9 MIN READ
The 8 Factors Affecting Your Sales Team Performance
Written by Davey Warren
Published on December 30, 2020
When is the last time your sales team hit or exceeded its quota? And how often do you achieve such a feat?
Research shows that 42% of companies report that 50% of their sales reps meet or exceed their quotas. And that spells trouble for many companies looking to increase their sales and revenues.
It can be frustrating to deal with continuous failures within your sales department time and time again. It feels even worse when you have done everything you think you should improve your sales team’s performance.
There may be other factors at play that you have not considered. Understanding how such factors affect your sales is the first step toward improving your team’s performance. Some of them include the following.
1. The Quality of Product
The quality of your product or service does matter. Your best salespeople may be able to talk prospects into buying what your company has to offer the first time. But if the product is of low quality, it would be difficult to convince them to become repeat clients.
It’s also worth noting that negative reviews usually influence 86% of buying decisions. So, it may not matter how good your salespeople are. Neither would it matter what kind of best practices you implement to improve your sales performance.
The product quality, as well as your customers’ perceptions of it, could be affecting your sales volume. Any feedback from your salespeople indicating this should be passed onto other relevant departments. These may include the marketing, engineering, and product quality assurance departments.
2. The Pricing of Your Product
Are you aware that 58% of buyers want to discuss the pricing on the first call? So, what would happen if your product price is considered expensive?
Research shows that 35% of salespeople consider overcoming objections to price as one of their biggest challenges. Pricing may not be something that you may have any control over. But pricing is an essential factor when selling. So, you may want to talk to your seniors to determine whether something can be done to reduce prices. Could your salespeople offer discounts for large volumes? Should the base price be reduced altogether?
How much your product costs will determine the volume of sales your company makes. It’s, therefore, essential for you to address that issue. It may be the thing that prevents your sales team from performing well.
3. The Customer Care Service
By the time prospects get into contact with your sales team, it’s quite likely they have already been in touch with other departments within your company. They may have already contacted your marketing department or your customer care representatives.
The lifetime value of customers that have been referred to your company is 16%-25% higher than that of non-referred customers. There is just one problem: customers are likely to refer others to your company if they have had a positive experience. And that positive experience is determined by the organization’s customer care representatives.
Salespeople tend to get training that equips them to sell. They may try to do what they can to make existing customers happy. But that is a specialized skill set they may lack.
If your sales reps report that many prospects complain about their issues not addressed adequately, you have a customer care service problem. That means you must reach out to your customer experience colleagues and request them to deal with the issue. Otherwise, you will continue to miss many sales opportunities among existing customers and thus fail to hit your sales quotas.
4. The Quality of Salespeople
What kind of people do you have working in your sales team? Are they passionate about what they do for a living? Do they know what they should be doing to improve sales and revenues?
Soft skills are some of the most underrated skills there are. Many people don’t think that skills such as time management, communication, problem-solving matter. But they do. Studies show that 60% of salespeople who work on their soft skills will hit their sales targets compared to 53% of those who don’t.
But there are other challenges as well. About 46% of salespeople did not even intend to go into sales as a career. Many sales reps may not even have a passion for their jobs. And 68% of them already have one foot out the door because they are determined to look for another position within the year. They are not happy with their job situation at the moment.
A bad hire is not something that you can always wish away. The skillset of your salespeople matters. Some people don’t have it to be empathetic, time conscious, problem solvers, etc. And if someone lacks passion for the job, then you can’t force them to display it when working.
If your sales department is not performing well, it may be time for new hires. That may mean coordinating with the human resource department to make it happen because it’s their responsibility. The choices they make in this regard will determine whether your sales team performs better in the future.
5. The Budget for Sales Activities
You need to spend money to make money. Activities such as prospecting, qualifying leads, meeting prospects, driving to see prospects, making presentations, training, etc., require money to happen.
But what if the company you work for is underfunded? Or what if your organization does not provide enough financing for sales activities?
Research shows that around 20% of sales teams don’t have enough resources to reinforce their sales processes. Yet, companies with dedicated sales enablement have a higher win rate of 52.1% than those who don’t (45.5%).
So, if your sales department is underfunded, you need to talk to your bosses. Show them the need to have a bigger budget for sales processes. Because if your sales team doesn’t get the funding it needs, your overall performance will continue to be dismal. You cannot expect every salesperson to produce great results when they are so ill-equipped for their jobs.
6. The Lack of Enough Employees
For your sales team to have a good performance, they must spend time selling your company’s products. But this is not the case for many salespeople.
81.6% of top performers usually spend at least four hours on sales-related activities. But most sales reps only spend 34% of their time on selling. The rest of their working time is spent on writing emails, data entry, attending meetings, etc.
While some of these activities are relevant to the sales process, they distract your salespeople from their core job, which is to sell. If your sales team is always doing many tasks that prevent them from selling, it could indicate that your company does not have enough employees. And that is something that your sales department may not have any control over.
You could try to improve your salespeople selling time by fighting for more staff to be added. If your company is operating on a tight budget, you could ask for freelance help, which is cheaper.
7. The Lack of Collaboration across Departments
Selling requires collaboration. It’s not just members of your sales team that should work together. Your department must also communicate with other departments to achieve company quotas.
Here are some facts to ponder on:
- Did you know that 44% of decision-makers consider the company’s website as the marketing asset that influences them most when making a purchasing decision?
- Despite 85% of the marketing departments saying that supporting sales is their priority, 56% of salespeople must prepare their materials.
- Top salespeople believe social selling tools, CRMs, sales intelligence tools, productivity apps, email tracking tools, etc., are essential to their success.
Collaboration across multiple departments is necessary for sales teams to succeed. But not every company has a collaborative work environment.
Some organizations have departments that are too autonomous. As a result, they fail to share information and work together to improve their bottom line.
If this is the case, improving your sales team’s performance will continue to be an uphill battle. It doesn’t matter how streamlined your department’s operations are. Neither does it matter how good your sales process is. The entire company culture would first need to change.
8. The Market Forces
Sometimes, your sales performance will be subject to market forces. The economic forces of supply and demand sometimes have nothing to do with government or company policy. They tend to be external.
Unfortunately, life is unpredictable. Covid-19 pandemic is an excellent example of just how unpredictable life can be.
The pandemic has had a catastrophic effect on working hours and earnings. It has disrupted supply chains at a global level. Its impact has affected the market forces and prospects’ ability to buy.
The average company tends to have strategy horizons of four years or less. And only 6% of companies have horizon strategies of six years or more. There is so much that a company can foresee and safeguard itself against. It’s impossible to know everything that will happen in the future.
If your sales team is currently performing dismally, it could be due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The market forces could be against you.
Not every sales performance issue is within your department’s control. Some situations are caused by the company policies that are within other people’s power. And others are caused by external issues that your company cannot safeguard itself against.
It pays to understand the factors that affect your sales team’s performance so that you know what to do. You may be forced to communicate with other departments within your organization to remove the barriers. But sometimes, you will have no choice but to think outside of the box. Preparation is the key to business survival.