Here are the 8 most common challenges that may be holding back your sales team, and some actionable tips on how to overcome them:
1. Sales Doesn't Use the Available Tools
The most common challenge that we see sales teams deal with is pushback from salespeople to actually use the technology available. When you are a busy sales rep making dozens of phone calls a day it can be a hassle to log the details of each call manually. When sales reps need to use multiple systems to capture the data they collect on calls, forget about it. It's too time-consuming and complicated and they would rather just go back to using their spreadsheets.
If sales representatives are using old-school methods like Excel and paper notebooks, that data is lost to the company. It also will not ever reach the Customer Success team if the lead later becomes a customer.
Companies that get their sales reps to actually use the tools that RevOps has built for them establish systems and processes that provide value to the sales reps. That way, instead of feeling like they "should" use the tools, they actually want to because it makes their job easier.
They shouldn't have to toggle back and forth between different tools, but instead, they should have everything they need integrated into one platform. The platform should automate as much as possible so that the sales team needs to touch the CRM as little as possible.
2. Inaccurate or Incomplete Sales and Customer DataJunk in, junk out. When the sales team doesn't use the tools available to them, it can lead to incomplete sales and customer data– our second common challenge.
It can be difficult to close a deal when the sales team does not have all the data they need to configure, price, and quote a deal. Often times this occurs because the data sales capture during sales calls does not sync with their CRM database.
A budget number written down on a sticky note can get lost forever.
Sales can also be working with incomplete data because they don't have access to data collected on the lead before the marketing-to-sales handoff.
The marketing team can have valuable information, for instance, the content with which the lead interacted. This information is stored in a CRM like HubSpot. If the data doesn't sync to the sales team's platform, the salesperson can be flying blind on sales calls.
It's also important that your sales data syncs back to your marketing CRM. For example, the sales team should document questions that prospects ask on sales calls. When there is a process for syncing those questions back to marketing through the CRM, marketing can develop content that answers those questions and helps the sales team move prospects through the sales process faster.
The quotes that sales delivers to prospects through a CPQ should also sync to the CRM so that subscription renewals and billing can be automated. The customer success team will also need the quote to deliver customer service.
The more information a salesperson has on hand, the better equipped he or she will be to put together the right deal.
3. Sub-optimal Product FitWithout the right data, it can be challenging for a salesperson to recommend the right product or configure the right mix of products to match the customer's needs. This is especially true when you are configuring complex deals.
How does the sales team make sure that each customer is getting quoted for the right products, in the right size, and at the right price?
If you have a limited product catalog of products at set prices, it's easy to pick a product line item and add it to a quote.
But deals can get complex when product mixes and pricing structures need to be configured.
Some examples of complex deal configuration variables include:
- User-based License Agreements: For example, you are selling licenses that have different pricing tiers based on how many users are using your product. For example, a license for 1-10 users could cost $X while a license for 10-20 users costs $Y, and 20-50 users cost $Z.
- Dependencies and Pre-requisites Across Products: Take the case where you are selling different products that go together. For example, a certain piece of hardware requires a certain piece of software. If you are selling something mechanical you could have a list of parts that need to go together.
- Ramp Deals: Here, the deal involves a multi-year contract where the price, quantity or discount rates change over time. For example, you are selling a few software licenses to start off with, then, after three months, you add more licenses, and three months later you add more. This allows the customer to scale up their order or take advantage of volume discounts as their business grows.
- Peak Demand Licenses: If your prospect is in a business that is seasonal or where the need for your product fluctuates throughout the year, they may need a peak demand license where pricing is based on monthly utilization rates. For example, an accountant may use tax software more during tax season and may want to pay less for the license when their demand is not as high.
- Contract Amendments: If your prospect wants to buy more licenses or make another change to their contract halfway through the term period, you need to determine how that will be handled. Will they start a new year-long contract or will it be co-termed? Does the price change based on the number of months?
When you have to configure complex variables, it's best to use a CPQ that guides salespeople through a series of questions, leading them through the configuration process. That way, the sales team can ensure optimal product fit while simplifying the process for sales.
4. Quoting Errors On Complex DealsSalespeople are humans. This means, they can make mistakes, especially when putting together quotes for complex deals. It's a huge challenge for sales teams to minimize the number of errors that can happen.
For instance, imagine you are selling a high-end hardware system that requires a lot of cables and each cost $20,000. And what happens if you miss one or two cables in your quote? Who's paying for that $20,000 or $40,000?
Costly mistakes like this are easy to make when you are using a spreadsheet to build your quote.
A CPQ like Deal Hub will have safeguards in place to protect against these types of errors.
5. Lack of A Streamlined Approval ProcessOne of the most common complaints we hear from sales representatives is that they lose valuable time waiting for their quotes to get approved. Managers can get overwhelmed by incoming requests and struggle to approve deals consistently. Many organizations depend on a "swing by your manager's desk" approach. In today's remote work world, that approach doesn't work.
Organizations that implement a streamlined approval process are able to turn quotes around faster and more consistently. CPQs usually feature an approval dashboard that sales managers can look at daily to see what quotes are waiting for approvals and prioritize them. They can sort requests by deal size, sales rep, or customer type. They can also receive notifications by email or Slack so they can understand what is going on in their sales process in a structured way.
6. Revenue Leakage
Issues like poor product fit, quoting errors and rogue discounting all lead to revenue leakage. It can be difficult for sales to be able to track and qualify how much additional revenue is being left on the table.
When you have a CPQ in place, the system will automatically identify any missed upsell opportunities by triggering upgrade, upsell and cross-sell suggestions to increase deal size. It will also ensure adherence to pricing policies so that the sales team can ensure consistent pricing and discounting across the organization.
7. Delivering Poor User Experience
Sales wants to deliver a superior experience to their sales prospects but when teams have disjointed processes, it can be difficult to present themselves in a polished way.
When sales teams piece together sales quotes in a series of spreadsheets and word documents, the final quote is often messy and unprofessional. One salesperson's quote could look nothing like the one his cubicle mate is sending out. It's the little things that matter when it comes to delivering a great experience.
Having a standardized look and feel to proposals is one of those little things that makes a big difference in how your company is perceived.
Using a tool like HubSpot or a CPQ that can integrate with document signing solutions like DocuSign or Pandadoc can make signing the proposal easy and fast for your customer. This helps you present your company as the professional organization it is.
8. Long Sales Cycles
There is a lot of pressure on sales to close new business as fast as possible. But complex products or services can be particularly challenging for sales teams to close quickly. These types of products or services typically require a significant investment from potential customers, and the decision-making process can involve multiple stakeholders, including engineers, executives, and purchasing agents.
The complexity of the product or service can also make it difficult for potential customers to fully understand the benefits and drawbacks, which can lead to more questions and a longer evaluation period.
Using a tool that streamlines and simplifies the sales process can have a major impact on the time it takes to close a deal. A CPQ will reduce the time it takes to generate quotes and shortens the response time for your team to get back to their prospects. This, in turn, helps your team build better relationships and ultimately shorten the sales cycle.
Finally, sales teams face numerous challenges that can negatively impact their performance and affect the overall success of a business. However, investing in a CPQ system can help overcome many of these obstacles by streamlining the quoting process, reducing errors, and improving the overall customer experience. By automating tasks such as product configuration, pricing, and quoting, sales teams can increase efficiency, reduce sales cycle times, and ultimately improve their bottom line. Whether you are a small business or a large enterprise, implementing a CPQ system can provide a significant return on investment and help your sales team overcome the challenges that have been holding them back.
For more information and best practices for automating your sales process check out our HubSpot Hacks with Eyall Orgil, co-founder and CRO of Deal Hub, or Contact Us.