You can storm and rage all you want at your sales team for not converting enough leads - but that won’t change the fact that they can’t close deals because you are irreparably harming their ability to cultivate solid-gold prospects. The sales process is complex, and prospecting is an important foundation on which your sales team can work their converting magic. Read on to learn the biggest prospecting mistakes you can make as well as how you and your team can work together to turn your prospecting efforts around.
1. Speed over thoroughness
Making a sale might seem like the most important task for your sales team, but if you push your team to close deals at the expense of making relationships, your sales team will always have to fight hard to find customers. You should allow your sales reps the time and space to research their prospects and cultivate an understanding of their leads’ needs, which will facilitate future sales. If you can equip your team with the right sales prospecting tools, you’ll benefit more in the long run.
2. Quantity over quality
Usually, the same sales leaders that push their teams to close quickly also want a high quantity of sales in a shorter time period. However, getting the most sales isn’t always ideal; you should be striving for high-quality sales, which is to say sales to customers who will likely return, who will spread word of your business to others and who will make large transactions. To attract these kinds of customers, it takes time and attention, but the investment is worth it.
3. Scripts and canned emails
Consumers are receiving so many marketing messages per day that they have become professionals at filtering out anything that feels fake or inauthentic. Any emails or phone calls that aren’t sincere and personalized will be ignored, ended and forgotten almost immediately. Forcing your sales team to engage in these tactics isn’t smart; regardless of whether you are targeting consumer or business clients, you need to take a customized approach to sales, so every prospect is uniquely engaged.
4. A lack of direction
Who is your ideal customer? To answer this question, you need hard data like age, occupation, income, location and interests. Then, you should transform this information into a few buyer personas, which will explain what type of products certain buyers need, variations of buying behavior and other critical sales clues. If you can’t provide your sales team with a handful of buyer personas, they won’t know which prospects to chase, which means their sales efforts will be much less efficient.
5. Equal treatment for all
Not all customers are created equal. As mentioned above, your ideal customer makes large purchases, is loyal and is enthusiastic about your brand. While you shouldn’t tell your sales team to be outright rude to anyone else, you should try to focus most of your team’s attention and energy on your ideal customer. Trying to provide equal treatment will spread your sales team thin - and likely send your ideal customers off in frustration.
Are you a sales leader, or are you a sales nanny? You should be able to trust your sales team to make decisions on their own, but if they aren’t properly trained - or if you have the wrong leadership mindset - you might be spending too much of your time on the sales floor, holding your team’s hands. Your job is to make big-picture decisions for the business, not baby your sales reps through deals, so you need to take steps to make your sales team more independent.
7. No empathy
Sometimes, sales can feel like a battlefield - us vs. them. However, that attitude eliminates your sales team’s empathy for their customers, which makes their efforts to pursue prospects and close a deal feel more predatory and less human. Customers hardly like being treated like fresh meat, so you need to work to eliminate your sales culture that’s based on conflict. Instead, try to build a culture of compassion between sales reps and prospects, so your sales team can understand common customer challenges and work with customers to overcome them.
As a business leader, you should be supporting the right prospecting efforts, which might mean revolutionizing your sales strategy. If you are guilty of committing any of the above major prospecting mistakes, you need to change your behavior fast - before your lack of sales has disastrous effects on the business.