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The 8 Most Critical Sales Challenges To Overcome In 2021

Critical sales challenges to overcome in 2021

Sales are the backbone of a company and are a significant revenue driver! Its functions revolve around reaching a customer and convincing them to purchase your product! The power these days are in the hands of prospects who always research the company before making any purchases.


The prospect or a customer, first analyzes the company, its products, and its authenticity before making a purchase decision.

However, oftentimes, sales reps are faced with challenges that can hamper their success with poor lead conversions. Sales reps around the world have one lingering question at the end of every week, month, or quarter – Did I achieve my sales target? But for them to achieve their goals and celebrate their wins, sales reps must overcome challenges that negatively impact their sales results!

Typical sales reps journey looks like this

When faced with a challenge, look for a way, not a way out – David Weatherford

Sales are considered to be 80% execution and only 20% strategy! Therefore, sales reps should be equipped with skills, technology, tools, and resources for the smooth implementation of well-thought sales strategies!


Some of the most common challenges and solutions to tackle them are as below:

1. Establish realistic & smart sales goals

The first step to sales is establishing your business plan, market potential, revenue goal, and ensuring that they’re real! Once these boxes have been ticked, you can move on to assessing your sales team and their capabilities, which will, in turn, help you evaluate your sales goals and train your team to achieve them accordingly.

realistic and smart sales goals

Solution: The Harvard business review quoted, “When 10%–20% of salespeople miss goals, the problem might be the salespeople. But when most salespeople miss, the problem is their goals.”

Things to keep in mind while setting your sales goal

  • Consistently achieving and meeting smaller targets will build to larger goals.
  • Make data a part of your goal-setting plan and use it to its advantage.
  • Focus on goals that will help generate revenue but also educate & empower your team to sell.
  • Develop a structure that supports and facilitates simple pipeline management.
  • Incentivize sales targets and acknowledge activity-based milestones such as upselling, cross-selling, and retention.
Bonus Tip!

Align your goals with your existing resources – human resources, financial resources, available tools, and tech stacks.

“Sales goals, when implemented, can help increase revenue by 25% every year.”

2. Sync marketing and sales: The major revenue drivers

Marketing and sales teams in an organization function independently and are yet interrelated in activities that help contribute to a company’s success and revenue. When the two major revenue drivers of a company merge with their actions, they can drive better results and execute a highly efficient execution strategy.


While marketing focuses on building brand awareness and generating a steady lead flow, the sales team focuses on building trust and gaining customer loyalty. Thus, a collaborative effort between the two is of utmost importance.

Major revenue drivers

Solution: Matt Gorniak, the senior vice president at Salesforce, says, “I do believe the modern sales leader has to be a marketer.”

Steps to aligning marketing & sales

  • Exchange lead information and insights.
  • Track follow-ups to avoid repetitive marketing.
  • Return cold leads to marketing and recycling leads to top-of-funnel.
  • Close content gaps and leverage open communication to improve the effectiveness of content.
  • Implement a knowledge transfer pipeline across and optimize the pipeline.
  • Analyze and track results of your original goals to help realign when needed.
Bonus Tip!

Embrace Social Media and use it as a powerful tool to engage and influence potential customers.

“Generate 208% more revenue by aligning marketing and sales.”

3. Explore different methods of audience research

Businesses often stick to traditional methods of researching their audience and fail to understand the importance of going the extra mile. With information present everywhere on the internet, businesses must make an effort to learn about their customers from reliable sources. One such source that can guide enterprises to research their target audiences is reputable B2B data providers.


They connect you with your target audience and give you a marketing list of high-value contacts. It would provide businesses with a bird-eye view of their various customer segments. Sticking to traditional research methods might prove futile, so companies must be open to exploring new research methods!

Different methods of audience research

Solution: According to Bill Gates, “Your most unhappy customers are the greatest source of learning.”

Things to keep in mind when researching your audience

  • Keep up with buyers’ trends and study ‘search keywords’ that are niche to your industry.
  • Be open to change, criticism, and customer feedback, and utilize it to understand your clients.
  • Look into competitors marketing collateral and document its performance in the market.
  • Facilitate focus groups that help to get an in-person understanding of your products & service.
  • Attend events that your target audience mostly likes takes an interest in and gains insight into a specific persona.
  • Go over sales queries or support calls to understand what your customers are asking or looking for.
Bonus Tip!

Utilize facebook audience insights to understand audience preferences of over 2.2 billion active users per month.

“Address specific business issues that your product solves through personalized marketing and experience a 48% increase in sales.”

4. Run an efficient sales lead management system

There are various methods that businesses adopt to generate leads and often have lead targets that they achieve daily, weekly, monthly, bi-annually, or annually. Lead generation requires an extensive process and an efficient sales team’s efforts, but the process after lead management is just as essential and rather vital in converting the generated pool of prospects. The ability to move prospects along the sales funnel begins with efficient lead.

Efficient sales lead management

Solution: The ex- CMO of webex, Rick Faulk, says, “You can’t make a sale without a qualified lead.”

  • Track lead sources and distinguish between organic search, referral traffic, paid ads, or social.
  • Distribute leads quickly as leads that are left unattended turn into cold leads and cause lead leakage.
  • Distinguish between lost sales and hot leads and strategize campaigns for quick conversions.
  • Treat prospects as customers and adopt customer-centric sales strategies.
  • Implement Lead Scoring and segment your database with frequently refined systems.
Bonus Tip!

Develop a consistent sales process with better follow-ups without wasting time on data entry by deploying a CRM system and ensuring accuracy and maintaining healthy relationships between a business and its consumer.

“Businesses with an efficient lead management system can witness a hike of 10% or more in revenue within just 6-9 months.”

5. Implementing lead nurturing tactics in the sales funnel

Lead nurturing enables businesses to educate, inform and build trust with their audience as they move from the top of the buyers’ funnel to the bottom of the sales funnel, where they’re prepared to make a purchase. Businesses need to create and maintain relationships with prospects and customers and be present on channels where your audience mostly engages.


Nurturing your leads is much more important than generating an excessive lead flow. Without nurturing, your leads could become cold and leak out of the sales funnel, which can impact sales by losing potential revenue-generating opportunities.

Implementing lead nurturing tactics in the sales funnel

Solution: “80% of bad leads in B2B go on to make purchases within the next two years”, says SiriusDecisions

Steps to efficient lead nurturing

  • Resolve the communication gap between marketing and sales and have deep insights into leads.
  • Segment and score lead to differentiate between SQL and leads that require nurturing.
  • Establish a lead nurturing strategy with targeted content for every stage of the sales journey.
  • Run automated campaigns to trigger call-to-actions that move the leads through the sales funnel.
  • Leverage social media to stay connected with high-quality prospects and diversify lead nurturing.
  • Retarget leads that are stuck in the sales funnel through Facebook campaigns and Google ads.
Bonus Tip!

Get inputs from customer support teams and utilize those insights and customer queries to refine campaigns and personalize communication for increased customer engagement.

“Companies generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower costs when they excel at lead nurturing.”

Did you ask yourself these questions while nurturing your prospects?

  1. Are you contacting the potential prospects?
  2. What does your customer want?
  3. How did you establish trust?
  4. What did you say sets you apart from competitors?
  5. Who else is involved in the customer’s purchase?
  6. How will your prospect benefit from your product?


If you hadn’t already, now you have! Reach out to our executives and refine your sales strategy with expert advisors and industry professionals today!

6. Take rejection and non-sales in your stride

Rejection can be emotionally and psychologically tough on Sales reps and demotivate them from pursuing other sales opportunities. Most sales reps should focus on developing resilience to rejection and bounce back from it quickly to analyze how rejection can help them redirect and develop more skills.


When a customer says no, he means no, for now, not no forever, so ask if you can check back for later! In that gap between their first no and your next customer engagement, curate relevant rotation of content that strikes a balance between non-promotional content and one that genuinely highlights your company’s credibility and experience!

rejection and non sales in your strides

Solution: ‘No’ is not rejection; it is redirection!

How to learn from rejection & non-sales

  • Study your sales approach to understand where you’re lacking and what you can improve.
  • Look into your industry’s average conversion rate and compare it with your sales conversion rate.
  • Practice your pitches, work on critical sales skills, and improve your interactions over various communication channels such as in-person, email, video chat, social, and phone.
  • Remain professional when a buyer says ‘No’ and be polite and patient with the prospect.
  • Re-establish rapport and offer encouragement to guide your prospect back to the sales funnel.
  • Retarget leads that are stuck in the sales funnel through Facebook campaigns and Google ads.
Bonus Tip!

Follow-ups are crucial for a ‘No’ to turn into a big ‘Yes.’ Continue to follow-up and remember that most sales do not convert on the first meeting! Re-evaluate and refine frequently, but most importantly, understand that rejection is part of the game.

“80% of non-standard sales take 5 follow-ups to close!”

7. Communicate effectively and upskill regularly

Communication is considered to be the heart of sales and plays a vital role in sales management. Effective communication is a critical skill that Sales reps must pick up and should frequently assess their sales skills. Being an impressive speaker does not guarantee success. Being able to listen and cater to your pitches to resolve your audience’s pain points can prove to be effective in closing deals.


Learn to see eye-to-eye with your prospect and first focus on establishing honest communication, which plays a vital role in future sales. Being in sales is synonymous with adapting to ever-changing trends and upskilling yourself to suit current industry requirements.

Effectively communicate and upskill regularly

Solution: “There is only one rule for being a good talker – learn to listen”, – Christopher Morley

How can sales rep improve communication & upskill

  • Work on your voice tone and understand when to use technical, formal, and informal communication.
  • Watch your body language, how you greet, and be mindful about how you carry the conversation.
  • Actively listen to your target audience and paraphrase it back to ensure you understand them correctly.
  • Be straightforward and informative. Remember to be honest and set realistic standards for your products.
  • Research your clients, competitors, market, trends, communication skills, product pitches, and more to date.
Bonus Tip!

Be respectful of your prospect’s time and prioritize adding value to their day rather than wasting their time! Ensure that the few minutes of their time are enough for you to leave an impression about your product and how your company treats prospects!

“Businesses that prioritize effective communication can improve a customer’s experience, thus driving revenue 4-8% higher than in other industries.”

8. Leverage advanced technology and sales tools

Technology is advancing at a fast pace and is transforming businesses and industries worldwide. Sales rep now have access to a wide array of tools ranging from data analytics tools, sales software, big data, automation tools, web content management, CRM systems, and cloud technology to drive profitability, productivity, and competitive advantage.


Technology is accessible, can be made interactive, and is effective in today’s market space, and can prove to be a boon for businesses with advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence, paving the way for successful sales going forward!

Leverage advanced technology sales tools

Solution: “What new technology does is create new opportunities to do a job that customers want to be done.” – Tim O’Reilly

How can businesses benefit from sales technology & tools?

  • Sales technology helps sales reps work smarter and not harder.
  • It can help synchronize sales systems and give them 360-degree access to data.
  • Automate resources that guide a prospect through the sales journey.
  • Enhance product education and make data accessible across the organization.
  • Monitor and track engagement for more informed selling and refined sales strategies.
Bonus Tip!

Embrace social media platforms and mobile technology in sales to establish an online presence to stay connected to prospects and customers continually.

“55% of consumers purchase within an hour of browsing online.”

To Conclude

Sales is undoubtedly a challenging field, but with the right guidance, solution, and sales techniques, one can excel and even exceed sales targets. Sale is a field that continuously pushes you to evolve, learn, and adapt to changing circumstances.


It is also one of the most rewarding experiences as you directly engage with people and build a relationship with your customers! While working on your weak points and upskilling yourself, it’s also essential to acknowledge small wins and celebrate significant achievements. Keep yourself driven, and the rest will evolve with you.


Happy sales to you!

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