5 Challenges All Sales Teams Struggle With (And How To Fix Them)

Updated: Jan 22


At SalesStar, we work closely with growth-minded business leaders that are concerned about their team's sales effectiveness.


Typically our clients have tried everything from sales training, to recruiting new sales people, compensation tweaks, and some have even purchased expensive marketing or CRM.....and none of these have achieved the desired impact on growth.


Turning around an under-performing team is not an easy task, if it was everyone would be doing it.


We consistently help our clients achieve strong growth results (37% on average) by addressing 5 critical competencies to improve their sales effectiveness.


Successfully developing these competencies is what we call Sales Transformation.


What's holding your sales team back from achieving the results you desire?


Typical answers we get from clients are: "motivation, accountability, & we're bad at developing new sales people." These are all symptoms of an underperforming team but not the cause.


Specific areas of weakness & strength vary from company to company, but there are 5 disciplines that underperforming sales teams struggle with and need to improve before they can consistently achieve their sales goals.


Here are those 5 critical competencies & the steps and actions you can take to address these.


#1 Getting Clarity & Focus on Your Numbers that need to be achieved & perhaps more importantly identifying the critical activities your team needs to perform on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis to achieve reliable & consistent growth.


Action steps: Get your leadership team together to identify your growth goals for the next 12 and 24 months. Once you have clarity here, ask your sales people for their goals (hint: you will find their numbers are larger than the what you will assign to them and more importantly - they will own them.)


Now, help them reverse engineer their numbers based on your average customer or deal size and review their pipelines to factor in conversion rates. Now you know exactly how many "wins" your sales team needs to achieve to hit these targets as well as the proposals and initial meeting activity required.


(Tip: these #'s are also really good KPIs or key performance indicators to track)


#2 Development of a Strategic Sales & Marketing Plan that focuses on your primary target market's problems, questions, and pain points that your company can solve.


Action steps: Again, with a collaborative approach. Get your sales team engaged in identifying the target markets you have the best chance to achieve success with and clarify together why this is. Your company should have expertise at solving your target market's common problems and pain points that qualify these targets your ideal future customers.


Ready to develop your plan? Collect a free copy of our Strategic Sales Planning Template here:



#3 Develop & Implement a Sales Process your sales people follow that is based on best practice & aligns with your buyer's journey.


Action steps: We recommend getting your team involved and mapping out your company's sales process based on best practice.


"if you help plan the fight, you won't fight the plan"


Fact: Harvard Business Review studies have shown that companies that successfully implement a "milestone-centric" sales process have achieved an average growth rate of 19%. (We've achieved this and better when our clients follow all 5 steps).


Q: What is a milestone centric sales process (MCSP)?


A: It's much more than just the stage names used in your CRM. An MCSP lists objectives, steps & actions, & qualifiers that your sales team must follow in order to successfully navigate from A to Z:


lead stage >>>>>> to delighted customer


Tip: Your KPIs mentioned earlier help measure your sales process execution, best practice is to embed the MCSP into your CRM.


#4 Create a Sales Management System that closely measures and supports the weekly activity & behaviors you are looking to execute.


Action steps: Managers in almost every business struggle with accountability. Not by coincidence, most also lack the systems & processes needed to coach their team on a consistent basis. Once you have your strategic plan and processes defined, accountability becomes easier for your manager's to achieve - especially when they have a weekly cadence for achieving accountability.


"you can't improve what you don't measure" - some smart business person


#5 Regular Performance Coaching that develops the most critical 21 Mindset & Skillset competencies that top performing sales people possess. Weakness with mindset & skillset competencies will neutralize your ability to execute even the best developed strategy, plan, & processes.


Action steps: Make continuous learning & improvement a part of your culture. This will insure that your team achieves their potential and smash their sales targets. Most companies desire sales excellence, but settle for average or below average performance because they fail to invest in the development of their people.


The reason most training initiatives fail to make an impact is because the manner in which they are delivered.


Our proven development approach leverages the 70/20/10 rule of embedded learning:


  • 10% of our retained learning is from reading or lectures

  • 20% is from actively being coached

  • 70% is from our actual experiences


High-impact performance coaching can not be achieved in a classroom, but rather in the field for this very reason.


We create massive impact & embed skills in our clients sales team using this exact philosophy.


Transformation can be achieved when sales people are provided clarity around strategy & processes and then regularly coached new skills and strong mindsets.


Congratulations! You have just learned the 5 Critical Competencies all sales teams must develop to achieve consistent results and smash sales targets.


Are you ready to transform your sales team, but not sure you can implement all 5 of these steps on your own?


Reach out & connect!


We would be honored to hear about your specific priorities for growth. We can discover together if there is an opportunity to collaborate and help you achieve your aggressive goals for the coming year.


Best regards,


Frank Niekamp


Frank Niekamp is a certified Coach with SalesStar and brings our clients 25+ years experience as an accomplished producer & leader. Frank's passion is developing sales teams & helping them unlock their full potential.


p.s. If this is something you would like to have a conversation about & you're open to share your top priorities for future success with us, book a complimentary 30 minute strategy session with Frank here. Book a Strategy Session.



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