A study uncovered the most pressing challenges that salespeople face during their day-to-day sales/marketing jobs. The findings aim to shed light on common issues and how we can use technology to solve them, writes, Martin Heibel, Co-founder and Managing Director of Ciara.
In late 2019, we ran a survey at Ciara, the number one conversation assistant, that spanned across 15+ countries, 25+ industries, and garnered responses from more than 200 salespeople. The main goal was to uncover the most pressing challenges that salespeople face during their day-to-day sales-focused jobs.
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The findings aim to shed light on common issues and how we can work together and use technology to solve them. We uncovered three findings that salespeople suffer from during their daily work, including:
- Challenges managing information and standardizing quality.
- Difficulties onboarding and scaling sales teams.
- Too many, too complex sales tools.
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Despite these results, the salespeople respondents agreed that technology still makes them more productive. We have provided an overview of the findings in an infographic:
Now, let’s take a closer look at these results.
It’s Hard to Manage Information and Standardize Quality.
Over half of the respondents we asked reported that they were not sure they could access the information they needed while on a sales call. This means that many deals could potentially be lost because of the chaotic nature of a sales tech stack.
A sales rep could have their playbook stored on Google Drive, notes from the previous calls scribbled somewhere on a piece of paper, random information saved in their CRM system, and so on. This is an understandable issue, as it is imperative to access information as quickly as possible while on a sales call. When a sales rep cannot do this, they can come off as unprepared or unprofessional.
So, salespeople have a hard time accessing information while making sales calls. Then, to add insult to injury, over two-thirds of respondents say there is a lack of structure in internal processes. These refer to processes such as how and where to store certain data, how to share knowledge, and more.
It’s critical that a salesperson knows and understands where to access all kinds of information, and unfortunately, this step is often missed when the sales rep is initially onboarded. When internal processes break down, chaos ensues. After a sales rep finishes a sales call, it’s important that they know where to store their new data, in what format, and other steps to ensure that processes will run smoothly.
It’s Hard to Onboard and Scale Sales Teams.
Our study found that it takes most teams 3+ months to onboard a new employee. Imagine spending an entire quarter training a new employee. That is almost a whole quarter of opportunity for more sales missed! As previously stated, onboarding is no easy task and can be extremely time consuming, time of which is always a hot commodity. When it then begins to affect the sales team’s overall output, then it really becomes a hot-button issue.
In addition, we found that 54 percent of salespeople suffer from a lack of training, yet 77 percent of them agree that training improves their performance. This is a bit ironic. If a large majority of salespeople agree that sales training helps them, then why do over half say they suffer from a lack of training? The reason could be the same reason many companies state that onboarding is difficult – their current employees don’t have time or motivation to help onboard and continuously make time for training.
There Are Too Many, Too Complex Sales Tools.
Every second salesperson feels overwhelmed by tools at work. Knowing that most salespeople use up to 10 tools everyday, it’s pretty clear why. This means that sales reps may be less productive while trying to juggle multiple tools with divergent functions.
Imagine a computer screen with several programs running at once. It’s difficult to navigate through several tools and tabs and still try to maintain consistency across every call a salesperson makes every day. Some people might use one tool one way while another person may use it another way. In short, salespeople are flooded with too many tools and need to slim down their toolbox. It’s always easier to have one tool that accomplishes 10 things, than 10 tools that accomplish one thing.
Technology Still Rules the Sales World.
We concluded that despite all the issues salespeople face, sales technology still dominates their daily lives. Out of all respondents, 58 percent of salespeople agree that technology makes them significantly more productive.
So, it’s clear that the current technology available to salespeople is not cutting it. We found that they are either overwhelmed by the sheer number of tools to use, or they can use them, but can’t access the right information when they need it during a call. In both cases, sales technology is hurting more than it’s helping. If salespeople agree that technology helps them and makes them more productive, then why is it that the tools are so tiresome to use?
Essentially there is a missing link between the tools, technologies, and processes that salespeople use and have, and what is useful for them. One explanation could be the lack of interconnectivity between the tools. Many times an application says it integrates into a dialer and a CRM but doesn’t actually work. Now that it’s 2020, there must be a solution for these challenges.
What Will Solve These Issues?
Onboarding, cold calls, training, tools, processes, pipelines, opportunities, deals, and more – being a salesperson is no easy task. And we believe that a digital conversation assistant can help alleviate these widespread issues.
A digital conversation assistant can help fix many of the problems salespeople complain about. It’s easier to maintain consistency across sales teams through predefined playbooks. With proven playbooks, as well as the option to customize playbooks available to teams, management can ensure that all sales reps have the same information and quality of communication.
In terms of onboarding, a digital conversation assistant, like Ciara,is a helpful tool for training new or temporary employees. With a clear, user-friendly interface, the tool should guide sales reps through their calls and provide real-time recommendations and information right when they need it.
Most salespeople will tell you that the amount of complex tools used during the say is somewhat overwhelming and difficult to manage. A digital conversation assistant integrates into existing sales tech stacks, and helps to bring those tools into one place. Then, it can help take over time-consuming administrative tasks, like scheduling follow-up calls or sending reminder emails. It’s similar to having Siri or Alexa at work, and makes a salesperson’s daily work life simpler and will change inside sales work in the future.