Bottlenecks happen in traffic and in sales—and both are frustrating. A bottleneck during rush hour can slow you down, while a bottleneck in sales can bring your deal to a screeching halt. While you can take an alternate route on the road to get you on your way, you need a different plan when you experience sales bottlenecks.

The first step, according to Lestraundra Alfred, editor of the HubSpot Sales Blog, is to understand what causes a sales bottleneck. Alfred says sales bottlenecks often stem from two issues. Either a problem exists within your sales process or your sales reps are not correctly carrying out the process. Either way, you will experience slow or no sales.

Fortunately, you can break free from a sales bottleneck and correct it before it gets worse. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Alfred’s tips on how to fix a bottleneck in sales.

Understand your sales process inside and out. Steps of your sales process have likely evolved over time, and you may not be aware of every change. Alfred recommends writing down the steps a customer takes when working with your business, and if you are not sure, ask one of your sales reps to role-play with you. Write everything down so you clearly understand the customer journey.

Review your sales process. With everything down on paper, the next step is to look for any immediate concerns that jump out at you. Alfred notes that some problems are so obvious you’re surprised you didn’t see them sooner.

Ask your reps for feedback. To get out of a sales bottleneck and prevent one from happening in the future, it’s important to hear from your sales reps first-hand. Get their input on when they experience a roadblock, or when the process falls apart completely. Be sure to note when reps experience issues at the same step, adds Alfred.

Talk to your customers. You can glean invaluable information from your current clients and those who chose not to work with you. Alfred recommends checking in with them to determine what was difficult for them and why they chose to buy from you or go a different direction.

Develop a plan. Once you collect your data and have a better understanding of where sales bottlenecks are happening, you can create a solution. Some fixes are simple while others may take some trial and error. Alfred suggests reevaluating every few sales attempts until your sales process is running like a well-oiled machine.

Sales bottlenecks can be a drain on your sales team and your bottom line. While you can always fix a sales bottleneck that’s slowing down your process, it’s better to keep your team moving forward steadily. Look for ways to streamline how you maintain leads or communicate with your team, make sure your sales reps have proper training, and investigate any issues as they occur instead of waiting for them to go away on their own.

Sales bottlenecks don’t have to be a regular frustration for your team. By understanding how they happen and how to correct them, you can improve your business in the long run.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Lestraundra Alfred is editor of the HubSpot Sales Blog.