Top Challenges for Sales Leaders in 2018 – What Keeps Sales Pros Up at Night?

What are the problems that are keeping sales leaders up at night? We wanted to find out, so we asked 500 executives what their top challenges are in 2018. It was not surprising to see that their top challenges revolve around building high quality pipeline, forecasting and prospecting, according to preliminary data from the latest XANT Labs research.

In collaboration with Sandler school of sales training, we polled 500 sales leaders, with titles of director, VP, EVP/SVP and C-suite or President. This study attempts to show what sales leaders consider their top people-related challenges, what are their top process-related challenges, as well as what they are doing to solve them.

Top Challenges for Sales Leaders in 2018

XANT will be publishing the study on top sales challenges later this month, so stay tuned for our research.

Here’s the low down of what we found out with this survey.

Top 3 process-related challenges:

  • Lead quantity and quality (25.9% of sales leaders identify this as a top challenge)
  • Prospecting (20.5% of sales leaders identify this as a top challenge)
  • Pipeline management & forecasting (18.6% of sales leaders identify this as a top challenge)

Top 3 people-related challenges:

  • Recruiting and hiring (40.8% of sales leaders identify this as a top challenge)
  • Culture (37.5% of sales leaders identify this as a top challenge)
  • Compensation (21.1% of sales leaders identify this as a top challenge)

Overall Top Challenges

When the data is combined and ranked according to order the the top five challenges leaders face are:

Recruiting and hiring People 40.8%
Culture People 37.5%
Lead quantity and quality Process 25.9%
Compensation People 21.1%
Prospecting Process 20.5%

Building Pipeline vs. Closing Pipeline

When asked which is more challenging, building pipeline opportunities vs. closing pipeline opportunities, a majority of sales leaders (63.48%) say that building pipeline opportunities is the hardest challenge.

Qualified pipeline is what keeps the sales department humming, so this was an unsurprising result. When sales reps have a full pipeline, they can easily discount low quality leads, and are not tempted to work on opportunities which don’t seem to be a good fit for the company.

Sales reps with a dwindling pipeline will be desperate to close deals, thus resort to tactics such as discounting the product, or bringing onboard ill-fitting customers.

What’s NOT a Challenge? Working with Millennials

What I was happy to see in this survey is– despite all the moaning in local and national press about millennials, very few of the sales leaders we polled identify working with millennials as a top challenge.

Which is pretty much what I’ve been preaching all along– millennials are not a hinder, but rather a valuable resource in the work space when you equip them with the right technology. 

I hope this is enough to raise your interest on this study coming out this month from XANT Labs.

Join the Sales Leadership Conference

If you’re a sales leader looking for ways to deal with all these challenges XANT is hosting the largest online Sales Leadership Conference, and it’s due in April April 18th. This is a one day online conference, where you’ll be able to learn from some of the most influential leaders in the US.

These leaders will share exactly what’s working today to produce growth in their company, and how to react to changing demographics of their market.

There are 36 speakers from companies like T-Mobile, CenturyLink, Microsoft, Korn Ferry Hay Group, Forrester, New York Stock Exchange, Domo, Marketo, MarketSource, BCG Consulting Group, LogMeIn, CA Technologies and many more.

Registering for the conference is free and you will be able to watch the sessions on-demand.

sales leadership conference - register now

Related Posts

Posted in