Obstacles to Effective Selling

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					Addressing and Overcoming Six Common Obstacles to Sales Effectiveness

By Stephen Vobbe - Life-Long Sales Person December, 2004

Dovarri, Inc. 5718 Westheimer Suite 1440 Houston, TX 77057 713.273.6880

If you are reading this white paper, you are interested in technology and how technology can help your business. If you’re like a lot of us in business, technology has not lived up to the great expectations. Companies like yours are still searching for solutions that can dramatically impact sales and income growth. For a large part, sales and income growth depend on the efficiency and effectiveness of the company’s sales and marketing organization. This white paper identifies six common obstacles that prevent companies from being as effective as they should be or need to be. Additionally, this document will highlight examples of how Dovarri’s sales effectiveness solution overcomes each of those obstacles through the use of technology and best-of-breed selling principles.
Who Should Read This Document?

About This Document

This document is intended to address the needs of the following roles inside companies: • President/CEO • Director of Sales • Sales Representatives/Account Executives • VP of Sales • Sales Managers • IT Professionals tasked with finding a sales solution


This publication contains the following topics: Topic Executive Summary Lack of Access Lack of Focus Lack of Accountability Lack of Predictability Lack of Actionable Information Lack of IT Infrastructure About Dovarri See Page 3 4 5 7 9 11 13 15


Executive Summary
This document is titled Addressing and Overcoming Six Common Obstacles to Sales Effectiveness. I’ve been in sales for a long time. I’ve worked with my own sales organization and the sales organizations of other companies for a long time as well. Every single sales organization either is dealing with or has dealt with the six obstacles outlined in this document. While some have figured out how to overcome those obstacles, many companies big and small still struggle today. This document focuses more on sales effectiveness than efficiency. Sales effectiveness is to bring about a result – a sale. Not just any sale, but a profitable sale. Not just one profitable sale, but many profitable sales. Sales efficiency is about how much activity you can generate in your sales efforts. Often you hear “selling is a numbers game.” So the theory is the more people your sales people touch the more sales they will make. Maybe, maybe not.
Six Obstacles preventing your company from being as effective as it should be.



• Lack of Access – the sales person sitting in front of the customer who is ready to give the order, if the sales person only knew they had product in inventory. • Lack of Focus – focusing on all prospects instead of just the best prospects. • Lack of Accountability – not knowing if your sales person is going to be successful earlier in his/her tenure. • Lack of Predictability – not being able to accurately predict spikes in demand as a result of multiple customers closing at the same time, putting stress on resources. • Lack of Actionable Information – not having the right information to make good decisions about utilization of capital and human resources. • Lack of IT Infrastructure – not having the resources or expertise to effective leverage technology to drive growth.


Lack of Access
Sales people are mobile by nature. They are in the field working with customers, or at least they ought to be working with customers. Too often sales people are not able to satisfy customer requests simply because they do not have the access to the answers that are back at the office sitting in a database somewhere.
Importance of Access

The scenario here is the sales person sitting in front of a customer ready to give him an order, if only the sales person knew he had the inventory to fulfill the order and the resources to deliver. Or the customer is negotiating price with the sales representative who does not fully understand company discounting guidelines and he/she needs to leave the customer to get approval from the sales manager, giving that prospect a chance to work with another supplier of your product or service. Personal relationships still dominate the place where critical business decisions are being made in key prospect and customer account scenarios. Sales people are forging those relationships and need the access to key customer and company data to support those relationships that are being built in the field. Providing mobile access to customer and company data can: • Free sales people and buyers to focus on developing key account relationships, • Empower sales people and buyers with information when they enter negotiations through remote access to corporate data, • Allow management to be up to date with information whenever sales people are engaging with suppliers, customers, partners or shareholders.

Overcoming Lack of Access

Sales solutions need to support sales people on the device of their choice. From laptop to phone. Connected or disconnected from the internet.


Lack of Focus
Effective sales organizations are focused on quality customer acquisition and customer retention. Quality prospects, opportunities and customers. Especially true in down economic times where the myth of “any prospect is a good prospect” surfaces, too many sales organizations focus and manage on activity. In working with sales organizations over the years, I’ve found that every sales organization has sales people wasting company resources and their time on prospects the company does not want on its customer list.
Questions Lead to Focus

A large portion of your prospects are never going to buy from you. What if you could easily identify only the best prospects and focus your time closing just those sales? John H. Patterson (father of American salesmanship) said “nothing in business is as valuable as time.” By spending time chasing “bad opportunities”, you are missing out on being able to spend time on the “good opportunities.” What makes a “good opportunity” vs. a “bad opportunity” for your organization? Take a look at your ideal customer profile. How do your sales reps know which prospect fits that profile and those that do not fit the profile? Top sales reps investigate sales opportunities by asking questions and making decisions based on the customers’ responses. Is your best customer profile available to your entire sales force to use in identifying those “good opportunities?” Those opportunities that are more likely to purchase from your company than the “bad opportunities?” “Do you have 25 of them – the most powerful questions you can create – at your fingertips? No? Join the crowd. 95% of all sales people don’t. That could be why only 5% of sales people rise to the top. Just a theory (or is it?).” – Jeffrey Gitomer, The Patterson Principles of Selling
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Lack of Focus, Continued
By taking your ideal customer profile and breaking it down into format that is usable and intuitive for sales people, your sales people will know which opportunities to focus on and which ones to let go. Additionally, managers and executives will be able to better forecast sales by taking all the subjectivity out of forecasting and making decisions based on real customer data. Focus on just the best opportunities based on feedback from the customer.

Overcoming Lack of Focus

Opportunity qualification analysis.

Prompts sales rep on next action.


Lack of Accountability
Hiring sales people is difficult at best. I’ve actually worked in sales organizations that gave their sales people 12 months to sell their first deal. Now I can understand ramp-up time, but those 12 months are a drain on company profits. Making sales people accountable and identifying if they will be successful or not earlier in their tenure is critical to an effective sales organization. Accountability is a good thing for everybody, and you should not fear running your sales force off. “Weak sales people look at quotas and become fearful. Mediocre sales people look at quotas as a goal. Great sales people look at quotas and laugh.” – Jeffrey Gitomer (renowned sales guru and author of Sales Bible.)
Importance of Accountability

“DDG (Double Digit Growth) companies have greater accountability for results through stretch goal setting, pay-for-performance compensation practices, and a consistent performance orientation in managing people,” Hewitt Research Brief, Double-Digit Growth Companies Exemplify Best Practices in Sales Effectiveness. Accountability is at both the individual and organizational level. Effective sales organizations set goals at the individual level and do not mix a specific sales representative’s goals with team goals. Additionally, effective sales organizations are more likely to set goals based on profitability for key executives and sales people.
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Lack of Accountability, Continued
With the right sales technology solution, sales managers and company executives can know if their sales organization is on track to meet, exceed or miss company revenue targets. Below is an example of what a management dashboard can do for sales managers and executives. Is your company involved in enough opportunities in order to meet company targets?

Overcoming Lack of Accountability

Know in an instant if your sales team is being successful or not.

Always keep track of your biggest prospects.

Are your sales people doing what they need to be doing in order to be successful?


Lack of Predictability
How is the month going? I bet you have an idea, but do you know exactly what sales have closed and if your company is involved in enough sales decisions this month to hit your numbers? If you are like many organizations, then probably not. Too often companies do not really know how the month is going until after the books are already closed. Back in 2001, Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) got caught with this very problem. They ramped up inventories in order to meet what they thought was the customer demand. In providing guidance to Wall Street analysts, Cisco CFO Larry Carter had this to say “In an effort to meet our customer expectations, we continued to increase our inventory and capacities to keep up with rising demand. This (additional $2.5 billion) charge reflects the recent significant and unexpected drop in customer demand.” Wow. I know those were tough times, but $2.5 billion in excess inventory? Even after the $2.5 billion charge, the company had excess inventory of about $1.6 billion. Not even Cisco knew how the quarter was going to turn out until it was too late.
Importance of Process in Enabling Predictability

Effective sales organizations have a well-defined process (a proven roadmap to success that is repeatable) that is dispersed throughout the sales ranks. From lead generation, prospect qualification, customer acquisition to delivery, these companies have deployed a best practice that makes them successful. Effective sales organizations regularly measure progress based on sales process. Not surprisingly, Insight Technology Group found that approximately 50% of companies polled have yet to even document a sales process let alone implement. By measuring sales progress based on process, you will be able to track, based on customer feedback, when sales will close. If you’re focused on qualified prospects that are seriously considering your solution, then they will tell you when they need the solution in place and when they plan on making a decision. Sure these dates change, but you will be able to plan your resources better by knowing what sales are going to close and when.
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Lack of Predictability, Continued
The example below shows how opportunity planning based on company sales processes and customer feedback can give sales representatives, managers and executives more confidence in when sales will close.

Overcoming Lack of Predictability

Visibility into planned decision date based on customer feedback. Probability driven from your own ideal customer profile parameters.

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Lack of Actionable Information
Not having the data that you need to make informed business decisions can cripple growth - whether those are decisions taking place in the field by sales people to make realistic promises, to better manage client expectations or back in the office in the form of feedback and measurements for a sales person, or in the ability of senior management to make key decisions required to optimize the organization’s resources and align them with growth.
Importance of Actionable Information

It’s not just about real time information anymore. Technology delivers real time information. But what can you do with it? Sale Representatives: Too often I hear from sales reps out there “my relationship with these tools (CRM/SFA applications) is a one-way street. I always am putting data in just so my manager knows what I am doing, but it does nothing to help me sell.” Technology should deliver relevant, actionable information to sales representatives at every step of the sales process. From surfacing pending decisions to providing feedback on which opportunities to focus on, sales technology should help sales reps sell more. After all, that’s what sales people really want. Sales Managers: Top-performing sales reps are at the top for a reason. Sales managers need to be able to identify best practices of the top sales people and push them out to the rest of the sales force. Sales technology should not just deliver the information that tells you who are your top reps but also the information that tells you why they are performing at the top. Company Executives: A key part of an executive’s role is to ensure company resources (human and capital) are aligned with the company’s growth plans. Your sales force is closest to the customer, and your customers are telling your sales force where their business is going. Customers tell your reps why they buy or why they didn’t buy. In that information may be a shift in purchase patterns or an adjacent market your company could enter with low cost to entry. Information should flow from the “field” through your sales technology on up so you can make good decisions about the allocation of company resources.
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Lack of Actionable Information, Continued
One of the biggest complaints I hear from sales people when discussing CRM/SFA solutions is that their relationship with the solution is a one-way street. Always having to put stuff in, but getting nothing out that helps them sell more. The example below is surfacing pending decisions to the top so that no opportunity falls through the cracks. Take action on pending decisions.

Overcoming Lack of Actionable Information

Stay out in front of your top proposals.

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Lack of IT Infrastructure
The reason this white paper describes the obstacles as “common” is because they can be found in most sales organizations, in varying degrees. I rarely come across an Owner, President, CEO, VP of Sales or Sales Manager who would not like to increase profits and get more out of their sales force. So, if you’ve been thinking about the first five obstacles addressed in this document and how they apply to your business, then you’ll agree that these obstacles are common. So what can you do about? Go visit with the CIO and discuss these obstacles and brainstorm technology solutions to overcome the obstacles.
CIO Priorities

If you visit with your CIO or IT department, you may find they have other critical technology priorities tying up IT resources. Those priorities are likely (Gartner CIO Priorities 2004): • Security • Disaster recovery/business continuity • PC replacement • Existing application upgrades • Compliance with government regulations All those priorities are critical to your business. But without sales, there would be no other priorities. Fortunately, there are sales technology solutions that provide you with an entire IT infrastructure where you can solve your business issues and not add to or further stress your IT resources. These solutions are known as ASP (Application Service Providers) and they allow you to subscribe to a software solution as a service with very little upfront investment and low monthly user fees.
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Lack of IT Infrastructure, Continued
When looking for a sales effectiveness solution, you need to evaluate available IT resources. Look for a solution provider that will deliver the solution with the flexibility to allow you to outsource the IT infrastructure or bring it in-house.

Overcoming Lack of IT Infrastructure

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About Dovarri
Dovarri, Inc. is a sales-centric Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications provider focused on increasing clients’ profits by increasing the overall effectiveness of the clients’ sales organization. Dovarri’s intelligent technology architecture (Microsoft .NET) allows for customization of its sales effectiveness solution around the customers’ specific sales processes. With personalization, quick installation, speed and value, Dovarri gives its clients a competitive advantage through enhanced sales using Dovarri’s unique sales process-driven road map, faster response times, greater efficiency and minimal disruptions. Dovarri realizes that salespeople are mobile by definition. Other solutions may provide a “dumbed-down” version of the solution on mobile devices, but Dovarri offers the same powerful suite of sales tools anywhere your access devices may be, from desktop to your handheld device. Whether you need comprehensive management overviews or real-time customer data, Dovarri delivers the same complete product – and the exact same views – in the office or on the road. Dovarri’s sales effectiveness software is designed by salespeople for salespeople – using technology to make teams more focused and successful. We set up each customer solution to qualify your best leads, so sales people can better manage their time. We guide users through the “what next?” process that you know leads up to a close. Sales people get the direction they need, and managers get the information they need. The bottom line is increased profits. Your business is unique. That’s why we personalize your Dovarri solution to your organization’s specific requirements. We show you the data you want to see, just the way you want to see it. And, depending on your IT needs and your environment, Dovarri can be delivered via our secure ASP servers or from you in-house servers. Either way, you get the same powerful, flexible, intuitive solution. It’s all about your organization.
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About Dovarri, Continued
Built from the ground up, with the latest Microsoft® .NET and Web Services technologies, Dovarri sales technology gives you the most powerful, adaptable platform on the market today. So powerful, in fact, that you’ll hardly know it’s there. Except for the results. Even though it is delivering more customer information, management oversight and strategic direction than you thought possible, it all comes to you through a familiar, easy-to-use web-based format. And it still offers as much speed, security and reliability as your critical data demands. Dovarri’s solutions are easy to learn and easy to love. Because Dovarri integrates into familiar Microsoft Office® applications – including Outlook®, InfoPath®, Excel®, and Word® - it is exceptionally quick to learn and put to work. The screens navigate in such a way that is intuitive to selling. We’ve eliminated all the time-consuming data-based tasks that sales people hate – and given them the support, intelligence and data they want! Time saved on implementation, training and utilization means return on your Dovarri investment can happen faster. So you save money and make money.
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About Dovarri, Continued
“Armed with the Dovarri mobile solution on a HP iPAQ Pocket PC or HP Compaq Tablet PC, sales professionals will have a flexible, user-friendly mobile sales solution with the power for extensive reporting capabilities that management demands. With quick and simple implementation and the rapid return on investment and increased competitive advantage through improved customer responsiveness.” Richard Stone Manager, Wireless and Mobility Solutions Hewlett-Packard Americas “As people who have followed me know, I have never before recommended the use or need of any SFA product to close sales. Dovarri changed my view on this subject. Dovarri gets it, we bought it, and I personally recommend it.” Jeffrey Gitomer Founder, TrainOne Syndicated columnist in 85 business journals across the United States and Europe “Having struggled with other sales technology solutions, Dovarri is like a breath of fresh air. Dovarri was easy to implement, easy to learn and prepare our students for the future of real world selling. After seeing how well Dovarri performed in our classroom environment, we decided to use the Dovarri solution throughout the Bauer College of Business.” Eli Jones, Ph. D Executive Director, The Program for Excellence in Selling University of Houston Bauer College of Business “When we began looking for a solution for our sales team, we found that we needed to lower our expectations to what was available, until we discovered Dovarri. With Dovarri, we not only achieved our dreams but Dovarri’s capabilities actually exceeded anything we ever could have hoped for. With Dovarri, we are projecting a 40 to 60 percent growth in sales and a much happier sales team.” Juan Ortega Regional Sales Manager Better Business Bureau

What People Say About Dovarri

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