We all make mistakes (we’re human!), but when it comes to your sales team, the wrong mistakes can be costly. Here are five of the worst mistakes salespeople make and how to avoid them.
1. Not following up on leads
Only about one-quarter of leads get contacted by sales teams, and nearly 80% of leads never convert to sales, largely due to a lack of lead nurturing. This means a lot of potential revenue is just being left on the table.
In some companies this could be the fault of the sales team, but in many it is the fault of the sales process. Do your salespeople have the tools they need to identify leads (e.g., marketing automation) and follow them up quickly (e.g., a sales texting platform)? If not, your valuable customers could be going to one of your competitors instead.
2. Making it about them, rather than about the client
Companies don’t buy products; they buy solutions. That’s why marketers have switched from talking about features to talking about benefits, and salespeople need to do the same.
Your product may be your top priority, but your clients’ top priority is solving their own problems so that they can sell their own products. Rather than giving a stock sales presentation extolling the virtues of the offer, your salespeople need to identify prospects’ problems and focus on how your product will help solve those problems.
3. Talking too much; not listening enough
This is one just about every list of sales mistakes out there, usually near the top. It ties in with the previous mistake -- how can you identify your prospects’ problems if you don’t let them get a word in edgewise?
A sales call or demo shouldn’t be a presentation; it should be a conversation. Clients should be encouraged to interrupt and ask questions, and salespeople should be trained to handle those interruptions and answer those questions with courtesy and tact.
4. Being too aggressive...or not aggressive enough
Salespeople need to walk a fine line -- of course, their goal is to make the sale, but they don’t want to come across as pushy.
Taking an all-or-nothing approach, like asking for a close without giving any other options, can be too aggressive for a client who may just be gathering information. Try offering them a report or other resource instead. On the other hand, you won’t get 100% of what you don’t ask for, so do remember to ask for the close.
5. Not maintaining the relationship after a sale
The sales team’s relationship with a client shouldn’t end after the close. There are often opportunities for upselling, and there are always opportunities to get referrals.
Rather than just moving on to the next big thing, your salespeople should continue to develop and nurture their client relationships, through emails, phone calls, and resource sharing. This will also help them keep tabs on customer satisfaction to reduce the chances that their hard-won clients will defect to the competition.