Can’t figure out why your investment in lead generation isn’t paying off? You might want to look at your sales department and how they may be dropping the ball when it comes to business-to-business telemarketing.
While some salespeople are doing things right, and by the book, some are not. Instead of engaging prospects in tele-nuturing, the building of long-term, future-oriented relationships over the phone, many teams let sales slip away when they skip critical steps in the sales process.
Here are three things that unwittingly get in the way of making new sales.
#1: Commission craze
Most salespeople dwell on commissions. They are constantly concerned about making their quotas. But this kind of thinking is problematic because it keeps them focused on short-term goals. So they don’t look at other paths to increase sales. A company may be interested in expanding into other markets, for example, but when salespeople’s attention is riveted on the here and now, they miss those faraway payoff opportunities.
One way to tackle this challenge is to set up different metrics. Companies don’t always track performance the right way when it comes to commissions, but by rethinking this key incentive, companies can refocus sales teams to have a long-term, future-oriented outlook.
#2: Going for the kill
Not all salespeople know the correct steps for making a sale. Some quote prices before a prospect even understands the product and how they can benefit from it, some go for the close too quickly, and others forget to maintain relationships once they make a sale. In their rush to finish the deal, opportunities are lost.
Instead of encouraging salespeople to just go for the lowest-hanging fruit (i.e. the easy sales), a solid business-to-business telemarketing plan sets up a process for long-term nurturing, which helps managers ensure their salespeople carry out all phases of the sales process. If the sales department does not have the resources or skills to do this, then long-term opportunities should be passed back to marketing, where they can use handle the nurturing process, only passing the leads to sales when they are ready.
#3: Lack of faith
Many salespeople prefer face-to-face contact with prospects. Perhaps this explains why we at 3D2B often encounter sales teams that don’t appreciate the benefits of lead generation and nurturing via the phone. These teams don’t have faith in the business-to-business telemarketing process or in the leads being passed to them.
Leads may come from their marketing department or from an external company like ours, yet they don’t follow through with calls or making updates in their system. Prospects regularly tell us, “A sales person never called.” The result? Marketing wastes money by spending time generating, and qualifying, leads that ultimately go nowhere, and prospects are left with a negative impression because company representatives do not seem to care about them.
To overcome this challenge, companies need to help their salespeople see the big picture. It’s critical for sales department team members to understand the company’s long-term goals. Since salespeople don’t always develop the right target people or criteria, it’s also essential that they buy into the benefits of pre-qualification.
Turning leads into sales
If your prospects tend to have long sales cycles, it’s especially important that your sales team move beyond the challenges of commission craze, going for the kill, and lack of faith. That’s because prospects with a 9-12 month sales cycle are definitely going to need to be nurtured, and that’s difficult to pull off without a relationship-building campaign carried out consistently—over months.
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