If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably been in a sales organization long enough to have faced a few internal obstacles. The reality is that no company is without gaps in their process, no matter how much they work to improve their systems.
As someone that worked for two big organizations over the span of about 10 years, I’ve encountered my fair share of internal obstacles and have learned a few things.
First, sales must go on!
Here at CFS, we hear so many reasons why sales have slowed or have been lost all together because of internal issues. Below are a few common internal obstacles and some tips on tackling them.
Internal Obstacles to Tackle
Complaint #1: Our sales operations process takes too long.
An Insertion Order is received and the client wants to start their campaign the same week, but we have to reserve inventory (2-3 days), request a contract (another 2-3 days), and then still have our team review the IO sent to us AND test creative tags (up to 4 days!). By this time, the client is impatient and annoyed that their campaign is not live yet.
The best way to tackle this complaint is to encourage your sales team NOT to blame the internal process. Your operations team is set up a certain way for workflow, and there’s not much that can be done to change it immediately. Starting a task force to create a better workflow between sales and all other departments can help as a first step to curing this (and hopefully get it off of the “internal obstacles” list!).
What you CAN do is have your sales team set expectations appropriately with the client.
I know, everyone says this—and in reality, when an IO comes, salespeople don’t want to rock the boat.
However, it’s just as important for the client to understand the internal process at your organization as it is for your salespeople to make the sale. Trust me on this one: it sets a level playing field from the get-go and your team will have a much more successful, long-lasting, and respectful relationship with clients.
Not to mention, they can plan appropriately when sending an IO with a campaign start date.
Complaint #2: We don’t have enough inventory/product.
I have a media background and this was one of the common internal obstacles for me having worked at two publishing groups.
As our inventory became more and more targeted to a specific persona, the amount of inventory was reduced. Rather than walking away from the business, or only taking a chunk of the budget proposed, there are ways to get creative and still provide an effective campaign.
Before your salespeople call the client and tell them your company can only deliver on a fraction of their request, connect with the inventory and marketing teams to see what else may be possible.
1. Have team members talk to the other salespeople whose campaigns are reserved with the media they need and see if there’s any flexibility on switching dates. They’ll be surprised to find that their colleagues are able to help them out AND this gives them a reason to reach out to their clients with new strategy.
2. See if the salesperson can create different media bundles/packages for the client that incorporate their targeting, even if they are listed differently on their IO. Sometimes it’s just a matter of language and better understanding the client's exact needs.
To this point: it’s important that your salespeople do understand what their main goal is for the campaign. They very well may have some suggestions that the client was not aware of prior to a quick phone call!
In the world of constant emails, picking up the phone is most critical sometimes. Your sales team might discover that their client’s dates are flexible or that they were unaware of some of your other available marketing options.
Complaint #3: I’m too busy putting out fires at my company to make sales calls every week.
We hear this a lot!
Campaigns under deliver, account management forgets to send a client report, the campaign was linked to the wrong landing page, the contract is sitting with our legal team… the list goes on and on.
As I said in the beginning, no organization is without faults.
After all, we are all humans and sometimes we mess up.
First and foremost, salespeople should talk to their clients and own up to any human errors. If they’ve established a good rapport with them and set appropriate expectations, chances are they will be forgiving.
But, as it relates to their time and their sales calls—it’s really no excuse. Encourage your team to set aside time every week (or every day, whatever works best for them) to make their set sales calls.
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but this is all about time management. Something will always come up, so task your team members to make it a priority and stick to the calendar. They’ll find that this will resolve the issues in a much calmer fashion if it doesn’t interrupt their day completely.
What other internal issues does your team run into? And how have you helped to solve them? Feel free to comment below, we’d love to hear more!