A job in sales is not for the carefree. Hitting steep quotas and handling the push to always be on are things reps deal with every day.
However, we all have limits. And, sometimes, frustration sets in.
In a high-performance environment, getting frustrated is a recipe for disaster. I’m sure you’ve experienced some degree of this on the sales floor.
Here’s what it does to you: It interferes with your ability to do things right – things you normally have no issue with.
Performance suffers. Goals are not hit–resulting in even more frustration.
That said, it’s best to understand the common situations where salespeople get frustrated. This way, you know how to handle them when they arise.
1. “All I get are low-quality leads.”
Do you feel like you’re just not getting sales-ready leads you need in order to hit your quota?
You’re sure you’d get the numbers right– if only you’d get leads who are really interested in the product.
Sales reps from all industries work with leads of varying nature: warm, qualified, unqualified, and even cold.
At the end of the day, we want all of them to be sales-ready, but that’s wishful thinking.
Salespeople usually get two types of leads: Marketing qualified leads (MQL) and top-of-the-funnel (ToFu) leads.
MQLs are people who have demonstrated a desire to connect with the company–either through signing up for a trial, providing full information on a contact form, or directly reaching out to the sales team. Most of these leads are already in the consideration and decision stages.
ToFu leads are a different story. As your demand generation team works doubly hard to dish out content that attracts prospects, you will get leads from ebook downloads, webinar signups, and other content opt-ins. These are ToFu leads who could be interested in your product but could also just be in it for the ebook. Some can even fill out the opt-in with incorrect contact info just to get the content. These leads are still at the research stage and could be unsure as to what their current unmet needs are.
Connecting with ToFu leads only to get brushed off or even hung up on can quickly become frustrating.
What to do: Know the value of ToFu leads and how to handle them.
While MQLs have a much higher close rate since they’re already interested in the product, what you need to grasp is that the number of ToFu leads coming in exceed MQLs by a wide margin.
So, even if the close rate is much lower, the amount of business you can generate with ToFu leads is often more than what you get from MQLs if you do things right.
How should you handle ToFu leads?
See, you already have a rough idea of what ToFus need before engaging with them.
The content they opted-in for will give you an idea of what issues they’re facing.
Did they download the “Top Time-Saving Tips for Salespeople in 2016” ebook? Did they sign up for the webinar on getting more high ticket sales? The content should give you a heads up on what the ToFu lead is interested in and a rough idea of what the nature of their business is.
Your first conversation with a ToFu lead probably won’t be a selling one.
Take a consultative approach. Use the call to help them uncover inefficiencies and issues in their business. A helpful, non-pushy call will position you as a valuable resource for this lead. And in B2B sales, these types of relationships are what you want to develop with leads, especially with decision-makers.
Another upside of handling ToFu leads is that it gives salespeople the chance to do qualifying work on their own.
While the sales qualification and marketing departments do their part nurturing and qualifying ToFu leads, sales reps develop great relationships with ToFus when they nurture these leads themselves. They get to uncover sales needs with these qualifying conversations, putting them in a better position to go for the close eventually. If it doesn’t end in a sale, the rep will have learned more about the buyer’s journey.
The key here is identifying which ToFu leads should be handled by marketing/qualification, and which ones should be forwarded to sales. Not all ToFus should be phoned, and it takes communication among departments to make the correct distinction.
Your gated content could act as a screen to help this process. For example, a sales VP who downloads a whitepaper should be sent to sales to get this person on the phone as soon as possible. On the other hand, someone who only gave their email could be sent to marketing for further qualification.
So don’t let “low quality” leads frustrate you. Making the most out of them just takes awareness of the different stages a buyer goes through and what role you can play as a rep who nurtures leads that are not sales-ready yet.
2. “The sales process slows down the sales cycle.”
While there is no reason to ignore critical stances on existing practices, it’s still widely recognized that the top salespeople are those who follow the sales process in qualifying and closing deals.
Where does your frustration come from? Is it because you’re unable to close deals when you follow the outlined sales process?
Here’s the harsh truth: In sales, we need to be humble and trust the wisdom of management. We may think that we’re in better control of our sales calls when we don’t follow the process, but the reality is that when don’t follow the steps, we are really letting the deal slip out of our hands.
As Bob Urichuck of the National Association of Sales Professionals wrote in Are You Following A Sales Process?,
“Who is really qualifying? Who is really in control? The buyer!
Do you want to know why and how the buyer is in control? The answer is simple; buyers follow a buyers’ sales process, just like you do when meeting with a sales person. Sales people assume they are in control by answering all the questions, but in reality, it is the buyer who is in control. They actually carry out the rejection, not you.”
What to do: Trust the sales process. Identify when the buyer is taking control of the call instead of you.
While we’re in the business of helping buyers solve their problems, they don’t always know what they need. A lot of people today are sales-averse, and if salespeople don’t create the opportunity to position themselves as consultants, deals will be lost.
This is where the sales process comes into play. Sales processes are designed to lead the salesperson through the journey of uncovering buyers’ interest and match their need with a solution.
Using the sales process, reps qualify leads against buying motivation, financial status, and decision-making power.
Following the sales process gives you a complete view of your buyer’s situation. At each step, you get needed information important decide whether the deal is worth pursuing or not. Knowing exactly if a lead is worth your time will rid you of frustration. Letting the buyer lead conversations, however, will put you in a weak position and could get you exasperated.
3. “Do we really need to use the CRM all the time?”
Sales orgs these days are largely tech-driven, but problems in CRM compliance can still be found in almost any sales organization.
Why do some salespeople dislike using the CRM? Why does a piece of technology that’s supposed to help salespeople end up getting them frustrated instead?
You feel like the only thing you need to concern yourself with is closing deals. Having to type information into the CRM is just taking away minutes you could be using on the phone
While some sales reps look at the CRM an “un-productivity” tool, the reality is they couldn’t miss the mark any wider.
Salespeople can’t be faulted for focusing on closing deals, no matter how they do it–but there’s a reason why CRMs are a mainstay in almost all successful sales organizations.
What to do: Know what the CRM does for you and the company.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software paved the way for today’s sales acceleration solutions.
These tools help shorten the sales cycle, a goal all sales organizations have. And these days, reps who thrive are those who learn to embrace sales acceleration. Sales reps should understand that these tools were created to take out the frustration, not add to it. For some, there might be a moderate learning curve at first– but the results are worth it.
The benefits of using a CRM are quite straightforward:
- It is a more reliable place to store information versus your head or a notebook
- Automates repetitive admin tasks
- Speeds up the sales cycle
- Saves you the deals you won’t forget to follow up on
- Keeps the team on the same page about everyone else’s progress
- Gives the sales manager a more streamlined way to communicate with reps
- Gives everyone access to data for data-driven decisions
The overarching benefit of using a CRM is in getting the full view of your customers, prospects, and leads. Having this information gives you and your sales organization what’s needed to carry out a sales strategy that’s in line with where you stand and where you want to go.
Understanding the value of the CRM is crucial to the productivity of every sales rep. If you’re experiencing issues in this area, it’s best to communicate with your manager right away.
Communicate with management, engage in continuous training and education, and focus your energy on what can be done in the midst of tough situations.
Frustration in the workplace is normal–but being equipped with the right information helps you avoid it.
What are the sources of your frustration in sales? How do you deal with them?