By Shelley Cernel
Good sales managers and sales reps won’t just accept that a deal was lost – they’ll want to know how it can be prevented in the future. In understanding the reasons your team is losing deals, you can take the steps necessary to make changes and boost revenue.
So take a step back and evaluate your sales process. Making one or more of the following mistakes can deter a prospect, stall a deal, and even cost you the opportunity. But these actionable insights will help you pull prospects through the pipeline.
1) You aren’t personalizing your selling strategy
Sales is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Deviating from an en-masse strategy is particularly important in today’s marketplace where buyers can drop in and fall out of the sales funnel at any stage in the buying journey. The modern B2B buyer now expects a personalized purchase process and solution that takes into consideration their unique challenges and priorities. As such, sales reps must know who they are talking to (i.e. demographics, geographics, psychographics, and firmographics), where the prospect is in the sales cycle, how a buyer progresses through their journey, the context of their pain points, and the customer’s expectations. Use this information to tailor content, messaging, value propositions, and sales strategy.
A sales enablement tool makes this process scalable, helping to provide that personalized experience that buyers demand. Dashboards offer insight into real-time behaviors and into what prospects are looking for so that sales can engage each individual with relevant information.
2) You aren’t selling to the buying committee
B2B sales are increasingly complex in nature. Today’s sales situations often involve at least 7 executives, with some buying committees having upwards of 20 people. You should know who all of the decision-makers are and understand each of their needs and pain points. Though the team may have different backgrounds, there are probably multiple people experiencing the same or similar problems. With this information in hand, reps will know how to steer the conversation and which pieces of content will best propel prospects through the pipeline.
3) You aren’t solving the right problem
Many reps make the mistake of talking too much and not taking the time to listen. Most B2B buyers look for vendors who understand their business and the challenges they face. Keep the focus on helping the prospect rather than pushing product on them. Ask questions to get to know the buyer’s needs, challenges, and pain points. If you can’t answer these questions, you will have a difficult time advancing the deal and may simply not be a good fit. Keep in mind that you are helping people and solving problems, not merely making transactions.
4) You are unable to create a compelling case for change
In many cases, your biggest competitor is the status quo – it’s easier to do nothing than to make a change. To avoid stalling the deal, reps need to be able to create a sense of urgency — a reason that the prospect needs to purchase now. What is the impact of not taking action? Is it lost revenue, increased risk, or the inability to effectively compete? Once you have an angle, you can convince the buyer that the cost and risk of choosing your solution outweighs the cost and risk of doing nothing.
Secondly, reps must help prospects build a business case, which will enable them to justify the purchase and to sell the solution internally to other decision makers. It’s also important to demonstrate ROI for the buyer.
5) You aren’t adding value to the sales conversation
Today’s B2B buyers don’t want to hear a pitch – they want to learn something. A recent LinkedIn survey found that B2B prospects are 5x more likely to engage with a sales professional who provides new insights about their business. However, only 1 in 5 sales reps brings value to their buyers.
Adding value means being able to offer perspective on the market that helps a customer understand their weaknesses, see how to improve, know what to say to support their business case, and have the insights to make an informed buying decision. Each time you engage with a prospect is an opportunity to add value. In every engagement, you should be demonstrating that you understand the buyer, their industry, and their challenges, goals, and priorities.
6) You are sharing the wrong content
Increasingly, buyers are relying on content to guide them through the complex purchase process, from research to purchase. In fact, 2/3 of buyers say that the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on their purchase decision. But, content is not effective if it’s irrelevant to the prospect. Further, sharing irrelevant material can make you look unreliable, untrustworthy, and unworthy of their investment.
You should be sharing content that is appropriate to the buyer’s persona and stage in the sales cycle. It should address any questions or apprehensions, demonstrate value, and show how ROI can be attained. Sales enablement tools automate this process by surfacing the right content at the right time based on the sales situation.
7) You are neglecting the customer experience
In the age of the consumer, it’s important to focus on customer-centricity, a situation in which companies must adopt a customers-first attitude and adapt to ever-evolving customer behavior. It’s important to remember that customer experience goes beyond just post-sales activities. It includes all interactions from before the prospect even considers buying to after the purchase is finalized.
Organizations need to create a buying experience that is engaging, educational, and personalized to the individual and their needs and stage in the buyer journey. This strategy becomes even more valuable when you consider the lifetime value of a customer, as sales experience is worth 53% of a buyer’s likelihood to be a loyal customer and brand advocate.
8) You aren’t following a consistent sales process
How can you replicate best practices and successes without a consistent sales process? Maintaining a workflow enables you to collect data and gather important insights that can guide further improvements and successes. For example, how many touch points does it take to set a meeting? What messaging is most effective at advancing prospects to each consecutive stage? What content accelerates deals and generates the highest ROI? Equally important is leveraging the sales tools you have in your arsenal. Incorporating these technologies into the workflow will drive productivity, help accelerate sales, and give reps back more time to focus on core selling activities.
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