Over the past year I’ve had the opportunity to interview several hundred business-to-business salespeople about how they win over prospective clients and the circumstances when they lose. These interviews were conducted with salespeople across a wide variety of industries including high technology, telecommunications, financial services, consulting, industrial equipment, healthcare, and electronics, to name a few. Their companies ranged from start-ups to billions of dollars in sales with the majority being between $50 million and $500 million in annual revenue.
During the interviews I always ask the salespeople to describe the top challenges they were facing. Specifically, I try to find the obstacles that prevent them from closing more business (as opposed to a general list of items that made their job more difficult). Since I didn’t want to influence their answers, I asked open-ended questions instead of providing them with a list of topics to be ranked. Below, you will find the most frequently mentioned responses prioritized from most to least important.
No Decision. The real enemy of salespeople today isn’t their archrivals; it’s no decision….more