A good sales leader knows exactly when their company’s sales activity is performing at 100%. Or whether certain factors or attitudes are actually preventing business growth.
If you want your company to be in the high performing category, there are certain major pitfalls to avoid:
1 Poor lead qualification
Underestimating the importance of classifying leads can have disastrous effects on your results. Lead qualification tells you who makes the purchasing decisions in your target market. Having that information motivates the sales team; if they know the level of maturity (hot or cold leads), it’s much easier to communicate the value proposition and close the sale.
Without categorising there’s no way of knowing exactly how much effort the sales team is making to close transactions. There’s also no information for adjusting sales strategy to correct errors, or reinforce positive actions.
2 Training focused solely on the product
80% of sales training is product focused. But a salesperson that goes out into the field only knowing their product characteristics and benefits by heart … is a salesperson doomed to fail. They haven’t taken into account a crucial factor in the buying process: listen to your customer first.
The best training that exists is to listen to the user’s needs. If you differentiate by highlighting the other 20% of training, the sales will look after themselves. It’s up to you to help with the purchasing decision, proposing a solution perfectly adapted to the needs of the potential customer. Sales training should put the consumer at the very core of its strategy and accompany them throughout the buying process – listening, not imposing.
You can’t give answers without first asking questions. Start applying the 70/30 rule in your sales visits: let the customer speak for 70% of the time – 30% for the salesperson is plenty.
3 Ignoring the importance of coaching
Inverse reporting should provide a snapshot of the sales force’s activity, and offer a roadmap of actions for the whole team. If the sales director has all this information but doesn’t know how to motivate his representatives, the stumbling block is obvious.
Members of the sales team need to see results and debate with their leader as to whether the process is productive, or if they need to redefine certain actions. Customers should always see consistency between a company’s salespeople. If you ignore the importance of coaching you’re at risk of communicating different messages, when the value proposition is the same.
4 Forgetting the role your current customers play
Influencer marketing is becoming increasingly widespread. If you see your customers as a collection of sales, you’re mistaken. And you’re diminishing the huge potential that customer recommendations represent.
If you want to attract potential customers through word of mouth, you first need to identify your most active clients. Use your CRM to detect future influencers: people you’ve done business with and who are highly satisfied customers. Define specific actions for them and demonstrate that your relationship of trust is reciprocal.
Digital analyst Brian Solis outlines three fundamental requisites for this process: look for the maximum reach, relevance and repercussion of your influencers. Each time you convert you have the opportunity to expand your community of contacts – and the reach of your customer recommendations.