Top sales challenges (and how to fix them)

Adam Sockel

May 11 2023


Sales is the engine that powers the organizational growth of every company but the current state of sales shows that the fuel for that engine is harder to come by. Headcount adjustments, budget cuts, and the current economic climate have combined to create a new reality for sales organizations. Companies are looking much more closely at what tools they need to have versus those that are nice to have.

Modern sales tool evaluations come with much greater scrutiny but this is just one of the problems salespeople are experiencing. In this article, we asked ChatGPT (because everyone’s doing it…) to highlight a few of the biggest current concerns of sales leaders. We then dug into the research to confirm the findings (because you can never be too sure with ChatGPT) and offered solutions your team can use to maintain a healthy sales pipeline.

A lack of sales productivity

Perhaps the biggest concern for leadership in the modern sales landscape is a lack of productivity. According to a recent report by Salesforce, sales reps spend only 28% of their time selling, with the rest of their time being spent on non-sales activities such as data entry, administrative tasks, and meetings. This lack of direct sales productivity results in missed opportunities and lost revenue.

How can organizations solve this issue?

By Eliminating the manual aspect of routine tasks like data entry, dialing prospect numbers, and reporting through the use of AI and sales enablement technology sales leaders can up countless hours in which sales reps can focus on improved prospecting and selling. Additionally, streamlining sales processes and providing relevant training to sales reps can also help improve their productivity.

Personalized sales experiences

Something else that reps are currently experiencing is difficulty personalizing their sales outreach at scale. Today's buyers expect a customized sales journey, with 80% of buyers being more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. 

How can organizations solve this issue?

Leveraging data and analytics to gain insights into customer behavior and preferences can help sales teams personalize their outreach and improve their engagement rates. This can come in a variety of ways.

Here at Orum, we have a team of Sales Development Representatives connecting with prospects who have shown an interest in purchasing a tool for their reps who perform similar tasks to our team. Our reps are able to explain how our platform can streamline typical daily processes for sales reps, increase their productivity and add time back to their day.

By freeing up time through automation, our reps have the time to spend tailoring their message based on the prospect’s industry and job titles, do other pre-call research, and are ready with data from recent company reports to help prove they understand the prospect’s pain points and show our product as a good fit. .

Addressing inefficiency in lead management

Another challenge currently facing sales teams is inefficient lead management: Multiple studies continue to show that 75% or more of sales go to the vendor that responds first, highlighting the importance of timely lead follow-up. According to Lead Response Management, you are 21 times more likely to qualify a lead with a response time under 30 minutes. However, many sales teams struggle with lead management and fail to respond promptly to leads, resulting in lost opportunities.

How can organizations solve this issue?

Implementing a lead management system that allows for quick and efficient lead assignment and follow-up can help sales teams stay on top of their leads and improve their conversion rates. Using lead scoring, AI chatbots, and prioritization can help identify the most promising leads and ensure they receive the necessary (and timely) attention.

An essential aspect of this process is making sure your sales, marketing operations, and demand generation teams are all in sync. Making sure everyone knows when an event, webinar, or campaign is taking place that will bring in a significant amount of new leads is essential to enabling timely follow up and therefore becoming the vendor of choice.

Speaking of marketing and sales…

How to assure your sales and marketing teams are aligned

A recent study by Copper and Outfunnel noted that less than 40% of organizations have a strong alignment between sales and marketing. This lack of alignment can result in wasted resources and missed opportunities.

How can organizations solve this issue?

Establishing clear communication channels between sales and marketing and implementing a shared lead management system can help improve alignment, ensuring that sales reps have access to the right information and resources to close deals.

This relationship needs to go beyond simply establishing communication channels and shared tooling. Here at Orum, Marketing routinely takes part in our Sales teams’ weekly meetings, call blitzes, and presentations. Every piece of content we produce (including this one!) is seen by a sales subject matter expert and then shared with the sales teams once they go live.

Your sales reps are going to be your biggest champions when it comes to getting content seen by prospects, and your marketing team will be your biggest resource when it comes to building the content needed to move your prospects through the sales funnel. Assuring these teams work closely together creates a more efficient customer journey and, ultimately, a smoother sales process.

So, what is the biggest challenge in sales?

All of these current challenges ladder up to the biggest problem facing every sales team - an inability to close new deals. If you look at the challenge of closing the sale as a singular, Final Boss style problem, it can feel impossible to slay.

But when you understand that successful deals come from a combination of increased activity, better response times, improved cross-team communication, and providing value through content, you can start to work to streamline the process in order to spend time on the actions that really move the needle.