5 Common Sales Rep Mistakes and How to Fix Them
There are essentially two approaches to on-boarding your sales team:
You can throw each salesperson to the wolves, allowing him or her to learn the ins and outs of the position through a trial by fire approach, and accept that plenty of sales rep mistakes will be made along the way.
Personally, I’ll always opt for the latter approach. With it, you have a better shot at avoiding mistakes that may turn into bad habits.
With that in mind, here are the five most common sales rep mistakes along with the best ways to nip them in the bud:
1. Lazily Avoiding Research
Let’s face it, research sucks. It’s time-consuming and feels too much like homework to get excited about. So it’s no wonder that most salespeople don’t look forward to it.
At the same time, 88% of missed opportunities are caused because sales couldn’t find or leverage internal resources. As a sales manager, you can make research more palatable by explaining why it’s so important.
For example, it’s hard to dispute the fact that a little bit of research makes your sales reps appear more knowledgeable about their customers and the products they’re offering. Leading to greater trust and higher credibility, which are musts for any salespeople worth their salt.
You can also help them along by plugging the necessary research into your CPQ system. This can make research feel less like homework and more like a standard element of the sales process.
2. Over-Promising and Under-Delivering
It’s common, especially for new salespeople, to want to promise the moon to win the deal.
But promising too much and then not delivering on those promises is the surest way to turn a customer off. Your reps certainly won’t get many referrals with that kind of reputation.
If your team is over-promising, it’s because they lack confidence in the deal they should be quoting. It’s imperative that your sales team understand that it’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver.
To help smooth this potential point of friction, provide your reps with the tools to create a fully optimized quote that delivers real value to the client without promising the world.
3. Not Asking for Help or Feedback
For reps new to the sales game, asking you – their sales manager - or even other reps for assistance is often seen as a sign of weakness. As the thinking goes, if the person is viewed as under-qualified or not qualified at all, he or she may end up getting canned.
Part of your job is to banish this sort of thinking. Teach your reps that asking for help is a sign of strength. It means they want to improve, and that’s a good thing for the whole of the team.
If a particular salesperson is stuck closing a particular deal, teach him or her to ask for a lifeline. CPQ solutions can also help with this by guiding the rep through procedural complexities.
Ultimately, reaching out for help will improve your reps’ skills and a culture of co-reliance will produce a trickle-down effect where the best-of-the-best help lower performers and newbies improve. This helps the entire team become better, and the organization will be better for it.
4. Selling with a Lack of Confidence
It’s easy to spot a salesperson with no confidence. The presentation takes way too long, the price starts out way too low and the close is nowhere on the horizon.
You also probably spot them pretty often. According to IDC, 57% of B2B prospects and customers say their sales teams are not prepared for the first meeting.
You can boost your reps’ confidence (and performance) by teaching them how to act with each prospect they approach. They should be communicating the sense that they know ‘for a fact’ that the products and services they’re offering are the perfect solutions to the customer’s problems.
They should be stating with confidence that the high price point is exactly commensurate with what they’re offering – high value.
Furthermore, your reps should be closing quickly and early on. They should be telling their customers that they expect the products they’re offering to be delivered by the end of the week. That’s what a high-powered salesperson does, and it’s what separates the confident from the not-so-confident in any sales organization.
5. Not Asking the Right (Hard) Questions
This harkens back to the first mistake, not doing the proper research.
When your reps are knowledgeable about their inventory and their customers’ needs, they are much more able to ask the types of questions that force those customers to stand up and take notice.
The prospective customers will feel that your reps understand their needs (and problems), and this can lead to faster and more substantial deals.
CPQ solutions can also help in this regard. Inventory is managed and tracked instantaneously and you can help guide your force to ask the right questions to close their deals.
Remember these common sales rep mistakes so you can be sure to steer clear of them. The good news is that guided selling using CPQ solutions can make these mistakes a thing of the past and give your sales team motivation to sell more.
The proper research is at your reps’ fingertips. Accurate proposals and quotes keep expectations right in line and feedback is instantaneous. Salespeople will also learn how to sell with confidence while asking all-important questions, ultimately leading to a more successful sales team.
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