Internal and External Challenges Salespeople Face: Changing Approaches and Solutions

By Rana Salman, M.B.A, PhD, Salman Consulting, LLC

The role of a salesperson is critical to the success of any business. In business-to-business (B2B) deals, they function as the bridge between the company’s products or services and the potential customers. However, the journey of a salesperson is not without its challenges. Both internal and external factors can significantly impact their success and effectiveness. In this article, we will explore some of the internal and external challenges that salespeople encounter and potential solutions to overcome these obstacles.

Internal Challenges

1. Balancing Unrealistic Expectations and Meeting Quotas

Unrealistic expectations combined with the inability to meet quotas pose a significant internal challenge for salespeople. As performance benchmarks rise, the pressure to achieve unattainable goals can lead to stress and burnout. Struggling to meet these targets can negatively impact sales professionals’ morale and confidence. To address this challenge, organizations must set ambitious yet achievable quotas and provide support, training, and resources to empower their sales teams for success.

2. Complex Portfolios

Enterprise sales reps often grapple with a wide range of products and services they are expected to understand thoroughly. The growing complexity of product portfolios can make it challenging for salespeople to keep track of all the details and articulate them effectively to potential customers. Adequate training and the provision of resources to support sales reps in their knowledge retention can help address this issue.

3. Internal Politics

Dealing with office politics, overcoming bureaucratic hurdles, and breaking down silos are essential aspects of navigating internal challenges, especially in larger organizations. These obstacles can hinder seamless collaboration and communication, affecting the overall efficiency and productivity of sales teams and putting deals at risk. Fostering a more transparent and collaborative work environment empowers sales professionals to focus on building customer relationships and driving revenue.

4. Training Balance

The right sales training balance is crucial for success. Inadequate training leaves reps ill-equipped to handle objections and impact their selling confidence. Conversely, excessive, impractical training takes them away from the field, potentially affecting their pipeline. Striking a balance with continuous, relevant training empowers salespeople with skills and knowledge while staying engaged with customers and maintaining a steady flow of prospects.

5. Tools and Technology

The rapid advancement of technology has brought a plethora of sales tools to streamline processes, enhance customer experiences, improve efficiencies, and boost productivity. However, having too many disparate and siloed tools can overwhelm sales reps, leading to reduced efficiency and frustration. On the other hand, a lack of adequate tools can hinder their ability to effectively engage with customers and provide personalized experiences. Organizations need to invest in integrated tools and ensure proper training to maximize their potential benefits.

Read More: SalesTechStar Interview with George Kanuck, Chief Sales Officer at Monetate

External Challenges

1. Changing Needs of Enterprise Customers

In today’s business landscape, the needs of enterprise customers have undergone significant transformations influenced by a multitude of factors. Beyond access to information and technology, the global pandemic has played a crucial role in reshaping customer preferences and expectations. The pandemic forced businesses to adapt rapidly, and customers now seek solutions that align with their evolving operational models and remote work environments. Moreover, buyer behaviors have shifted as well, with an increased focus on digital interactions, self-education, and a preference for seamless and personalized buying experiences.

2. Economic Uncertainties

Additionally, the economy’s fluctuating conditions, including periods of uncertainty, layoffs, and budget constraints, have made enterprise customers more cautious and value-driven in their purchasing decisions. To meet these changing needs effectively, salespeople must embrace a customer-centric approach, leveraging data-driven insights, offering tailored solutions, and demonstrating adaptability to drive success in the ever-evolving market.

3. Changing Market Dynamics

In addition to the previously mentioned factors, changing market dynamics have also impacted enterprise customers’ needs. Rapid advancements in technology and digitalization have transformed their expectations, demanding seamless online experiences and personalized interactions. As customers gain access to vast amounts of information, they prefer to be self-educated and engage with sales teams only when necessary. This shift in buyer behavior requires salespeople to position themselves as trusted advisors, simplifying complex information and offering unique insights beyond readily available data.


To address the internal and external challenges faced by salespeople, organizations can implement the following solutions:

1. Customer-Centric Approach:

Emphasize understanding customer needs and preferences to deliver tailored solutions that create value for the clients.

2. Data-Driven Insights:

Leverage data analytics to gain valuable insights into customer behavior and market trends, enabling salespeople to make data-backed decisions.

3. Continuous Training and Development:

Invest in regular and relevant training programs that equip salespeople with the skills, product knowledge, and insights they need to succeed in an ever-changing market.

4. Streamlined Sales Processes:

Simplify internal processes and reduce bureaucracy to minimize the burden of internal politics on sales teams.

5. Agile Sales Technology:

Provide sales reps with integrated and user-friendly tools that enhance their efficiency and enable personalized customer interactions.

6. Sales-Enabled Culture:

Cultivate a sales-enabled culture that supports salespeople, pays them fairly, and fosters a mindset where everyone in the organization sees themselves as contributors to the sales process. Emphasize the importance of taking care of customers and providing exceptional service across all departments.

Salespeople encounter a multitude of internal and external challenges in their quest to drive business growth and foster meaningful customer relationships. By recognizing and addressing these challenges, organizations can empower their sales teams to thrive in a dynamic and competitive marketplace.

Read More: Why Apple’s Headset Could Change The Retail Game


Agile Sales TechnologyB2B dealsbudget constraintsbureaucracyBusiness GrowthClientscompetitive marketplaceContinuous Training and Developmentcustomer preferencescustomer-centric approachdata-backed decisionseconomic uncertaintiesenterprise customersGuest Authorslayoffsmarket dynamicsMeeting QuotasOrganizationsPersonalized Experiencesproduct portfoliosProductivityRana Salmansales processesSales Repssales-enabled cultureSalespeoplesalespersonSalman Consultinguser-friendly tools