Cisco Blogs

“The Times They Are A Changing”: Overcoming New Challenges Faced By Today’s Sales Professionals

October 29, 2014 - 3 Comments

Working in sales has always been tough. No one will argue with that. However, today’s sales professionals face more challenges than ever before. Understanding the impact of these new challenges and developing the skills and resources to overcome them helps ensure long term success.

The pace of change is accelerating exponentially. Never before has the business landscape churned as quickly as it does now. Much of this acceleration is driven by the “access to anyone, anytime, anywhere” phenomena. Customers expect instant response times and information at their fingertips on demand. But constantly changing regulations pose additional challenges that require ongoing education and ever evolving business requirements. Customers are looking for experts who can help them steer through the myriad of challenges they are facing. This requires a concerted effort on behalf of the sales professional to invest the time to keep up with changing business conditions and offer solutions that meet the challenges faced by customers. Subscribe to online industry periodicals, blogs and feeds and plan time in your calendar to review them. Attend industry and solution based events. Not only do these offer great education but they are also excellent opportunities to network and identify prospects.

Customers are busy…often too busy to take the time to solve their own problems. With many companies operating with fewer resources amidst more complex working conditions, employers will more likely find short-term fixes to their issues because they simply don’t have the time to explore better options for longer term solutions. Master your approach so you address the specific challenges your customer may be facing and reel them in. Be persistent and assure your customer of the potential dollar and time savings they’ll experience with your proposed solution.  Make it easy for them to work with you by doing as much of the leg work as possible on their behalf.

There is more competition than ever before. The barriers to entry are so minimal these days to create a new business that start-ups are sprouting up on a regular basis. Although 80 percent of these businesses aren’t sustainable, they create havoc in the market through pricing pressure which prolongs sales cycles and creates more noise. Never take for granted that your customers and prospects will automatically think of you first for their next purchase. Maintain a consistent cadence of calls to your install base and prospect list. Your customers are being bombarded with cold calls from your competition. Don’t let a persistent sales person get their foot in the door of your targets.

Use of technology is no longer a competitive edge -mastering it is a matter of survival. If you aren’t leveraging technology to grow your business, you will eventually be left behind. With the proliferation of various CRM systems, automated cold calling tools, targeted communication platforms, social media options, internal management systems and much more, businesses must embrace these technology advances to keep up with the competition.  Do your research. Invest in technology and view it as an integral component of your go-to-market strategy. Develop a social media strategy to stay in front of customers and prospects. These investments will pay off in spades.

Integrity is critical and, unfortunately, a differentiator in today’s market. Today’s market is really tough and too many people take the low road and don’t always do the right thing. Ultimately, this approach will not pay off and will not allow a sustainable business model. No matter the pressure, always remember that integrity matters and your reputation is your most important asset. If you always serve your customers by being fair, honest and consistent, your business and customer loyalty will continue to grow. Taking short-cuts, providing substandard products or services or being dishonest to win a deal is never the route to a successful business model.

Successful sales professionals leverage all resources at their disposal. The Cisco Partner Plus program has many tools and resources to help sales teams. The ability to shorten the sales cycle is critical in today’s fast paced market. Partners who leverage Cisco Partner Help Plus have access to engineering experts who can assist with closing deals, configuring designs, and providing competitive intelligence. Team up with the best in the industry to grab market share.

Being a Cisco partner gains access to cutting edge products that are changing the way people work, play and live. Having the expertise to bring these solutions to your customers will open doors to opportunities in new business’s areas translating into incremental revenue for you and your company, Cisco offers a wide variety of training options around products, solutions, business verticals, and selling skills (like sales excellence) most free of charge. So Cisco partners can feel confident they have the required knowledge to bring credibility to the table with customers.

Bottom Line: there are no short-cuts. In today’s fast paced markets, sales professionals must invest the time required to keep up with the competition. Educate yourself about industry trends and technological advances. Be persistent with prospects but make sure you make it easy for them to buy from you by doing your homework and tailoring a solution that clearly solves their challenge. Most importantly, always do the right thing-your reputation is worth its weight in gold. Protect it. What are your thoughts? I would love to hear your feedback in the comments section.

In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.


  1. Thanks Ceveri and Donald. I appreciate the comments and hope I’ve been able to offer a tid-bit of advice you can use.

  2. Well states and so true. Best article yet!