One of the best things about being in the sales profession is how much brilliant thought leadership is readily available. Some of the world’s top sales leaders are more than willing to share best practices with improvement-minded reps. And while the vast majority of tips, tactics and recommendations I see are beneficial, there are still some pervasive myths about sales calls that need to be busted.
The myth that sales is just a numbers game, probably originated from door-to-door transactional sales. The idea being that, with a good pitch, if you “ring enough doorbells,” you’ll close a deal. But if you’re selling to businesses, monitoring your reps’ activities should only be the beginning. Sure, you want to make sure that reps are actively calling and emailing prospects. But you might find that your top-performing reps aren’t the ones making the most dials. It’s common for A-players to not just work hard, but also smart. Your top reps might simply be more efficient. If they are lead-generating BDRs, they might be smarter about who they are reaching out to. They may be following a well-defined process to qualify leads faster. They could be leveraging tools that increase productivity or surface contextual prospect data. As a sales manager it’s important to not only track which reps are busiest, but also which team members are connecting with the most prospects, getting the most meetings, creating the most opportunities and closing the most deals.
Most credible evidence points to the fact that the Loch Ness Monster doesn’t exist, yet tourists still regularly show up at the Scottish lake in hopes of catching glimpse of a prehistoric lake monster. Similarly, evidence is clear that sales reps get the best results by reaching out to prospects multiple times, and still, reps still seem to believe that they should move on after reaching out to a prospect just once or twice. According to Hubspot, the average rep attempts to call leads 1.3 times before giving up. This approach is a one-way ticket to losing revenue.
We’ve seen time and time again that persistence really does pay off. It’s often beneficial for reps to work fewer leads at once, but really follow a thorough sales cadence with them. We recommend at least eight touch points before sending a lead back to marketing for more nurturing.
We’ve all heard the saying before that the customer is always right. And once they truly become customers, this might be true, but this adage shouldn’t necessarily be applied to target customers. According to Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon’s research in The Challenger Sale, the most successful salespeople routinely challenge their prospective customers. After all, your prospects might not fully comprehend how your product can deliver value. They may have assumptions about what your offering can or can’t do, but those assumptions might be incorrect. As an example, there are myriad small businesses leaders who think they don’t need or can’t afford a CRM like Salesforce.
Often, the best salespeople understand their prospective customers’ business and industry as well (if not better than) their customers. By challenging target customers’ preconceptions, you can not only posit yourself as an expert, but can empower prospects to see your offering in a new light.
Looking for some more ways to help your sales team improve? Our free eBook features some of the most important questions that you can ask prospects to qualify them and move deals forward.