Top Sales Time Wasters

By John Honovich, Published Apr 02, 2015, 12:00am EDT

What are the biggest time wasters holding you back from selling more?

100+ security sales professionals told us.

As expected, some said 'paperwork' but there was a much bigger, more common time waster than trumped that.

Indecisive / Unserious Prospects

Far and away, the most common time waster was dealing with prospects who were either indecisive or not serious about committing. Answers included:

  • "Getting a customer to make a decision :)"
  • "Price checks and pricing for certain customers you know will never go ahead with a project."
  • "Prospecting the wrong opportunities."
  • "Prospective clients that never make a decision. We have quoted one job at different price points about 4 times over 2 years without a decision."
  • "Prospecting, qualifying buyers"
  • "Customers always want high-end system and then when they get a price, it's too much, so we waste a lot of time meeting, getting details, and writing proposals."
  • "Our time gets tied up working with people that aren't interested in wanting the right solution. They just want."
  • "Clients looking for check prices. They usually know who they want to do the work."
  • "Frequent changes to the quote/proposal, especially if at the last minute, because the reviewer at the prospect's side did not review the first few versions of the quote in detail, or they themselves were not very sure of what they wanted."
  • "Customers feel they have a need but they don't really know what it is or how to solve it."
  • "Management wanting me to quote every job that gets posted on the bid/spec market. Almost always they already have the vendor they want picked out."
  • "Customers who already have an integrator in mind, send out an RFP, and then show their chosen company our proposal to allow them to underbid."
  • "Coddling to customers every whim even when it does not produce any new sales."
  • "Having you go out to give quote for comparison purposes."

Of course, the bigger underlying issue is prospect qualification. Who really is a good prospect and when should a salesperson walk away from an opportunity?

Integrator sales people cited this far more often than manufacturer ones, likely due to integrators dealing more with end users.

Engineering / Tech Issues

The other major, but secondary, theme was around engineering issues:

  • "Having to engineer my own projects"
  • "Inadequate skills of workers (constantly training but still...)"
  • "Lack of strong technical team and backup."
  • "Technical issues"
  • "Operations not doing their job"
  • "Ability to locate talented field skills."
  • "Simply put, poor engineering. The market is ripe and I have as many customers as I need, unfortunately I cannot sell equipment that won't work as doing so will erode our corporate brand as well as my own personal brand."
  • "Our entire sales team also does tech support. This is a huge advantage in selling to the market as we are known for great support. That said, tech support calls can be time-consuming and thus an hour on the phone troubleshooting is an hour lost selling."

Finally and interestingly, very few sales people cited traveling as a significant time waster, an area, especially for manufacturers, which we would expect to take quite a significant portion of time.

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