- SELL SMARTER
5 Main Challenges for Commercial Services Sales
Navigating the landscape of commercial services sales is no small feat.
Managers persistently push teams to boost sales. However, accomplishing this is often easier said than done.
In this article, we’ll break down why sales reps run into these issues. Let’s unpack the common challenges faced by commercial services sales teams.
1. Meeting post-construction needs
When you sell into a fully-developed space, you face unique challenges. Your team must compete with existing service providers. These organizations have already built trust and credibility with property managers, leaving your representatives behind.
Entering post-construction means your team missed the opportunity to understand the building’s systems from the start. Selling services in a space that’s already been built makes selling more difficult. You’re up against established service providers who’ve already won the decision-maker’s trust.
To compete, your team needs to understand existing systems and find ways to offer superior value.
Selling a large item like a chiller without adding a service contract magnifies the missed opportunity.
This oversight allows other providers to step in with proactive or predictive maintenance packages, widening the gap between you and them.
2. Lack of visibility into prospects
Navigating the sales landscape without comprehensive information about potential customers can be challenging. It’s like trying to piece together a puzzle with several missing pieces.
The most successful sellers treat this industry as a relationship business. As a result, it’s about more than just knowing the basics of a prospect but also understanding their affiliations, the organizations they connect with, and their business networks. This insight is pivotal to tailoring pitches, anticipating needs, and forging meaningful connections.
The absence of in-depth data can hinder sellers’ targeting capabilities. Their approach might seem generic, less persuasive, or even misplaced without a clear picture of who they’re contacting.
Knowing the person
Imagine reaching out to the owner of a business. Access to their LinkedIn profile provides insights into their professional journey, endorsements, shared connections, and affiliations.
This information helps sales reps craft a personalized pitch and establishes credibility and trust from the start. It’s one of the reasons Convex provides access to LinkedIn profiles.
A lack of visibility is not just an operational challenge—it’s a barrier to forming genuine, effective business relationships.
Knowing the property
Understanding a prospect also extends to knowing the physical properties they manage or own.
For example, knowing that a fire inspection permit hasn’t been pulled recently can be a golden opportunity for sellers specializing in safety solutions.
This level of visibility does more than just inform—it equips sales reps to engage in highly relevant conversations and propose timely solutions.
3. Managing a complex sales pipeline
Commercial services sales teams face a unique challenge when managing their pipelines. It’s more complicated than a simple list of contacts.
With multiple leads at varying stages of engagement, understanding each client’s specific needs and project timelines is critical. It’s not merely about tracking numbers but tailoring approaches, prioritizing effectively, and strategizing each follow-up.
Organizing this web of opportunities is vital. A cluttered pipeline can lead to missed client engagements, overlapping efforts, and lost prospects. When the stakes are high, even minor oversights can have significant repercussions.
A streamlined process boosts forecasting accuracy and strategic planning. In contrast, a cluttered one can skew projections and squander opportunities.
Refining pipeline management is more than a task for commercial services sales teams—it’s critical to achieving optimal results.
If your sales tech stack isn’t where it should be, juggling accounts is challenging.
4. Balancing inside and field sales
Inside and field sales teams play pivotal roles. Each comes with unique challenges.
Inside sales challenges:
Unlike field sales, inside sales representatives rely primarily on digital communication, which sometimes needs more nuance and the personal touch of in-person conversations. Ensuring up-to-date and organized databases while increasing the volume of leads and contacts is crucial. Inside sales often demands swift responses to customer queries, requiring representatives to be agile and efficient.
- Immediate response expectation
- Limited face-to-face interaction
- Data management
Field sales challenges:
Managing travel, appointments, and face-to-face interaction demands meticulous planning. While there’s a benefit to personal interaction, it also pressures reps to be compelling in their pitches consistently. Representatives need to manage expectations skillfully, as on-site circumstances, client needs, and project scopes can vary.
- Changing field conditions
- In-person persuasion
Challenges for sales leaders coordinating the teams
The real challenge emerges when deciding between the two approaches. Effective communication between inside and field sales teams is imperative. Without it, there’s a risk of duplicated efforts, missed opportunities, or conflicting messages to clients.
For example, an inside sales rep might set up a virtual call for a potential client, unaware that a field sales rep has already scheduled an in-person meeting for the same day.
Or, if a field rep visits a site and gathers necessary information but doesn’t share it quickly, the inside team may be left uninformed, hindering their capacity to support or upsell efficiently.
In essence, for commercial services sales teams, ensuring coordination between inside and field sales isn’t just about operational efficiency—it’s the cornerstone for cohesive customer experiences and heightened revenue.
5. Difficulty in identifying decision-makers
Finding the right decision-makers is a primary hurdle for commercial services sales teams across many industries. More than 40 percent of salespeople say that prospecting is the most challenging part of the process.
While titles like CEO or President seem like logical contacts, the actual decision-making authority often rests with other roles. Misdirected efforts can result in wasted time, missed opportunities, and decreased morale among sales teams.
The stakes are high. Missing the right decision-maker means pitches fall on the wrong ears, and competitors get the upper hand. A sales rep who spent weeks targeting a company’s CEO might later discover the Chief Operations Officer was calling the shots. Such missteps underscore the fundamental need for accurate targeting in commercial services sales.
Gatekeepers add another layer of complexity. For instance, a sales rep might be constantly rerouted to voicemail or told their target contact is “unavailable.” While they’re in charge of managing communication flows, they may unintentionally block sales reps from reaching the right individuals.
Commercial services sales reps should focus on finding key contacts in a building and finding reliable ways to reach them. Additionally, teams must find creative ways to win over gatekeepers.
Conclusion: Knowing the challenges is the first step
In commercial services sales, challenges are multifaceted.
Successfully navigating post-construction sales requires a deep understanding of pre-existing systems and relationships. Gaining a holistic perspective into the contacts, tenants, and buildings your prospects occupy is essential for forging authentic connections.
The sales pipeline demands careful organization and a clear game plan. Seamless communication between inside and field sales is crucial for consistent client experiences.
Getting in touch with the right decision-makers and skillfully navigating past gatekeepers ensures your pitches hit their mark.Set your team up for success by understanding and learning how to tackle these issues. Explore these tips for getting past gatekeepers in commercial services sales.
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Jerome is a Group Product Marketing Manager at Convex. Prior to Convex, he led product marketing and go-to-market strategy across different business units at Adobe and worked as a strategy consultant. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
Originally published on October 26, 2023 Updated on October 26, 2023