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The Biggest Symptom of Poor Sales Execution

How can a company have all of this…

  • Killer product
  • Top-flight leadership
  • Brilliant marketing

… and still fail? It’s simple. None of this matters if customers don’t buy the product.

According to Cory Bray, managing director of ClozeLoop, many management teams just don’t recognize the importance of sales execution. “When launching a new product, most companies are introducing them into markets saturated with products that offer similar solutions. Or, they are launching a new product which competes for the same budget as more established solutions. A lack of sales execution can stop a start-up in its tracks, but having a strong sales execution arm of the business can offer a start-up critical competitive advantage.”

What is a top challenge companies face when scaling up their sales organizations? Bray argues it can boil down to one thing: rigor of sales execution

Why Rigor of Sales Execution

Bray says many sales organizations think they have a rigorous process for sales execution ﹘ because they have a 300-page sales process manual. But that, he says, misses the point. “If you go into a discovery call, do you come out with either a pain you can solve for, or a disqualification event? That’s rigor ﹘ if you do that every single time.

“Once you identify that pain point, do you move into an acute demo focused on how you solve that pain point for that specific personae? In that potential customer’s specific market segment? With relevant customer stories? And a clear idea of where you are going to go next?” 

Ensuring that every sales conversation follows a rigorous approach means sales reps are spending their time working towards the next step in the sales process, or disqualifying leads quickly which allows the sales rep to open up bandwidth and focus on new prospects. 

There is nothing wrong with disqualifying ﹘ and losing ﹘ a lead fast. “Losing fast is great. I’m a fan of 15 minute no’s.”

Biggest Symptom of Poor Sales Execution

If your company has a big pipeline, but isn’t hitting sales goals, then it’s time to adopt a rigorous sales execution strategy.

As a first step, Bray recommends taking inventory of the pipeline: new deals, old deals, deals that haven’t been touched for weeks (or months). Take time to review notes on those deals and speak to the reps who managed them. It could be that sales reps are focused on the wrong pain point.

“If you see account notes that say the potential customer’s current product is too expensive, or that their current process is inefficient, your reps are barking up the wrong tree. Those things aren’t enough to get someone to go to their boss and ask for $50,000. Your sales team needs to find deeper pain points, and you need a more rigorous sales execution strategy.”

Another tip from Bray: “Listen to sales calls. Are your sales reps talking too much? Are they asking open-ended general questions? If so, that’s a problem. Reps should be listening, and then asking direct questions that lead to identifying a pain point that your product [or service] is uniquely positioned to solve.”

The Fix? Adopt a Sales Methodology

It is often the case that a company’s leadership team lacks any sales education. They’ve learned on the job and through experience, which may or may not be enough. Calling in experts to help establish a rigorous sales process with methodology can be a huge win. By implementing a process that includes clear guidelines on the structure of sales meetings and asking pain-based discovery questions, reps can more easily move deals through the pipeline ﹘ and close more.

Listen in as Cory Bray and Dario Priolo, CMO of Sciolytix, dive deeper into how companies can apply rigor to sales execution on the Disruptors & Innovators Podcast!

Author: Dario Priolo

Dario brings over 20 years of experience in the sales enablement and talent development industry. He has led marketing and strategy as CMO for leading companies like the Hay Group, Miller Heiman and Profiles International and has been part of 4 successful exits, including his own start-up.


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