The Sales Recruiting Blog

The 3 Biggest Sales Problems

Three Biggest Sales Problem

The majority of business owners and sales leaders believe that developing sustainable sales is one of the most difficult tasks that they face each year. Here is what we discovered most companies face as their biggest sales problems and how they can be fixed.

Sales Problem #1

No Sales Playbook

This is similar to building a house without a solid foundation—or going from New York to Chicago without a GPS or map. A solid foundation and a plan are keys to success. In addition, leading sports teams and their coaches have a “playbook” to win games. The coach develops the playbook and the players execute the plays to win. Here are the major problems of not having a Sales Playbook of solutions to increase sales.

No U.S.P. (Unique Selling Proposition)
  • Many companies use “quality and service” as their U.S.P.—but all businesses say it and therefore it is not unique
Create and lead with a powerful U.S.P. in the marketplace to make your business truly unique in the prospect’s mind – separate yourself from your competitors
Failure to communicate
  • Benefits vs. Features of their company’s products or services
  • Not showing how their products or services solve their prospect’s problems
Translate your company’s products and services into solutions instead of descriptions and features of what you sell.  Companies buy increased performance, better efficiency, cost reductions etc. that your company offers…emphasize the true benefits
Top Down Marketing vs. Bottom Up Selling
  • Pushing down products or services to the market
Listen to the marketplace and your customers and develop products and services that fit their needs and wants vs. what you want to try to sell
Sales Organization
  • Failure to restructure their sales force in a more efficient manner often to accomplish more with less
Look at re-designing your sales structure by having your sales force sell in specific market verticals, by selling only specific product s or services, or by specific territories. The more precise this system is, the better sales results you will achieve
Sales Positions
  • Repeating old hiring methods to choose a salesperson to do everything…which eliminates focus and results
Mix up your sales positions by hiring inside salespeople, lead generation people, and sales assistants to maximize your company’s sales productivity. For example, if you have a top sales performer, what assistance can you give them to further increase their daily sales performance?
Sales Problem #2

Sales Recruiting

The task of finding true sales professionals to reach and exceed their sales quotas consistently is challenging to most business owners and sales managers.  Consider these basic sales facts …

  • 20% of any sales force generally contributes 80% of a company’s sales (why did the bottom 80% even get hired?)
  • Over 50% of any sales force fails to reach their annual sales quotas regardless of industry
  • Sales has the highest turnover rate of any industry
  • Approximately 70% of any sales force is mis-matched…either they don’t have the right sales success profile or they are selling in the wrong industry which doesn’t match their skills
Hiring industry experience vs. true sales “talent”
  • The majority of hiring managers are inclined to hire a person with industry experience vs. hiring a person who has true sales talent.  Their reasoning is that the salesperson with industry experience can “hit the ground running” and does not require training. However, many times these people bring bad habits with them and cannot be re-trained into your company’s methods.
  • When you hire true sales talent they bring with them the characteristics that really count…self-motivation, integrity, tenacity and a real passion to sell. It’s not that difficult for them to learn about a company’s products and sales processes.
  • “Hire the athlete and teach them your sport.”
Hiring on your “gut feeling” or the “right chemistry”
  • Because a salesperson interviews well and says the right things, doesn’t mean that he/she is a good salesperson. You also like the person, but again, that doesn’t translate into consistent sales results
  • The solution is to use a Sales Assessment Tool that will measure a person’s true sales aptitude before they are hired.  It’s an objective measuring tool that greatly increases your chance of hiring true sales talent
Service vs. Product Selling (they are NOT the same)
  • If you are looking to hire a true sales “hunter” to sell a service, it’s very difficult for an account manager (a sales “farmer”) who has been selling products to be successful—even though they are both in sales
  • Selling an intangible–a service–is generally more difficult than selling a product because the sale depends upon customized solutions for a prospect vs. selling a commodity which is often price determined.
  • The most difficult task is finding a sales “hunter” selling a service vs. a sales “farmer” selling a product. The more complex the sale, the greater the need for a solution, problem-solving salesperson
  • Again, the solution is to measure a candidate’s true sales success profile vs. hiring a resume that shows a person has sales industry experience


Sales Problem #3

No Proven Sales Process

From our meetings with business owners and sales managers we have found that most do not offer a structured sales training program. In fact, in more than 50% of all sales presentations, the salesperson “wings it” vs. following a specific process for their presentation.

Inconsistent Sales Presentations
  • Resulting in poor closing ratios affecting both sales and profits for your company…money is left on the table and a good repeat customer is lost
  • The implementation of a customized sales presentation for your business, consisting of five interrelated parts:
    • Pre-call objective
    • Rapport
    • Probe
    • Present
    • Close
  • The three weakest points of most sales presentations are:
    • The probing stage whereby the salesperson does not ask enough open-ended questions to uncover a prospect’s problems.
    • The second biggest weakness of most salespeople is their failure to link their company’s solutions to the prospect’s problems (selling benefits vs. features)
    • The third greatest weakness is the lack of follow up by most people. Most sales occur after contact #3 and approximately 80% of any sales force quits after only the second contact with a prospect. Persistence is lacking in most salespeople
No Continuous Improvement Programs
  • Many companies do not have weekly sales meetings and training programs to reinforce sales skills. To improve your sales team needs to “sharpen their swords” every day. Sales meetings should be held weekly and be educationally-driven and not be forums for complaining.
  • For example, have a salesperson make a sales presentation in front of the manager and the rest of the sales staff…and give feedback on methods of improvement
  • Have each person read “Selling to the Heart” and present a summary of the major points of each chapter
  • Learning needs to be a continuous habit, especially in an industry as competitive as sales
Sales Metrics
  • How can a leader manage successfully what they cannot measure?
  • Research shows that you can increase productivity by implementing KPIs that measure a salesperson’s daily performance in number of presentations, proposals, follow ups and sales

Do you need to hire a top 20% sales person?

We can help you find a top professional sales person or sales manager for your company and help you eliminate costly sales hiring mistakes. Contact us at, call 678-421-1950, or message us via our contact page.



Sales recruiting expert and author, Jack Scherer helps business leaders drive new sales via our unique Sales Assessment Test and Custom Sales Playbooks. You can read Jack's sales books here, or hire him for sales seminars and workshops.

Proven Sales Recruiting

We help you drive new sales with our unique sales assessment test that measures a candidate’s true sales ability, and with custom sales playbooks, we provide salespeople a proven sales process for improving sales and driving growth. 


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