In this list, I want to share with you the most important mistakes, or as I call them, cardinal sins that I see reps continuing to make when trying (and failing) to get more sales. These come from my experience in selling software development but can actually be applied to almost any other industry.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
#5 – Thinking quantity is better than quality
I can’t tell you how many cold emails I have seen over these years where it feels like I’m just part of a ginormous mass mailing list. No personalization at all makes your emails completely forgettable.
Clearly, these reps think that by sending dozens or even hundreds of emails in one single go is their best bet to get someone to agree to an intro call or book a meeting to hear about their awesome product. Thing is, the product might actually be awesome but if a potential client feels like the email has no special quality to it and it was mass-produced it automatically cheapens the entire proposal.
Reps are way better off spending their time personalizing their email and choosing a strategy that fits each potential client uniquely than just sending hundreds of emails a day. Don’t think about closing a deal when you can’t even get a decision-maker to open your email in the first place.
And speaking about strategy…
#4 – Forgetting how to strategize
It’s no mystery that B2B deals require multiple touchpoints to close, must have buy-in from multiple decision-makers within the organization, and have a higher price point when compared to B2C sales. Therefore, success boils down to how good of a strategy you have to walk clients through all of the stages of a deal.
Create your own outbound strategy – use cold emailing with clever personalization and even subject lines that get readers interested before even opening your email, use cold calling to take your follow up to the next level and complement it with LinkedIn invites.
For this step, I always try to keep in mind to DYOR (Do Your Own Research). Understand what the company does, who their clients are, who their partners are, if they’ve conducted any recent funding rounds, and – in the case of software development – are they hiring more engineering positions? Are they looking to expand into new markets? Link all of these data points with your product or service and you are going to have a much better excuse of reaching out to them with a highly personalized and strategized email.
#3 – Thinking the work is done
When a company already has a developed outreach strategy that helps close deals it’s crucial to think about it as a process that has to continuously be improved. This is a common mistake for reps to make simply because they see the status quo, they have results with it, therefore they see no valid reason for changing things.
But sales is an ever-changing field. If you are not tearing down parts of your sales strategy to rebuild it differently then you are risking that the market and your ideal clients evolve while your approach remains the same. Are my ideal clients the same as last year? Are you, as a Sales rep, keeping up with the latest Sales insights? Are you using the most effective tools to reach the right audience? All of these are questions you need to ask yourself over and over just to make sure you catch any shifts on time to adapt to them.
#2 – Not using productivity hacks
If you are selling software development then this is a no-brainer. When you are exposed to software and app development on a daily basis you quickly learn that everything can be done more efficiently with the right technology. But, even so, if you are not working in this field you need to keep an eye on using the latest sales tools that will ultimately help you become more productive.
Explore and find CRM options that can help you document your customer interactions and record all of your deal updates. Email trackers are another way to boost your insight into whether or not your emails are being read and clicked on. Text expanders can also be added to most browsers to help you quickly paste text snippets to reply to emails or use in chats to help you answer frequently asked questions.
Sales reps can also use additional extensions to record their to-do lists and even tools that help them share their calendars for prospects to book them directly. Again, if it’s a daily activity then there is a better way to do it using tech.
#1 – Talking instead of listening
One of the biggest mistakes I see over and over being made in B2B deals by sales reps is not taking the time to discover a potential client’s needs. If you are not taking the time to ask about a company’s challenges, objectives, and dissatisfactions, then you are simply not going to have any ammo to deliver a compelling solution that communicates the added value that your product or service brings.
Try focusing on asking open-ended questions that elicit an ample response. Something that allows you to get to the very core of your client’s pain points and how you can solve it.
During the first few sales meetings you should be doing an 80/20 rule. 80% of the time it’s your potential client talking and the remaining 20% is your sales pitch. Some examples of good questions are: What’s your company’s biggest challenge during this last year? What does this challenge cost your company?
Most reps jump to making a sales pitch without even listening to a client’s needs because they are used to deliver the same generic sales pitch in yet another way of spray and pray. It might work sometimes but it’s definitely not going to work most of the time.
Have you made these mistakes lately? Or perhaps you’ve noticed some of them in other reps? Share this article if you think it could be helpful. After all, working in sales can be one of the most rewarding jobs you’ll ever have, when done correctly.
About the author
Graduated from the Bachelor Degree in International Studies from Universidad Francisco Gavidia. Eduardo has over 5 years of experience in Business Development. He’s currently an Account Executive at Applaudo Studios.