Bottlenecks make any business process inefficient and slow, but they’re especially damaging when it comes to sales as delays and oversights can put off your potential customers and result in revenue loss.
Luckily, bottlenecks can usually be easily eliminated with a few process improvements, but first, you need to identify exactly what’s causing them.
These are the most common sales bottlenecks that might be impeding your sales, as well as a few tips and tricks to eliminate them.
Targeting the Wrong Customers
Chasing the wrong customer can be very disappointing and inefficient. Once you realize the prospect you’ve been focusing on for months isn’t interested in making a purchase, and probably never was, you’ll have already wasted valuable time and resources on them.
Hitting dead-ends from time to time is inevitable in sales, but if you do proper research and utilize data, you can mitigate these issues.
One of the best ways to make more accurate predictions and figure out which prospects are actually worth focusing on is by analyzing your existing customer data and creating buyer personas.
Finding prospects with similar habits and behavior patterns as your existing customers instead of casting a wide net and hoping for the best will help you eliminate bottlenecks and sell more without wasting time and resources on lukewarm prospects.
It might seem more productive to reach out to more potential customers, however targeting fewer customers that fit your buyer persona is much more effective. Focusing on the right prospects will result in higher conversion rates without overloading your sales team and leaving them with more time to focus on closing deals.
Inefficient Lead Nurturing
It’s not enough to just stop wasting your time on leads who are not really interested in buying. You need to channel this attention to those who are interested but need a bit more convincing.
Moving through the sales funnel can be a slow journey and you need to make sure that your leads are given proper attention at every step of the way.
It’s not uncommon to encounter bottlenecks mid-sales funnel. It can take a significant amount of time to close the deal from the moment you make the initial contact. That’s why it’s essential to make sure your lead nurturing strategy is efficient.
In order to keep your leads engaged and interested, you need to stay on their radar and be at their disposal if they have any concerns or questions.
Manual Lead Management
Spreadsheets can only take you so far when it comes to lead management. Using multiple Excel sheets, paper documents, and email threads to capture important lead data and manually qualify leads is far from ideal. It’s not only time-consuming but also less accurate and can result in missed opportunities.
To avoid bottlenecks caused by manual lead management, find the right sales engagement platform which will allow you to automate tasks such as lead scoring and lead routing and focus more on providing leads with the necessary attention.
Automation will help you eliminate guesswork and boost productivity, by allowing you to focus more on closing deals instead of wasting time on determining who to call next.
With manual lead management out of the way, your sales reps will make more accurate predictions and won’t forget to follow up on leads while they’re still hot and keep them engaged.
Improper Data Collection
Technical issues and human errors can greatly contribute to sales bottlenecking, especially when it comes to data collection.
Incomplete or missing data, non-uniform data, and decentralized databases can all create bottlenecks and communication difficulties both with customers and within the organization.
To avoid these issues, consider establishing mandatory fields when creating customer profiles in order to avoid missing data and build predefined dropdown menus to ensure that the collected data is uniform and consistent, which will make it much easier to search and analyze your data.
Another important thing to keep in mind is software integrations which will allow you to bring all of your sales automation and CRM software together into one unified system and create a centralized database that your entire team can easily access.
Waiting for Approvals
Approval delays are another sales bottleneck that’s likely to irritate both your customers and your sales team.
There’s nothing more frustrating than finding the right lead, nurturing them for months, finding the right product for them, only to wait for approval once they request a discount before making the final purchase.
No matter how much time and effort you put into keeping them engaged throughout the entire sales process, waiting for an answer completely halts the progress.
To avoid delays, you can set up an automated approval process or create approval levels and clearly define who’s in charge of approving what.
Most customers are too impatient to tolerate any delays once they decide to make a purchase, so it’s crucial to minimize the waiting time as much as possible. Make sure to always respond to their requests and deliver approved quotes quickly and efficiently.
You might think that you don’t have to worry about bottlenecks anymore once you’ve completed a sale. However, there’s still room for unnecessary and damaging holdups even after the deal is closed.
If you don’t follow up on time after the purchase, or don’t follow up at all, you’re missing the opportunity to cross-sell, upsell, and gain loyal customers who will gladly come back and be your brand advocates.
To make sure that nothing slips through the cracks, you can rely on automation to send personalized sales email templates, thank-you notes, conduct customer satisfaction surveys, and send personalized offers based on the previous purchase.
Over to You
Bottlenecks are a common occurrence in any business process and you can’t expect to completely get rid of them. However, there are many common roadblocks in the sales process that you can easily detect and eliminate and avoid missing on closing deals.
Make sure to target the right customers and properly collect data that will help you manage leads more efficiently. Automation can be extremely helpful in eliminating bottlenecks at every step of the way, from making the initial contact to following up after the sale is completed, so use it to its best advantage.