Nobody likes hearing sales complaints but handled well, they’re a great indicator of how your team’s performing – and how you could improve it.

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Let’s face it, sales people don’t have the easiest of jobs. How many times have you had to deal with sales complaints about cold leads and phone numbers that don’t provide any results?

This blog lists some of the big sales complaints from salespeople. While some complaints may seem insignificant, there is a serious side: happy salespeople are productive salespeople. Remember: complaints are your friend. A complaint from your sales team is a trouble ticket that shows you where your process needs tweaking.

#1: “But my phone day’s Tuesday!”

Having a weekly plan of activity can be a good thing: leads prospecting on Monday, phoning on Tuesday, appointments on Wednesday and so on. But what if your prospects don’t follow the same schedule? What if they’re always in on Monday but Tuesday is used for travel?

If your team members work in patterns, is there any way you could work with their preferences? For a large enough database, yes. Many CRM applications can slice analytical data.

Suppose you discovered that the engineering sector tends to answer its phones on Fridays, while IT workers prefer Wednesdays? Armed with such insight, assigning leads becomes an exercise in increasing productivity and satisfying both staff and customers.

#2: “I’ve already made my targets this month.”

Studies show a marked slowdown in activity, per head, once targets are hit. If a big sale on the 15th takes Fred over his goals, he’ll tend to slacken off for the rest of the month.

Very often, this is tied to commission structures. Some sales departments limit the total commission pot, or reduce the percentage above a certain sales volume. Neither of these are exactly an incentive for your salesperson working the phones, although it limits your risk on paper.

There’s the clue: on paper. What else looks good on paper? A good CRM consultant can set up your purchase funnels and conversion probabilities to show you where increasing commission rates might be a good idea. For example, a three percent commission for the first £50,000 in sales each month might be worth upping to 5% after that level is reached, if it’d deliver an extra £35,000 in turnover.

#3: “But I’ve already sent him an email!”

As time goes on, you’ve probably heard sales complaints about how Generation Y (let alone Z) is harder to reach by phone. (In the mobile world, usage of voice minutes is actually going down.) Many salespeople think an email is just as good.

Today’s sales are made via a variety of contact touchpoints, building trust in bits and pieces over time. Here’s the thing: Customer Relationship Management applications that connect different channels (like phone, email and SMS) can show you which sequences work best.

So take your salespeople aside and show them the sequence of contacts that tends to produce results most often. Perhaps the first touch is indeed an email, but in 70 percent of successful sales, they received a phone call within 24 hours. Your salespeople may even have kept a cold lead warm by sending them a text message every two weeks.

#4: “That list’s been done to death.”

When your list has been contacted over and over again, it becomes a common sales complaint that there’s no life left in it. But studies demonstrate that an “old” but well-targeted list pulls far better than a fresh but untested one.

If a lead has stalled, it may be your customer journey that’s missing a few stages. Your CRM dashboard may be able to show you where the pinch-points are – and what actions (perhaps a new script, a side offer) can get the funnel moving again. Getting together with your marketing team may generate some ideas.

#5: “If I make those calls, I’ll have to put them on CRM.”

Last comes the real buzzkill – and it’s valid. If your CRM system makes it hard to add names or contact reports, wouldn’t you be tempted to “store up” notes to add later instead of keeping records updated in real-time?

This one plays hell with your weekly reports. So look at how people really use CRM, and redesign your dashboard and processes to make it easier for them. (Difficulty of use is a prime reason many CRM implementations fail.)

So for an antidote to all the complaints, remember: CRM serves your people, not the other way around.


Counteract your sales team’s complaints with these important points:

  • If your salespeople have patterns, see if there’s advantage in working with them.
  • Offer incentive schemes to make things better for everyone.
  • Show your salespeople the sequence that leads to a sale, not just the script.
  • Sales people respond to hard data. To change behaviour, always back up with evidence.
  • Updating CRM should be seen as a core part of sales success.

Keep your sales team happy by increasing the potential for profits with The ultimate guide to: upselling and cross selling.

This post first appeared on the Redspire blog.