Overcoming Sales Challenges in 2018: New Research from Richardson Sales Training

Guest Post Written By: Richardson Sales Training

Overcoming Sales Challenges in 2018: New Research from Richardson Sales Training

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, each of the 45 major economies is growing. These positive indicators of economic growth signal that it is time for sales professionals to deliver. However, as opportunities for sales professionals grow, so do challenges.

To understand these challenges, Richardson Sales Training surveyed sales professionals across industries to learn about the challenges they anticipate in the coming year. After reviewing hundreds of responses, they compiled their 2018 Selling Challenges Study.

Survey participants indicated a need to better articulate value in a market characterized by competition and multiple decision makers on the buying side. The sales professionals who prevail will win big as new opportunities escalate amid today’s robust business climate. Additionally, sales professionals are refocusing on the details of the customer’s challenges in order to better position solutions that fit.

Top challenges included:

  • Competing against low-cost providers
  • Creating a targeted prospecting strategy
  • Understanding how buyers make decisions
  • Combatting the status quo
  • Building the right selling skills

Competing Against Low-Cost Providers

Sales professionals are finding that it is becoming more and more difficult to articulate the value of a solution as low-cost competitors undercut their prices.

To overcome this challenge, sales professionals must develop the ability to convert demands to needs. This skill helps the professional add value for their buyers because there are many ways to meet a need and limited options for meeting a demand. Converting a demand into a need often helps sales professionals avoid resorting to making costly concessions or trading.

Creating a Targeted Prospecting Strategy

Technology is changing the prospecting game. Sales automation tools are enabling a new level of sophistication in finding and engaging leads. However, sales professionals must keep the functionality of new CRM systems focused on business outcomes. This means keeping the customer at the core of all decisions.

Moreover, the challenge of connecting with the customer has become one of connecting with multiple customers. That is, more buyers are involved in the decision-making process. This is where developing a brand marketing mindset is helpful. Doing so refines the message, which speaks to the specific needs of the customer. Sales professionals are thinking carefully about the kind of customers they want to serve and what they care about.

Understanding How Buyers Make Decisions

The number of stakeholders involved in the buying process is increasing, which is a result of dimensional business needs. Sales professionals must be aware of the competing priorities and needs within the buying organization. To do this, they need to ask the right questions. They must get to the core of the challenges without losing momentum. At the same time, they need to understand how decisions flow through the organizational chart.

Combatting the Status Quo

Overcoming the status quo is a central problem for sales professionals, and, unfortunately, the problem is growing. Access to too much information and complex internal decision-making hierarchies slows or even stops the process. Additionally, buyers are savvy and increasingly focused on the financial impact of their next move.

Sales professionals need to impress upon their buyers that avoiding a decision carries risk. Sellers need to help the customer develop a proactive mindset and shape the buying process around the fewest possible steps to make it easy for the customer to move forward.

Balancing Sales and Relationship Management

Complex sales and multifaceted business challenges require the sales professional to rise to the level of a trusted advisor. These aspects of selling take time.

Sales professionals can balance these demands while pursuing new opportunities by signaling their intention to keep new product discussions separate from conversations concerning work already implemented. Therefore, the sales professional can focus on “whitespace” in the account without encroaching on the value expected from previous work.

Building the Right Selling Skills

With limited resources and large quotas, sales organizations must focus on building the selling skills that will drive the greatest impact for their business. According to Richardson’s 2018 Selling Challenges Study, the most important selling skill is asking insightful and relevant questions to understand customer needs and challenges. Sales professionals who will find success in 2018 are those that make an effort to understand the nuances of the customer’s business and shape the customers thinking by directing their focus to their value proposition. To reach a close, a sales professional needs a path. The customer’s answers are that path. Explain the rationale for asking the question.


For more insights download Richardson’s 2018 Selling Challenges Study



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