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Sales Productivity

In our experience, salespeople miss sales objectives for four key reasons:

Problem #1: Salespeople fail to properly manage sales situations.

More opportunities are lost to NDI (No Decision, Inc.) or to OP (other priorities) than to any other competitors because salespeople fail to properly manage critical sales situations. When buyers do not see the value of the proposed offering and decide not to change from the status quo, it is often because the salesperson doesn’t understand their business problem, doesn’t effectively convey the value of the solution, or fails to access an officer with buying power.


  • Can your sales people deliver a compelling business case for the use of your products/services by prospects in your target industries?
  • Do prospects have reason to believe that your sales people can command the resources within your company necessary to deliver the promised results?
  • Do your sales people waste valuable time calling on the wrong people in prospect companies?
  • Does your sales force feel comfortable talking about the kinds of issues executive-level officers are concerned with?


  • Had a process to follow to help the client understand the cost of their problem as well as the value of solving it?
  • Knew how to prepare a factual business case for the use of your product in the prospect’s company, including cost benefits?
  • Could provide convincing evidence that your company had the expertise necessary to execute a successful transition?
  • Knew techniques to identify whether they were dealing with a decision-maker?
  • Were trained in how to gain access to decision-makers and in how to discuss issues and negotiate at this level?

Problem #2: Salespeople ineffectively use internal sales resources.

We find that salespeople often have excellent people and selling skills, but lack the specific industry knowledge needed to understand a prospect’s business problems and establish trust. We also find that salespeople often have high-value resources and experts available to help them bridge these gaps, but that they are not leveraged in the most effective, qualified or timely ways.


  • Do your sales people have difficulty explaining, in the prospect’s language, how your products can be used to solve business problems?
  • Does your company sometimes waste company resources delivering dog-and-pony shows to unqualified prospects that do not become buyers?
  • Do your company’s dog-and-pony shows address generic rather than prospect-specific business problems?


  • Had sales tools designed to help them discuss the specific business problems that your products and services are best able to solve?
  • What if they had guidelines for when and how each person in your organization should be used in the sales process, based on each person’s particular knowledge and skills?
  • Would it help if subject matter experts were trained in how to effectively help the salesperson prepare for meetings, discover problems, and position and present capabilities and the corresponding value?

Problem #3: Salespeople often spend too much time on unqualified opportunities.

We all know that not every sales situation is a winner, even when a prospect appears to be a “hot one.” Sometimes, there really is no “pain”, your solutions just aren’t a good fit for a prospect’s needs or budget, or the prospect may be using your company to justify a competitor’s offering or pricing.

We believe that, “if you must lose, it is best to lose early and cheaply.” Helping salespeople to recognize when and how to disqualify minimizes the amount of scarce company resources spent on unqualified deals, and the number of good opportunities lost while salespeople pursue poor prospects.


  • Do your sales people and your sales managers know how to identify poor prospects early, so that they can avoid wasting valuable time where there is little real chance of winning?


  • Had a set of objective criteria to qualify a prospect’s potential at each stage of the sales cycle?
  • Understood specific steps needed to move an opportunity to the next stage(s) of the sales cycle?
  • Had been trained in how to turn a poor opportunity into perhaps a good one?

Problem #4: Salespeople are not proactive and do not productively use social media.

Too many salespeople wait for opportunities to come to them instead of getting in front of opportunities. Salespeople should focus on reaching opportunities, building relationships and demonstrating thought leadership far earlier in the buying process, particularly since buyers in this 2.0 world are doing more research before reaching out to a salesperson.

When you are able to build credibility with a prospect before they have decided how to solve their problem, you are able to help them define their needs, budget, value justification, and are more likely to win their business (as the preferred or “Column A” vendor).

One of the most effective tools for accessing and influencing buyers early is social media, though we find that social media is largely overlooked, misused, or under-leveraged in this capacity. Let us help you with positioning your team as thought leaders in this 2.0 world.


  • Do your sales people avoid spending time on prospecting?
  • Have they been successful generating sales with their current approach to prospecting?
  • Do they regularly look for cross-sell or new opportunities with existing clients?


  • Had specific tools that would make their efforts more rewarding so they would be more interested in prospecting?
  • Had a regular account planning process to help identify opportunities within existing clients?
  • Leveraged provoking, challenging, or insightful statements as a way to help your prospect think or act differently?