September 25, 2019

New Study Reveals Top Sales Leadership Challenges and Priorities

Over 420 sales leaders disclose top obstacles and primary focus in next 12 months; 52% ranked recruiting and hiring as biggest hurdle, 70% say primary focus is on improving sellers’ ability to communicate value.

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (June 12, 2019) — RAIN Group, a global sales training and performance improvement company, released findings from its latest study on Top Sales Leadership Challenges and Priorities.

Led by the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research, a group of analysts studied responses from 423 sales, enablement, and company leaders to better understand their greatest obstacles and primary focus over the next 12 months.

Below are some of the most surprising revelations from the study:

Top 4 Sales Challenges

  • 52% Recruiting and hiring
  • 41% Lead quality and quantity
  • 40% Developing sales skills
  • 36% Developing sales managers

Top 4 Sales Priorities

  • 70% improve ability to communicate value
  • 65% Improve productivity of sellers and sales teams
  • 64% Increase business with existing accounts
  • 62% Improve customer retention, repeat business, renewals

“This study was particularly fascinating because it revealed not only current trends in sales today, but also the needs to be addressed in the future. Nearly all of these challenges can be overcome, and all of these priorities can be achieved by focusing on three sales enablement strategies. If sales leaders can improve sales productivity, develop multi-skilled sellers, and leverage sales managers, they’ll be in a prime position to drive success,” said Mike Schultz, co-president of RAIN Group and director of the research division.

The study also revealed that it takes an average of three months to onboard a new seller who’s ready to interact with buyers, nine months until a new seller is competent to perform, and 15 months to become a top performer.

“That’s a huge investment in time and resources to get sellers up to speed and performing at a high level. We know that hiring and recruiting is a top challenge for sales leaders. It can be a less critical though. We conducted a groundbreaking productivity study, finding that 47 percent of people waste a great deal of time during a workday; that’s nearly half of a sales force. If you increased their productivity, you’d have the net effect of hiring more sellers.”

In addition, sellers were asked to weigh in on their most challenging issues. Not surprising, 43 percent ranked prospecting/gaining appointments as their biggest challenge.