The 4 biggest challenges facing sales


When training and coaching salespeople, I always highlight four key areas. If you’re lacking in one of these areas, you’re never going to reach your true sales potential. This remains true, regardless of the impact of Covid.


#1 Sales results against target

Let’s cut to the chase. Your sales target is not your goal. Your sales target is your company’s minimum expectation of you, the reason they hired you in the role. The end result of anything in sales by which we measure our success and how many /people companies we are helping, is the scoreboard – your results against target.


#2 Pipeline

Are you in a drought or is your sales pipeline full? The health of your sales pipeline is the lifeline to your sales results. Too often pipelines are optimistic and exaggerated at best. I recommend being brutally honest and disqualifying anything in your pipeline if you cannot put a yes against all of the following:

  • Do I understand the current situation?
  • Do I understand clearly what they are looking to resolve / achieve and why?
  • Do I have clarity from my prospect on the value to them in achieving their objectives?
  • Do I understand their sense of urgency to achieve / resolve their objectives?
  • Do I understand if they can afford what we are offering (i.e. budget)?
  • Do I understand their decision-making process and timelines?
  • Do they want my help?

Consider these and then ask yourself again: Do I have a strong sales pipeline or am I feeling the pressure of a pipeline drought?


#3 Qualified meetings

The main reason behind a poor sales pipeline is that you are not seeing enough qualified people that you can help and will buy from you.

Here’s a quick exercise: Look back at the past four weeks: how many new sales meetings should you have set up? How many did you actually set up? What’s your shortfall?

Now look at the upcoming two weeks: How many meetings should you have in your diary? How many do you actually have?


#4 Prospecting

The cause more often than not for insufficient new meetings is a lack of consistent daily prospecting activity. The word prospecting is associated with the gold rush when people around the world rushed to gold fields in the hope of finding wealth. The first prospecting tool was a pan. The men would get down and sift the river sand, looking for gold – not just once or twice, but from sunrise to sunset. Why? Because the potential personal reward was worth all the effort.

It continues to baffle me as to how low the general daily prospecting activity is and how little time salespeople put aside to do what should be their number one non-negotiable activity. Are you committed to daily prospecting activity to achieve your end results? How much time should you be dedicating to prospecting daily to fill your calendar, pipeline and achieve great results?


My checklist for sales success:

  • My sales results against target for the last 3 months
  • My qualified sales pipeline for the next 3 months: what it should be and what it is
  • New qualified sales meetings for the last 4 weeks booked and seen: what it should have been and what it was
  • New qualified sales meetings booked for the next 2 weeks: what it should be and what it is
  • Have I done enough daily prospecting activity for the past 4 weeks – what is my standard?
  • Companies / people on my prospect list: how many should I have weekly and how many do I have?
  • Minimal acceptable standards for all of the above.



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