For a B2B sales team, it is mission critical to be a trusted advisor to the buyer, identify process gaps early on, enhance sales training, and offer consistent and compelling messaging.
Why are some reps doing better compared to others? Why <50% sales rep meet their quota? Are the reps building the right relationships to close winnable deals? Asking and answering questions like these, and eventually taking action based on the conclusions drawn, is a critical piece of the puzzle that is building a quota crushing sales team.
As a sales representative, we tend to believe that competitive pricing or non-ideal product fit are the key reasons for losing some of those “must-win” deals. The deals that could move the needle. But is that the case? In a new study, we surveyed more than 130 sales professionals to understand the real reasons why sales teams are losing deals so that necessary steps can be taken to improve sales experience, deliver more value to buyers, and boost revenue.
Let’s jump in!
What we heard?
Top 5 ‘major’ reasons highlighted for losing deals and in my opinion, all these problems have been further compounded by the pandemic
- Low adoption of multi-threaded sales approach i.e. establishing multiple relationships (4 or more connections) for an opportunity
- Sales reps inability to communicate and create value, potentially driven by limited understanding of buyer pain points and company’s key value propositions
- Less time for coaching sales reps or offering personalized coaching
- Incorrect frequency of following up with prospects
- Inefficient cross-team collaboration
B2B buyers do not have a senior decision maker to pull the trigger, instead they have a buying committee. According to CEB research, an average of 6.8 decision makers are involved in every B2B purchase. Therefore, it is critical for sales people to engage with most of the decision-makers and understand each of their needs and pain points.
I have learnt this the hard way – being part of the deals which went cold or were eventually lost as one decision maker switched jobs. Having limited engagement within the buying committee not only increases the risk of losing a deal, but also increases the sales cycle.
2. Communicate and create value for the buyers
Sales process is becoming more buyer-driven vs. seller-driven, where great buyer experience can help win more business. That’s the reason high performing sales reps try to get superior insights into buyers’ current state, processes and issues and thereby demonstrate ROI (long term value) for the buyer.
This is an example of a one-sided conversation: “Typically, all Oil & Gas companies are impacted by volatile pricing. Our solution can help in tackling that as we offer…”
This restricts the rep to understand buyers’ specific pain points and offer immediate value and create a compelling case for changing status quo
Most 1:1 coaching sessions are used up in getting on top of all deals. Understanding key next steps, key risks, solving problems etc., leaving very less time for coaching.
While this may have great short-term benefit in terms of providing an immediate solution, it undermines what should be their longer-term objective, which is to enable sales rep across dimensions where they lack such as building meaningful relationships, following up at the right time, and understanding buyers’ perspective. This has real consequences on teams’ performance – missed quotas, inconsistent messaging, and lack of sales readiness.
It’s a known fact that sales follow-up (18 touch points, to be precise) is critical to encourage the prospective customer to take action, yet 44% of sales reps give up after just one follow-up attempt. This can be attributed to lack of proper training (around follow-up techniques and timings) and lack of accountability of sales reps. Organizations have implemented sales playbooks to guide reps on best practices. Besides adding rigor and consistency to the sales process, a playbook-based system provides a much richer environment for coaching and learning
5. Cross-team collaboration
Teams waste an awful lot of time coordinating across teams making selling harder than it already is. To top it all, it is very difficult for teams to get a consolidated single view of customer data which is stored across multiple tools that each team is using – CRM, marketing automation, conversation intelligence, 3rd party cookie data, first party data (emails, calendar) etc.
So what do sales leaders need to do?
Given digital touchpoints between buyers and sellers are exponentially increasing, it will get even more difficult for sellers to demonstrate product value, build relationships, collaborate across teams, stay productive, and more importantly hit their quota. Sellers will need additional skills and technology capabilities to be successful.
Gartner suggests that sales leaders need to enable their team and invest in technology to
- Automate admin tasks
- Detect buying signals and offer guided selling
- Predict business outcomes
Nektar.ai has re-built sales experience keeping digital selling at the core of its offerings. The platform enables growing sales teams to increase productivity, sharpen execution and positively influence revenue outcomes through:
- GTM Data platform: Automatically capture data from multiple first-party and third party sources and offer intelligence on top of this data
- Relationship intelligence: Provide real-time insights into depth and strength of seller relationship within buyer committee for each deal
- Playbook intelligence: Operationalize sales playbooks through timely alerts on next best steps and outstanding tasks
- Coaching Intelligence: View on leading indicators of rep performance (# of meetings scheduled, # of contacts engaged etc.)
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