, you're going to need to burn everything to the ground and start over.

While that may seem hard at first, there have been plenty of other sales teams in your shoes, feeling the same kinds of pressures.

"It's never going to get better. I wish it was easier for us to reach our goals. Why does it have to be such an uphill battle? Are these big changes really necessary?"

But they took the leap.

They made sweeping cultural changes within their sales teams and throughout the rest of their organization. They completely reimagined how they run sales calls, work with their marketing counterparts, and how they use content in the sales process... and they were rewarded with crazy-good results.

I guess the only question left now is are you ready to do the same?

Assignment Selling: Content is Your Greatest Sales Tool - Free IMPACT+ Course

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