Why isn't my sales engine working?

Why isn't my sales engine working?

It’s easy to see when your sales engine isn’t working - the pipeline looks thin and you don’t have confidence in your forecast Revenue numbers. But figuring out why it’s not working can be tricky.

Several important components make up a sales engine, and all of them need to be working in harmony with each other for it to be successful. If you’re struggling to self-diagnose, we’ve identified 3 key issues that could be causing you problems with yours.

Your business development manager isn't developing your business (aka doing the job you hired them for)

How effective your sales engine is will weigh heavily on the people you place in crucial roles within it. In theory, a business development manager's responsibilities are:

  • Developing and nurturing relationships in your pipeline 
  • Opening up conversations with new prospects 
  • Educating your audience and building trust around the problems you solve 

But let's also be honest - the role of the classic business development manager might be a little outdated don’t you think? 

A common mistake that many of us make is to put the end-to-end pipeline responsibility of being the sales engine onto a single person.

But your sales engine shouldn’t just be one person - as we mentioned earlier, it’s a multi-layered operation.

One person alone can’t do the job of the sales engine, both in skills and capacity - so it’s not surprising if your business development manager isn’t performing well enough.

With a sales engine that works well, your sales and growth should be able to happen more organically without the need for someone to fill the role of a business development manager.

So, with that being said, you need to make sure you’re placing the right people in the right roles to make sure your sales engine works wonders. 

This brings us to key issue number 2…

You’ve got the wrong people in the wrong places.

Several different roles need filling to keep your engine oiled and working smoothly. 

You need:

  • A closer - nearly always the best person for this is a founder or a principal leader 
  • A relationship builder - someone to nurture prospects, cool or warm, that is someone who can really add value along the way (btw this likely isn’t your business development manager) 
  • Prospecting - a role that is trying to create early-stage conversations at scale
  • The voice - someone creating a voice and content that’s useful and demonstrates your knowledge and knowhow 
  • Marketing channel management - effective and consistent posting and channel engagement 
  • Oversight - someone who has the bigger picture view and ensures you’re on strategy 

Phew! That’s quite a few people, so it’s definitely worth making sure they’re right for their roles.

People love shopping, but they hate being sold to. Having someone whose role it is to create real connections and humanise your business by networking in a friendly way across channels will create much more value for your business, and for your customers, than just cold calling (or emailing, if you’re in the 21st century).

You get what you give, so you should be giving your customers something of genuine value before they’re even considering using your service. Reciprocity pays off.

To be really good at what they do, your staff need to know clearly who your target audience is like the back of their hand. This way, they’ll be able to manage their time better, choosing tasks that are best for business growth and profits over what’s easiest.

If they don’t know what customers are going to create the most value for your business, targets are likely to feel out of reach, leading to low morale and a shoddy performance from your sales engine.

Maybe you’ve got the right people… but they’re not in the right places

Take a good look at who is sitting where in your pipeline team. If it’s true that people hate being sold to, then considering who is talking to your customers at the different stages of their journey is going to be pivotal in the success of a sale.

You’ve heard it before - you’re going to want to remove as much friction from your customer’s journey as possible. And one point of friction could be that they’re not talking to who they want to be talking to.

Customers usually want to be talking to the leader. That’s the dream, but that’s obviously not always possible. And it’s never scalable, which is what you need in a successful sales engine.

So you’ll want to get the right internal personas talking to the market to build relationships along the pipeline. The more personas you have, the faster and further you can scale.

Keep your engine ticking over

The idea of a great sales engine is that it works like one - it whirs along in the background, keeping your business moving forward. It's not the star of the show by any means, but without it, you're going to be at a standstill.

Bear with us while we draw out this analogy even further...

To keep your engine in good condition, you first need the right parts (people) in the right places (the correct stages of the pipeline), and then it needs to be well-oiled (providing content and creating connections of true value to attract and nurture your leads along the pipeline).

That analogy worked, right?

To learn more about how best to nurture and attract leads, have a read of our blog post on the art of reciprocity.


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