Every year the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP), releases its study, “Top Challenges of the Inside Sales Industry,” which polls both sales leaders and individual reps about common B2B sales challenges they face.
In part one of this series, we examined trends from the sales reps’ responses. In part two, we’ll highlight findings from sales leaders’ responses.
Sales Training and Development:
For the last 3 years, sales leaders have collectively ranked the top-6 B2B sales challenges they face in the exact same order. At the top of the list is “Training & Development.”
It’s not hard to understand why. For starters, hiring a consultant or sales training firm isn’t cheap. Furthermore, any time you outsource training, the lessons and skills presented may not align with your sales strategy and processes. Lastly, taking an entire sales team away from their responsibilities – even for just a day – bears a significant opportunity cost. If they’re not selling, who is?
Then there’s this: a research study published by CSO Insights found that out of over 2,000 companies, only 9.6% rated their sales training programs as having “exceeded expectations.” Meanwhile, 33% said their training only “met expectations,” and over half said the training “needed improvement.”
With the appropriate research, sales training and development can have an enormous impact on performance and productivity. In fact, CSO Insights reported companies with sales training programs that “exceeded expectations” showed increases in quota attainment and win rate compared to companies whose training programs that just “met expectations” or “needed improvement.”
Lead Quantity and Quality:
AA-ISP writes, “Lead quality and quantity have dominated the top of both leaders’ and reps’ B2B sales challenges since the inception of this survey. Because leads are the lifeblood of organizations, we believe this will always stay near the top.”
So what can sales leaders do? As we wrote last week, sales leadership must work with marketing to establish mutual priorities and define benchmarks to close the gap between what constitutes a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) vs. a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). Then, marketing can better support sales through lead generation efforts that bring more qualified prospects to the sales team.
Recruiting & Hiring:
We know the average tenure of a sales development professional is a little over a year, so it should come as no surprise that sales leaders rank “Recruiting & Hiring” so highly.
An interesting consequence of these relativity short tenures is the devaluation of experience. Sales leaders now prioritize “intelligence” and “digital savviness” while vetting candidates.
Tools and Technologies:
As a sales leader, your primary goal is to put your team in a position to succeed. Investing in sales-centric software is the best way to accomplish this.
With all that said, “Tools & Technologies” will likely always be top of mind for sales leaders. But, as more organizations continue to invest and build out robust sales stacks, the gap continues to grow between this challenge and the rest of the challenges that ranked in the top-4.