The B2B sales process typically spans multiple stages and involves multiple decision-makers. That's why it can be challenging to hone in on the exact reason whenever a deal fails to close. LinkedIn's 2021 State of Sales Report polled B2B decision-makers to find out what they consider B2B dealbreakers. Below is a summary of their findings that will help you avoid pitfalls and increase conversion rates.
Avoid delivering misleading information
Misleading marketing material might help you bag some quick wins now, but it can result in untold long-term damage. Once a brand has been found using shading marketing or sales tactics, the reputation is hard to shake in the eyes of the public. And while measuring the actual impact on the bottom line due to reputational harm might not be clear, it doesn't mean it's any less real.
Instead of boosting immediate sales, it can even cause you to lose more than you win. Some customers will extensively research service or product offerings on their own. If they catch you being dishonest or misleading, it will be tough to repair the relationship, earn back their trust, and make the sale.
Many brands are shifting their focus from converting new customers to improving their customer lifetime value. Acquiring customers costs 5x as much as retaining existing ones, and increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits by 25-95%. The success rate of selling to existing customers is also 60-70%, much higher than the 5-20% average for new ones.
It's clear that to maximize growth and ROI, companies should focus on relationships instead of quick-win tactics.
Not knowing your company and its needs
Not every company has the same targets, challenges, and opportunities regarding sales. Everything depends on the nature of your products and services, industry, target market, competition, and trends.
It goes without saying that, to use sales intelligence effectively, salespeople must understand the business inside and out. What separates good salespeople from great ones is a sensitivity to the needs of different companies and an ability to tailor their sales approach to those needs.
If they don't, salespeople may misinterpret sales intelligence, causing them to chase after the wrong leads. It can also cause a misalignment between the goals of individual salespeople or teams and that of the company. For example, prioritizing the wrong products or service contracts at crucial times.
Know your products and services
A solid understanding of the business and its offerings will allow salespeople to target customers with the right products at the correct times.
It's not feasible and unrealistic to inspect salespeople to possess the intimate knowledge and understanding of engineers and product teams. However, salespeople should still understand the products and services inside and out to communicate their value to customers authoritatively, truthfully, and confidently - at least at a high level.
It will also allow you to use sales intelligence to curate suitable product and service leads. Recommending the right products to the right leads will increase the potential of your sales intelligence data and improve your chance of conversions.
Learn about your competitors and their services
Just as it's essential to understand your own company as well as its products and services, so it's important to understand your competition. What your competitors do, how they do it, and their success can reveal much about the current market landscape. This can help you understand why you underperform in certain areas or outcompete in others.
Knowing the specifics of how individual offerings differ from competing products in terms of features, capabilities, and pricing is also essential. Your product's unique value proposition can be an important factor that sways 50/50 sales in your favor.
Even if you miss out on sales, this knowledge will help you understand why. Do you need to highlight certain features of your product more? Target a different market segment? Do you need to make any improvements in future updates?
Create a brand image that reflects trust
Salespeople are at the frontline of how the business interacts with consumers. In fact, they carry one of the few roles that require direct, personal contact with the business' customers. This means they are essential in shaping how customers see the brand.
A salesperson's conduct should always reflect the values of the brand. The salesperson's attitude, honesty, and confidence will directly impact a customer's perception of the company as a whole.
It may also be that a specific product or service fell out of trust with a customer for various reasons. Maybe there was some unexpected billing, a service was not delivered on time, a promised feature never made it to the live product, etc. Whatever the cause for concern, a sales rep should uncover it so they can address it directly. This way, you can hopefully salvage the relationship by re-establishing that lost trust.
Stop cold-calling or emailing rapidly
Sales intelligence is a powerful tool that helps salespeople manage and interact with leads. However, with great power comes great responsibility, and a salesperson must take care not to abuse the ease with which they can contact leads.
There's a subtle difference between coming across as an attentive and proactive salesperson and a nuisance. Not all customers are equally receptive to cold calling, and a salesperson's job is to develop a feel for when it's the right call.
The type of contact, their familiarity with your brand, how far down the sales funnel they are, and other demographics influence how they are likely to respond to cold calling.
Quantify with Sales Intelligence
Mastering B2B sales is both an art and a science. Sales intelligence can help quantify the process to a degree. Still, good salespeople need to develop a "feel" for what works and what doesn't regarding specific products & services, industries, and customers. If you pay attention to these potential pitfalls and keep improving your sales process to avoid them, the battle is halfway won.
Topic: Sales Intelligence