5 Sales Team Warning Signs

by Dec 8, 2015Solution Selling0 comments

Sales Team Warning Signs of Customer Discontent
Try as you might, you continue to miss revenue targets. Could it be that your sales team is not doing a very good job at developing customer loyalty? Are you spending too much time trying to find new customers because your one-time customers are leaving?   Sounds like a early sales team warning sign to us.

What a waste of effort. Some customer loss is inevitable. But you should aim to cultivate long-term and repeat customers. Keep your clients happy and your job will become far easier.

5 Sales Team Warning Signs of Customer Discontent
Here are some signs of customer discontent that can result in missed revenue targets.

#1.  No follow-through.
Customers need to depend on your commitments. If your sales or service teams are making promises they don’t keep, you quickly lose the trusted advisor status that customers want from the people and companies that they buy from. According to a survey by Consumer Reports, 9 out of 10 customers will not stick around to do business a second time if you mess up on the first interaction.

Long-term, successful relationships, both personal and professional, depend on accountability and trust.

#2.  You make it difficult to buy.
Don’t throw obstacles in the path of your customers. Make sure that your web site is user-friendly and that your selling and buying processes are easy to navigate. Even in a complex sale that requires many steps and decisions, make sure that you maintain close communication with your customer and reach agreement at each stage as you work together.

Solution selling training can help you stay focused on what the customer needs most and how your proposed solution to their problem will help them to be successful. As long as the customer is convinced that you have their best interests at heart, they will stay engaged.

#3.  Your strategy is unclear.
Our organizational alignment research found that strategic sales clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing sales teams.  Does your sales team understand your sales strategy for success? Are your reps working at cross-purposes with some striving for a specific margin and portfolio mix while others are discounting like crazy to close any deal?

Your sales strategy should be top of mind and provide clear guidance for all sales activity. Otherwise, you risk undermining each other. The power and impact of pulling in the same direction cannot be underestimated.

When your go-to-market sales strategy, target client definition, value proposition, pricing, and account plans are clear, you can measure and reward the behaviors required to meet your goals.

#4.  Underperformance is tolerated.
Not only will poor salespeople push customers away, they will also drive top sales performers to look elsewhere. Establish clear, fair and transparent standards for performance, measure for them on a regular basis, and clarify consequences for under-performing.

Provide support and relevant business sales training for low performers and then, if no improvement is demonstrated within a reasonable time period, move them on.  Remember,  “A” players want to work with other “A” players.

#5.  There is little emotional investment.
The lack of emotional investment on the salesperson’s part can leave the customer feeling under-appreciated. Our research shows that sales conviction can improve revenue by almost 13%. Share your enthusiasm for your service and your customers will reflect your positive feelings.

By the same token, customers that stay for the long-term identify with the values of the brand you represent. Customers are loyal to what the business stands for. Think of Zappos, the online retailer, with its famous promise of “wow” service; or Toms shoes that gives away a pair of shoes to the needy with every pair purchased; or Timberland that lives its value of community service through its GREEN standard (Grassroots, Recycle, Engagement of community, Education, Neutral impact).

The closer your corporate values align with your customer’s values, the stronger their loyalty to you and to your brand.

The Bottom Line
High performing sales teams can make all the difference.  To stay ahead of the pack, keep an eye out for these five sales team warning signs of customer discontent.  Then do something about it.

To learn more about getting the most out of your sales team, download What is the Right Amount of Sales Performance Pressure?


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