New Study Reveals Top Sales Leadership Challenges and Priorities

June 12, 2019

RAIN Group, a global sales training and performance improvement company, released findings from its latest study on Top Sales Leadership Challenges and Priorities.

Led by the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research, a group of analysts studied responses from 423 sales, enablement, and company leaders to better understand their greatest obstacles and primary focus over the next 12 months. 

Below are some of the most surprising revelations from the study:

Top 4 Sales Challenges

52% Recruiting and hiring

41% Lead quality and quantity

40% Developing sales skills

36% Developing sales managers


Top 4 Sales Priorities 

70% improve ability to communicate value

65% Improve productivity of sellers and sales teams 

64% Increase business with existing accounts

62% Improve customer retention, repeat business, renewals


“This study was particularly fascinating because it revealed not only current trends in sales today, but also the needs to be addressed in the future. Nearly all of these challenges can be overcome, and all of these priorities can be achieved by focusing on three sales enablement strategies. If sales leaders can improve sales productivity, develop multi-skilled sellers, and leverage sales managers, they’ll be in a prime position to drive success,” said Mike Schultz, co-president of RAIN Group and director of the research division.

The study also revealed that it takes an average of three months to onboard a new seller who’s ready to interact with buyers, nine months until a new seller is competent to perform, and 15 months to become a top performer. 

“That’s a huge investment in time and resources to get sellers up to speed and performing at a high level. We know that hiring and recruiting is a top challenge for sales leaders. It can be a less critical though. We conducted a groundbreaking productivity study, finding that 47 percent of people waste a great deal of time during a workday; that’s nearly half of a sales force. If you increased their productivity, you’d have the net effect of hiring more sellers.”

In addition, sellers were asked to weigh in on their most challenging issues. Not surprising, 43 percent ranked prospecting/gaining appointments as their biggest challenge. 

To access results from the study and learn how to address the sales challenges and achieve the sales priorities of today’s leaders, visit:

About RAIN Group

Founded in 2002, RAIN Group is a global sales training and performance improvement company that has helped hundreds of thousands of salespeople, managers, and professionals in more than 75 countries significantly increase their sales results. Headquartered in the greater Boston area, global office locations include Bogotá, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Mumbai, Seoul, Sydney, and Toronto. To learn more about RAIN Group and the client results they’ve achieved, visit Follow RAIN Group on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research

Since 2005, the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research has provided leaders with critical insights to support strategic decision making and sales performance improvement. The division produces rigorous research reports and benchmarks the company’s clients across a variety of topics, with a special focus on learning the keys to top performance and understanding the psychology behind why buyers buy.