Demystifying the sales function and effective ways to overcome common challenges experienced in sales

4 minutes

Working within sales, no matter what industry, often leads to sales professionals experiencing many challenges and objections. Busy schedules, huge targets, scores of competition, and ever-evolving customer expectations are just a few of the common everyday challenges sales people must overcome.

In this article, we highlight some of the common challenges faced by sales professionals, demystify common myths centred around sales and share practical tips to overcome challenges to lead you to success!

Myths and Misconceptions of the Sales Function

In a recent Conversations with CSG Podcast, Taahir Patel discussed the need to shift perspective on sales with Harrison Waid, Founder of Succession. Harrison emphasized the importance of moving beyond stereotypes of smooth talking, or pushy persuasive sales, it’s about understanding the customers needs, focusing on problem solving and providing them with solutions the fit their individual needs.

Harrison Waid – “Sales is about asking good questions, not pushing products. It’s success lies in tailoring solution through active listening and insightful enquiry.”

The conversation between Taahir and Harrison delves into the multifaceted world of sales, offering insights into the challenges, strategies and evolving sales landscape. From the art of effective communication to the necessity of ongoing training, this podcast provides a comprehensive view of what it takes to succeed in sales. Listen to the full podcast here – (Podcast link once live)

What are three common myths about sales?

With stereotypes and preconceived views on sales people, and the sales function, the profession and role sales play can often be clouded. Here are three common myths that surround the sales function:

Natural or innate gift for sales

There are certain traits and personality types that appear to excel within a sales capacity, but this isn’t essential to sales success. You can learn the sales process, develop your skills and expand your knowledge which will allow you to build on your skillset and succeed in a sales role. The common myth around sales success being directly linked with those who are extroverts and big on communication often deters different personality types from pursuing careers in sales, when they could in fact, add tremendous value.

Pushy sales approach

Traditional sales, being pushy and applying pressured tactics are a thing of the past – or at least, for those keen to build quality and genuine relationships with customers and stakeholders. Instead a common myth of ‘closing deals at any cost’, sales professionals are focused on long term relationships with customers, understanding their problem areas and offering solutions to tackle their pain points. With this approach, trust and respect is formed and successful sales strategies are experienced.

Limited career growth opportunities

There are perceptions across sales which imply there are limited opportunities for career growth with static career paths. This is not the case. There are multiple opportunities for development and growth working within sales, with rewarding and dynamic career paths whether that’s progressing through management and leadership capacities, people and performance management or commercial and strategic paths. The skills and experience gained through working in sales can be transferred across industries and functions, so there is huge potential for growth across an array of areas.

Working in a sales role can be highly rewarding, and ultimately it’s about building long-standing, meaningful relationships, mastering the art of the ‘sell’ and adding value to your customers.

What are the five most common challenges faced by sales people?

Lead Generation

To succeed in sales, a core starting point is finding quality, qualified leads. The sales landscape has massively evolved and the days of cold calling no longer achieve the desired results. Sales professionals must be more creative in their approach to sales and proactively identify the type of audience and customer they want to attract and build effective plans which will result in a solid pipeline. In a digital world, online presence plays a huge part in this process, from building a strong presence online through social media, attendance at networking events, strong commercial planning and collaboration with marketing teams. These approaches will help drive leads in modern day sales.

Building Trust and Relationships

Building relationships with trust and credibility is a key part of sales success, and it’s no easy task for sales people. Trusted relationships don’t happen overnight, to build strong relationships, its important to move away from the traditional transactional approach and spend time understanding customers needs, priorities and challenges. Positioning yourself as a trusted advisor who can consult with customers, understanding how to overcome their pain points and offer value add solutions is essential to build long-standing partnerships. Empathy is a great skill for sales professionals, to display this alongside expertise and genuine interest in your customers goals and success will drive your own success.

Objection Handling

A common challenge for anyone working in sales, is overcoming objections. No matter how amazing your service offering may be, or how innovative and effective your product, objection handling is a standard part of the process. Some of the common objections experienced can be budget restrictions, price margins, increased competition on the market, lack of communication with key decision makers and lack of awareness of brands, products or services.

Positive Attitude and Motivation

To work in sales, you must become resilient.  Rejection and challenge are part of the sales process and it can sometimes become quite a negative environment when things don’t go the way you desire. To remain motivated throughout your sales activity and to keep track on successful results, it’s important to be positive and have a proactive mindset. As part of this process, set achievable and realistic goals, collaborate with team members to share successes and challenges, keep a balanced work and lifestyle, celebrate your wins and ensure you learn from each experience, good and bad.

Time Management

We operate in a fast-paced world, especially within sales. A critical skill for anyone working in sales is effective time management and planning. Managing your daily/weekly/monthly tasks in line with the goals you want to achieve will allow you to work more effectively in the time you have. Days can often be overwhelming, we’re all guilty of procrastination and it’s important to take a step back and prioritise the tasks that give you the most value, and ultimately the most results. There are tools available to help you with good time management and planning, this can enable you to stay focused and productive throughout your day. We recommend and Notion which our marketing team see huge value in.

If you’re keen to delve deeper into challenges within sales, key skills gaps and common sales myths – Check out Conversations with CSG: Overcoming Common Misconceptions and Challenges within the Sales Function with Taahir Patel and Harrison Waid. 

Speak to an executive recruiter

At CSG Talent, our expert recruiters are well equipped and knowledgeable on all aspects of the sales cycle, including common challenges and finding successful solutions, through their own experience and through insights from clients and candidates. If you’re keen to have a conversation around your career growth, current sales opportunities available across the globe, or you’re keen to attract core sales talent to your business – Get in touch with our expert team at CSG Talent for an initial conversation.