3 Reasons Your B2B Sales Process Isn’t Effective

Building an effective B2B sales team isn’t as simple as hiring a few good sales people and having a quality product for them to sell. Yes, those are both key ingredients necessary for closing deals, but communication is critical if you want to maximize the sales team’s potential and make sure their activity supports your business’ overall growth targets.

Here are three common mistakes that I’ve seen companies make that end up holding their sales teams back and limiting their revenue growth:

1) You’re keeping it all in your head

If your company started out as a small shop, you’re probably used to handling a significant amount of the sales activity yourself. But that just doesn’t scale. In order for your business to grow, you need to share the lessons you’ve learned about the sales process and what makes a good prospect and pass that valuable information along to your sales team.

There are three key guidelines that you need to establish to make sure everyone is on the same page and working efficiently:

  • Customer profile: What types of businesses are you targeting and what types of contacts do you need to talk to at those companies? Is there a specific vertical you want to focus on? You don’t want your sales reps wasting time talking to the wrong people.
  • Raw leads vs. qualified leads: How do you see the difference between a raw lead and a qualified lead? Do your sales and marketing departments understand — and agree about — what these terms mean? Filtering leads this way will help your sales team use their time more efficiently and help generate higher quality leads as well.
  • Your definition of opportunities: What questions do you need to have answered to turn a lead into an opportunity? Do you know what factors are most closely correlated to your buyer making a purchase? Is your sales team ready to ask these questions during their conversations with prospects? Understanding what makes an opportunity an opportunity will create significant scale and efficiencies.

Arm your sales team with the knowledge they need to succeed, and then step back and let them take the lead in the sales process.

2) You’re treating all leads the same way

Not all leads are created equal, so a one-size-fits-all approach to sales just isn’t going to work. If your sales reps are approaching cold leads and hot leads the same way, then you have a problem.

You need to establish a consistent process for how different types of leads are handled — and make sure your whole sales team is onboard. Consider how many calls and emails warm leads need compared to hot leads and share your decisions with the team.

Cold calls will also need a different approach. Think through how you want to handle these types of leads and who you want to handle them so you can make sure it gets done and gets done consistently.

You don’t want sales reps, particularly less experienced sales reps, just making it up as they go. That’s how warm leads go cold and potential opportunities get missed.

3) You’re pushing sales reps away

If your sales reps don’t stick around very long, it’s usually a sign that something needs to change — most likely your sales quotas or compensation plan.

Quotas and comp plans are meant to be motivators, something to push sales reps to help your company hit its revenue goals and growth targets. But sales quotas that are overly complex or focus on negative consequences can end up backfiring and leading to high turnover instead.

Sales quotas, and the comp plans associated with them, should be meaningful and achievable. They should give your sales reps a clear goal to work toward, and they should be able to map out the steps they’ll need to take to achieve that goal. If there’s too much mystery associated with the process, they’ll get frustrated and move on to another opportunity.

It’s also important to make an investment in things like sales training and peer accountability groups to make sure your sales reps are properly equipped for the job and continue to hone their skills.

Most business owners understand that they need to invest in training for more technical roles, like engineers and technicians. It’s just a necessary part of doing business and delivering a good product. This is something that often gets overlooks for sales reps, but it’s just as critical.

Recipe for B2B sales success

Taking the time to plan ahead and communicate with your sales team will help you avoid these types of mistakes. And more importantly, it can help you take your B2B sales team to the next level.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to establish your B2B sales process and set your team up to hit their goals, download our recipe for success, How to Develop a High-Performing Sales Team.

High Performing Sales Team Recipe for Success

 

Photo by: Scott Ableman

Rob Merklinger
Rob Merklinger
SVP of Sales

Rob Merklinger is the SVP of Sales at Salary.com. Previously, he was the Vice President of Sales at Intronis, a Boston-based provider of world-class backup and data protection solutions for the IT channel. He is an experienced software sales leader with a proven track record for driving success and developing sales talent. Guest blogs by Rob are published monthly and are part of MSPmentor's annual platinum sponsorship.
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