Research shows that while sales professionals’ top concern is prospecting, a more pressing need is for a better way to identify the most promising leads earlier in the sales process and convert them to sales more quickly. These are the findings of a global survey of 1,636 sales professionals on the top challenges they face and 500 one-on-one qualitative interviews of sales professionals over a three-year period by Pipedrive, provider of the first CRM platform built from the salesperson’s point of view.
According to the survey, about half of the 76 per cent of sales professionals who consider prospecting to be “quite” or “extremely” important struggle with it. When asked which activities in the sales process need the most improvement, sales professionals responded as follows:
Activities Needing Most Improvement Sales Reps Sales Managers
- Prospecting - Sales Reps 37% ; Sales Managers 47%
- Increasing the conversion rate of deals - Sales Reps 30% ; Sales Managers 31%
- Moving deals through a pipeline faster - Sales Reps 15% ; Sales Managers 12%
- Increasing the average deal value - Sales Reps 18% ; Sales Managers 10%
According to Jeff Paradise, Chief Revenue Officer of Pipedrive, “Every sales professional wants more leads. But the million-dollar question is, ‘What is the next best lead?’ We know from our in-depth interviews with sales professionals every year that chasing poor quality leads that have a low probability of converting to a sale is an unproductive and costly waste of time. If salespeople could screen out poor leads quickly and focus exclusively on leads with the greatest likelihood of closing, they’d close more deals and increase average deal value with a lot less effort.”
Paradise continued, “Great salespeople seem to know intuitively which leads to follow. Others need help. CRM systems should evolve to helping salespeople find and stay focused on the best leads. Our research gives us a deeper understanding of CRM from the salesperson’s point of view. How do we help salespeople make every sales action one that improves, and doesn’t disrupt, the sales flow? How do we continually help make them more efficient, and productive? One issue is clearly ‘advanced lead prospecting,’ which can improve qualifying, and prioritising leads to help improve sales conversion rates."
Other survey results revealed that of the sales professionals who struggle with lead generation, 56 per cent rely on leads being fed to them versus generating their own.
Also, sales executives were asked to select their key sources for lead generation. “Prospects contact me”(68%) and “recommendation” (61%) were the top two ways followed by “website leads” by half of the respondents. Other sources cited were, “conferences and events,” “social media,” “Google,” “LinkedIn,” “purchased leads,” and “door to door.”