Talent & Office Manager, 7+ Years of Logistics and New Hire Management
June 21st, 2013
Sales is such an important part of your team.
Without them, how would you turn those prospects and leads into customers?
It starts with prospecting, when you are finding the people or companies that could be potential clients. It takes work to get their attention.
Which is why it's so important that once you have their attention that your sales team does all the right things to turn them into a customer.
There are quite a few mistakes that you can make when prospecting. By learning about these possible sales prospecting mistakes, we hope to help your company avoid them all together.
6 Sales Prospecting Blunders You Should Avoid
1. Not Defining Qualified Leads
Unfortunately, this happens more often than you think.
It's the job of the marketing team to attract leads to your company, but sales and marketing need to work together to determine what characteristics comprise to make a "qualified" lead.
A qualified lead is a potential customer who is interested in your product or service and meets the general buying criteria.
Every company is going to have different criteria for who they consider a qualified lead. If you need help determine what characteristics make up your qualified leads, consider identifying who your buyer personas are.
Maybe their qualified leads are the CEO's of businesses with 50-200 employees that are in need of your services. A qualified lead is a step further than your target audience.
2. Poor Sales and Marketing Alignment
Your sales team needs to know what your marketing team is doing.
Did marketing release a new offer? Or did they have a popular blog post that drove a ton of traffic to your website?
Both teams continuously need to be in communication with one another. Marketing should regularly send updates to sales letting them know what's going on, what offers are going out and sending them relevant content that can help them close a sale. However, this shouldn't just be a one way street.
Sales should also be in communication with marketing, routinely asking them questions.
Often times, your sales team might have no idea about what content your marketing team is developing. Therefore, marketing shouldn't always be asking questions or providing insight. Sales should take it upon themselves to inform marketing on the overall quality of the leads they're getting.
Take a proactive step and use content as a way to gage how educational and relevant your content is. Just don't forget to provide marketing with all that insight.
3. Forgetting To Do Your Homework
How soon after a prospect becomes a lead are you calling them? You might be connecting with them too soon.
Not every lead in your system is going to be qualified. They might just be a competitor or an evangelist.
If you're going to try and call a prospect without doing any research, you might as well just hang up the phone right now.
Don't just research a contacts company, research the contact. Are they the CEO or someone that can sign an agreement? You need to know if that person has decision-making capabilities.
Not knowing anything about the prospect is a sure fire way for them to quickly hang up the phone.
Cold calling is no longer a relevant method of contacting prospects and leads. Many consider cold calling an exercise in futility and the least efficient way to find potential customers.
The Internet makes it easy to connect and research your contacts. Consider looking to see what they're posting on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Developing a relationship with contacts and leads is a great way to gain trust.
The more time you spend researching a prospect, the better off you'll be.
4. Making a Pitch Instead of Asking Questions
How many times has a sales person called you and never asked a single question? They couldn't even ask how's your day.
They were too busy making a pitch. No prospect wants to sit on a sales call where you are doing all the talking.
It's great that you love talking about your company and the different services you provide, but you probably aren't telling them how you have help solve their problem.
During your connect calls you should be using the 70/30 rule, where you're listening 70% of the time and speaking only for the other 30%.
You should be asking them questions, listening to their responses, and then responding. Providing them with answers on how your company can help solve their problems.
It's important to remember that asking questions allows you to engage with them and build a rapport with those people.
5. Being Inconsistent
To be your companies star sales representative, you need to be consistent.
You don't want to spend a whole week prospecting and then take a break for two weeks. Unfortunately, you aren't going to get good results.
You need to develop a process, in order to prospect successfully. You constantly need to stay in contact with prospects. In those two weeks, where you had no communication with them, there's the chance that you could lose prospects to a competitor.
Your pipeline is a targeted list of potential buyers who might have an interest in your products or services. If you want to have a good and consistent pipeline, then you need to be consistent with your prospecting efforts.
6. Not Following Up
It's very rare to close a sale on the first call. It almost never happens, even more simple deals.
Every deal usually requires a significant amount of follow ups. Even if you haven't committed any of the previous blunders, if you're not following up this could knock you off your feet.
Even if a prospect initially seems interested, you still need to follow up with them. According to Follow Up Success, 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact.
That's the very reason why you need to consistently follow up.
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