It doesn’t matter how brilliantly your marketing team pull in the qualified leads, or how exceptionally well your salespeople know your product…Without a solid sales process, you can kiss goodbye to new business.
Considering the importance of sales pipelines, it would be absolutely crazy to neglect this area of your company…right?
Well, research conducted by Vantage Point Performance and the Sales Management Association revealed that 44% of executives think their organization is ineffective at managing theirs!
If you take your eye off the ball and let the following sales mistakes slip through the net, you will soon be noticing large amounts of revenue slide through your fingers…
Mistake #1: Your Outbound Sales Team Are Talking To The Wrong People
You could have the hottest-talking sales team in the world…but that doesn’t mean much to the wrong audience.
For example – it’s no good aimlessly engaging with the marketing executive for months on end, if the marketing CMO is the decision maker (who in this scenario, just so happens to be very distant from lower-level execs).
This information needs to be carefully considered.
Closing deals becomes laborious, frustrating and somewhat of a merry-go-round (for all parties) without the necessary prep carried out beforehand.
Applying the concept of Account Based Marketing strategies, ensure your sales team know exactly who they are targeting…and why
In addition to knowledge of company structure, they should have each and every member of target organizations listed down…including their social profiles and online activity, along with personas and expected (or known) clout in the business.
Don’t forget their individual and overall pain points.
This information can gradually be profiled over time until it’s substantial enough to act upon. Social Media is a great, low-pressure channel for such activity…but don’t let the following mistake occur.
Mistake #2: Your Salespeople Are ‘Selling’ Like Robots
Yes, Social Media is immensely powerful for sales…but that doesn’t mean your team are to hit-up targets like they would cold-call on their doorsteps, once upon a time. Hell no!
Social is meant to be social. It’s a steady process of trust and relationship building. During those stages, there should be absolutely ZERO mention of sales.
Whether it’s Social Media or other means of digital communication; technology is helping us move faster and operate more efficiently, but at what cost?
Well, people forget to be human! Ironically enough, that equates to less sales.
“Sales people are 4.2 times more likely to gain an appointment if they already have a personal connection with the buyer.”
Put down that promotional megaphone, quit the drone and begin to genuinely interact with people.
The difference in results will be astonishing! I can vouch for that.
Please stop sending out thousands of templated emails made up of 20 sizes of font with a generic ‘Hey!’ – minus any name at the beginning!
You’re wasting your time.
Really get to know your prospects and show your keen interest in helping them reach their goals.
Use language like ‘you’ and ‘I’… never use ‘synergy’ or any other cringe-worthy words of that nature!
I always place myself in the recipients’ shoes and imagine how I would feel at the other end of the conversation or email.
Don’t be afraid to present your true personality – it works wonders for brand loyalty.
Mistake #3: Errors, Typos And Bad Grammar In Emails
Nothing is worse than hitting ‘send’, then realizing a glaring error in your email…like using the wrong name. Or saying, you will provide ‘advise’.
If there’s no quality control in your marketing automation processes, there could be many mistakes like this constantly being sent out on a loop and nobody will be any the wiser…unless a recipient (who is kind enough) bothers to alert you!
Let’s face it…any little blunder via email makes your company look bad and leaves a lasting, negative impression which most certainly has the power to destroy your likelihood of generating sales.
Regularly check, test and optimize automated emails that are part of your lead nurturing cycle.
For manual emails, read them 10 times over before sending – and urge your teams to do the same.
In more complex cases, also pass emails around the department for input from colleagues (if it makes sense to do so).
Finally, something not many people would think to do: ask for direct feedback from recipients!
This not only helps you improve, but actually draws prospects closer to you – increasing your chances of acquiring them as a customer.
Mistake #4: Buying Technology For Management Only
Seriously – why spend thousands each month on shiny new software if it’s only being used within 10% of its potential?
I’ve witnessed it before and it’s painful.
The aim of sales and marketing automation software is to entirely connect all internal teams with a view to reaching mutual goals. To reach these goals, constant communication (across the whole company) is essential.
Better internal communication = Optimised external communication.
“30-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.”
(Source: The Brevet Group)
Data and progress needs to be recorded at every customer touchpoint, whether successful or unsuccessful. This keeps everybody singing from the same hymn sheet and circumvents embarrassing mishaps – such as email crossover between prospects and multiple salespeople from your team.
Set varied levels of access to keep your software tidy and undiluted.
Salesforce, Marketo and Eloqua integrate with Sparklane’s solution for maximum efficiency and organization.
Mistake #5: Neglecting Your Valuable Leads
Think about the amount of hard work that is constantly driven into acquisition through marketing.
Now think about all that hard work going to waste.
“79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance.”
Few B2B brands have truly mastered the art of scoring leads based on their propensity to buy. Not only that – sales teams don’t always follow through on the opportunities that stem from marketing.
It’s a costly mistake.
When set up correctly, lead nurturing alerts salespeople when the time is right to attempt a close.
If you don’t follow up on red-hot prospects as quickly as possible, you will likely lose the opportunity to a competitor who made time to engage.
It’s also important to remain persistent…but never become annoying. It’s a thin line, yet the stats speak for themselves:
“80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after a meeting. 44% of sales reps give up after only 1 follow-up.”
(Source: The Brevet Group)
(Source: Marketing Donut)
Review your sales processes – are they closely aligned with your marketing campaigns?
- Set up robust marketing automation and score all your website visitors
- Regularly check and cleanse leads
- Encourage stronger communication between sales and marketing departments
- Create dedicated sales funnels for prospects who have formally met you
- Don’t give up – follow up
- Be timely in response!