Sales professionals are under constant pressure to achieve higher quotas and deliver value to their clients in an increasingly competitive landscape. To gain a better understanding of the specific challenges facing sales professionals in 2018, Richardson Sales Training surveyed more than 350 sales professionals. The resulting 2018 Selling Challenges Study provides a panoramic view of these challenges and solutions to overcome them.

Ready to learn about the top sales challenges of 2018 and how to overcome them? You’ve come to the right place, keep reading.

Challenge 1: Understanding How Buyers Make Decisions

22% of sales professionals cited “uncovering complete information regarding the decision-making process” as a key hurdle in the selling process (source).  This challenge stems from more complex, multi-dimensional business needs.

Consider this statistic: Forbes estimates that more than 50% of tech buying committees consist of at least four people, and these four people often wear multiple hats and have several responsibilities (source).

To overcome this challenge, modern sales professionals must understand each member of the buying committee’s needs before positioning a solution. However, buyers aren’t always willing to share their needs. Instead, sales professionals must ask the right questions and to get to the core of the buyer’s challenges. At the same time, they need to understand how decisions flow through the organizational chart.

Learn how to ask the right questions and discover what you need to know about your prospects in the following blog post: 12 Sales Qualification Questions to Ask Prospects.

Challenge 2: Helping the Customer Overcome the Status Quo

28% of respondents cited “combating the status quo” as the biggest challenge buyers face when considering a purchase (source). An increasing array of buying options presents buyers with numerous paths—sometimes too many paths. Often this complexity leads to a “reversion to the mean” where no change occurs and no purchase is made.

The result? Customers are increasingly focused on the financial impact and ROI of their decisions because switching vendors or making large strategic changes carries inherent risks.

To overcome this challenge, sales professionals must articulate that avoiding a decision also carries risk. Instead of allowing your customer to reject change, help them develop a more proactive mindset. Shape the buying process around the fewest possible steps, making it easy for the customer to move forward. As always, the more you can prove the value of your product, the more influence you’ll have over your prospect.

Learn how to establish value with your prospects in the following blog post: Four Ways to Establish Value in the Face of Price Objections.

Challenge 3: Creating a Targeted Prospecting Strategy

16% of respondents stated that creating a targeted prospecting strategy was a key sales challenge (source).  This makes sense when you consider that business needs are more complex and competition for customers has increased.

The solution to this problem? Access to the right resources. In our age of technological advances, it’s easy to have shiny object syndrome and purchase every new tool that sparks your interest. But to develop a truly targeted sales prospecting strategy, modern sales reps need access to a carefully designed technology stack.

The right technologies will allow you to quickly understand your ideal sales prospect, develop targeted lists and outreach strategies, and it will also allow you to share information and data across platforms. Organizations who don’t put thought into their sales stack will quickly fall behind their competition.

For more information about building the perfect tech stack, check out the following blog post: The Essential B2B Sales Stack.

Challenge 4: Negotiating higher prices.

When it comes to negotiation, 19% sales professionals cited “gaining higher prices” as the biggest challenge (source). Due to increased competition among vendors, customers often demand low-cost solutions.  This dynamic puts the sales professional under increasing pressure to maintain the full value of the sale.

Sales professionals can overcome this challenge by building trust with their sales prospects. Earning trust requires the sales professional to offer meaningful insights that are relevant to the customer’s challenges. Simply put: they must offer useful information during the sales dialogue leading up to negotiations.

Information exchange is the foundation of trust and trust is the foundation of any closed deal. This truth is reflected in research from Clemson University where experimenters learned that “buyers’ monetary cost increased as information increased, suggesting that sales professionals might profit from information exchange and, indirectly, from trust (source). Moreover, a trusting partnership helps accelerate future deals because the foundation is already built.

Learn more about building trust in sales, here: The B2B Sales Rep’s Guide to Building Trust Quickly.

To discover more challenges and solutions and access all of the research and insights, download “Understanding Selling Challenges in 2018” from the Richardson website.

Or, to learn how ZoomInfo can help you overcome your greatest sales challenges, contact our sales team today!

About the author: Richardson Sales Training is a global sales training and performance improvement company. Our goal is to transform every buyer experience by empowering sellers with critical skills so they can create value to buyers and drive meaningful conversations.

About the author


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