Prospects will look for any little reason to dismiss your product from their consideration. If buyers have an unpleasant interaction with you or your sales team, they are less likely to want to move ahead with your organization.
So take a step back and evaluate your sales process. Making one or more of the following mistakes can deter a prospect, stall a deal, and even cost you the opportunity.
1) You aren’t personalizing your selling strategy
Sales is not a one-size-fits-all solution, so using an en masse strategy and generic content poses the risk of losing sales deals. You need to tailor your sales approach, content, messaging, and value propositions to be relevant to the buyer and their needs and priorities. Consider their persona, their industry and company size, their pain points, their stage in the purchase process, and their expectations. Now use this information to customize your sales strategy.
2) You aren’t selling to the buying committee
B2B sales are increasingly complex in nature. Today’s sales situation often involves a buying committee composed of 7 members on average (but could include up to 20 or more influencers). It’s imperative to know who all of the decision-makers are and to understand each of their needs and pain points. These people are likely to represent different demographic profiles, but there are probably multiple people experiencing the same or similar pain points. Knowing this information, your sales team will know how to best guide the conversation and which pieces of content will be most effective in progressing prospects through the pipeline.
3) You aren’t adding value to the sales conversation
Today’s B2B sales environment has diminished the effectiveness of simply pitching products and given rise to communicating value. But only 1 in 5 sales reps brings value to their buyers. Adding value to prospects means being able to offer perspective on the market that helps a customer see how to improve, knowing what to say to support their business case, and providing relevant content that will help them make a purchase decision.
Every time you engage with a prospect – every single touch point – is an opportunity to add value. Buyers are looking for vendors who understand their business and the challenges they face. Talk with prospects – not to them or at them – and then truly listen to what they have to say. Demonstrate an understanding of their pain points and offer insights about their industry. And keep the focus on the prospect and their problem rather than on yourself and your organization.
4) You aren’t solving the right problem
Selling isn’t about talking – it’s more about listening. If you talk too much or don’t really listen to what your prospect has to say, you may misdiagnose their problem. Ask questions to learn about and understand the prospect’s needs, challenges, and pain points. If you can’t identify their pain point, you will have a difficult time advancing the deal and may simply not be a good fit. If your prospect doesn’t truly have a need for your product or solution, you are wasting your time. And if the prospect tells you their problem but you try to solve a different challenge, you will probably lose.
5) You are unable to create a compelling case for change
In this situation, you are competing against the status quo. Successful sales reps are able to create a sense of urgency – a reason that the prospect needs to purchase now.
Identify the problem for the prospect and highlight the impact of not taking action, such as lost revenue, increased risk, or inability to keep up with their competitors. You need to convince the buyer that the cost and risk of choosing your solution outweighs the cost and risk of doing nothing. Use data- or research-based evidence to establish yourself as an authority figure and help the buyer understand why they need to change. Lastly, help prospects build a business case and identify ways to justify their purchase, particularly when they are engaging with those other decision makers.
6) You are sharing the wrong content
Content isn’t effective if you are blindly sending whatever you can find on your computer or whatever you can quickly pull together on your own. To the prospect, sending irrelevant content can make you (and by expansion, your company) look unreliable, undependable, and unworthy of their investment.
A LinkedIn survey found that the #1 thing that makes content effective is relevance. You should be sharing content that is appropriate to the prospect’s persona and stage in the sales cycle, addresses their apprehensions, demonstrates value and the ability to solve a problem, and shows how ROI can be attained. Sales enablement tools are able to automate this process and surface the right content at the right time based on the specific sales situation.
7) You are neglecting the customer experience
Customer experience doesn’t relate to just post-sale activities. It includes all of the interactions that occur from before the prospect even considers buying to well after the purchase is finalized.
Embrace a customer-centric strategy, where the focus shifts from your needs to the customers’ needs, and proactively work to build trusting customer relationships. Being a trusted advisor to your prospects means having the ability to diagnose your prospect’s problems and then make recommendations to improve their situation, even if the solution doesn’t necessarily add to your bottom-line. Keep in mind that you are helping people and solving problems, not merely making transactions.