Have you considered the negative impact on your team’s pipeline and close rate due to an outdated sales management strategy?
U.S. companies spend over $20 billion a year on sales training, yet much of this training is based on out of date strategies and tactics that now repel and annoy prospects from signing your proposals.
If your team is spending a lot of time and energy but rarely closing deals, it’s likely time to change things up. Here are the four most common mistakes we’ve seen in sales management strategies:
1. Ignoring or refusing to adopt sales software because it’s “complicated”
Did you know that 40% of sales reps still use ad hoc processes such as tools that do not centralize and aggregate data. You probably know someone who is still using Microsoft Excel or Outlook to store leads and customer data - so do we! Today’s reps need to be armed with as much data as possible, and sales leaders need visibility into their team’s pipeline to adapt their sales management strategies quickly.
There is a perception that software can disrupt an otherwise efficient sales process. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. 29% of salespeople are spending an hour or more on data entry each and every day - and hour that can be practically wiped away using digital selling software. If your reps had an extra hour per day to prospect and move their deals forward, imagine the impact that would have on their results!
2. Telling your team to “sell” instead of “consult”
The ability to create content that generates interest and engagement in your offering well before a phone call or meeting has changed selling forever. “Inbound” has become the buzzword in both sales and marketing because of its ability to influence prospects and connect with their interests without them feeling as though they are being “sold.”
With the average person seeing up to 5,000 ads per day, it’s critical to make your content and interactions with prospects count.
A sales management strategy that does not feature an inbound component is no strategy at all.
Talking about your offering’s features without an understanding of the customer’s pain points, goals and behavioral considerations will not work. The inbound sales process has a consultative focus to it, and forces your reps to think through how to uncover gaps, opportunities, and needs that can be solved.
Try the GPCT approach to selling. Uncover the prospect's Goals, Plans, Challenges, and Timeline. Determine the prospect’s goals for the year, then uncover their plans for achieving those goals. Next, help the prospect discover challenges in achieving their goals using their current plans. Finally, determine when they will introduce their plans to achieve their goals.
3. Training your team on the “impending doom” close
One of the oldest tricks in the book...and honestly, one of the least effective in today’s connected and digital ecosystem. The impending doom close is a way of selling via imminent disaster to the very fabric of the prospects existence if they do not sign the deal. Not cool.
Hard closes only work if you have the data from your document tracking solution that your prospects are engaged and interested in moving forward.
Sales management strategies that succeed are those that bring together the principles of inbound sales with the insights from their sales technology stack.
4. Over-reliance on human interactions
Although AI, bots, and Robotic Process Automation are still in the early phases of maturity, more and more businesses are using it to save costs and increase operational efficiency. If you are thinking about a self-service component, make sure to clearly define the touchpoints where human interactions are most relevant and meaningful.
5. Formal, manually created reports
In today’s mobile-centric and constantly connected ecosystem, data and information is flowing in and out of your sales team’s devices and tools all day. Though this data may be from disparate sources, your sales automation and IT tools should be aggregating and dynamically creating reports for sales leaders and executive reviews.
Forcing your team to spend half a day or longer to mine data and information from a variety of places, build out a custom spreadsheet or report, which may or may not be reviewed carefully, is not the best use of your reps time. And, BI tools such as GoodData make it easy to aggregate data and understand the impact of your sales reps’ effort.
What’s keeping sales leaders from ditching these strategies from your point of view? What’s more important, changing your mindset or changing your strategy? Check out our post about how sales leaders can help their reps closing the sale.