Despite being in possession of optimal sales tools and meeting compliance regulations, B2B sales presents many challenges. These challenges emanate from a naturally competitive environment, which can lead to improper practices. Solutions for unprofessional selling techniques can be found in the adoption of ethical sales practices.
Such a tough selling process can result in making serious mistakes. Often, errors are easily noticeable and can subsequently be avoided. However, there are mistakes which are not easy to pinpoint and need to be identified when building your sales strategy. Below we highlight 9 common mistakes and how they can be avoided.
- Illustrating the product’s features and ignoring the client’s needs
Customers are naturally interested in what your product can do for them. That’s why you need to consider the customer’s needs in delivering your sales presentation. Harping on about your product and its features is meaningless to the client – the product must fulfil a specific purpose for them.
Identification of your customer’s needs and further discussion on how you can address them with the best solution can direct a clear focus on product benefits specific to the client. After all, the customer will want to know how your product can solve their problem.
- Failing to build relationships
Instead of making customers feel that they are being persuaded to make a purchase, sales reps should be more engaging. By conversing with your clients, you are increasing your chances of success in a sale. Showing interest in the company you are selling to and carrying out research on them prior to you both meeting is an appropriate approach to connecting with prospective customers. This would reflect well in the eyes of the customer, who is more likely to consider your business for other products and services, thereby initiating a continued business-to-customer alliance. The foundation of a good business relationship will ultimately lead to new customers coming back.
- Refraining from face-to-face conversations
Restricting your meetings to just telephone and email is not a fully integrated approach to selling. By declining to make your sales presentation in person suggests that you are not looking to develop a business relationship. If you are expecting the client to invest in your products, it’s only fair that you take time to meet them in person. Face-to-face conversations allow for greater discussion and, more importantly, a focus on their needs and how your solution will benefit them. As cited by HubSpot, this will enable the formation of trust, which is essential for any relationship and which can only develop by meeting in person.
- Offering one-option proposals only
If you are successful in reaching the business proposal stage, you could potentially harm your expectations with a single one-way business proposal. Clients will not find this helpful as it will appear that you are cornering and pressuring them into accepting their recommendation. This would only put them off and encourage them to look elsewhere. However, by submitting a range of proposals on the table, e.g. a minimum of three as recommended by HubSpot, with varying circumstances, solutions and pricing levels, you are showing that you are taking them seriously and willing to accommodate them.
- Neglecting to clarify your value proposition
By not recognising the value in your products, it’s logical not to expect customers to either. Understandably, customers will not show any interest. But by conveying value in what you are selling to prospects, you are drawing in curiosity.
Having a clear value proposition is key. Being transparent and confident in the value of your offerings and what distinguishes them from the competition must be highlighted. Therefore, a simple and coherent message should be presented to differentiate from competing products.
- Lack of a defined target audience
During times when sales reps are not finding success, the possibility of selling to the wrong people is often overlooked. By not targeting the right people, the business is losing sales. Therefore, it’s crucial to know who your target audience is. But how can you ensure that you focus on the right people? You need to have an understanding of your target demographics – prospects that fit your criteria. This is where the creation of profiles and personas will guide you towards, not only targeting the best prospects, but also, devising sales strategies to transform them into actual customers.
- Pressuring the client
Unfortunately, some sales reps confuse following-up with relentlessly reminding the client or prospect. Persistency on the part of the sales team can be perceived as being pushy by some and so will instantly put them off. Thereby, increasing the chances of the prospect turning away.
As with any major decision, people need time to consider and decide their options. Therefore, it would be wise to follow-up within a reasonable time scale, try to show some understanding and be prepared to answer questions or respond to objections they raise.
- Lack of alignment with other teams and departments
The sales team is often siloed, operating in isolation from other departments, especially close teams, e.g. marketing. However, both sales and marketing share common objectives – both are able to generate leads and subsequently convert them into paying customer.
Operating as misaligned departments will create friction, preventing both departments from working towards shared goals and helping each other, thereby impacting sales revenue and retention.
- Giving clients high expectations
Clients can, at times, be driven to high expectations if salespeople overestimate benefits before closing a deal. It can be easy to make extra assurances in order to secure a deal. But this is dangerous in that it by promising more than you can deliver will harm your reputation and lead the client towards a competitor.
Undoubtedly, the B2B landscape is a highly competitive one. The sales-buying process is not simple or straightforward, due to its length and multiple decision-makers involved. Therefore, by recognising the most common factors influencing the closure of the deal, you are better equipped to progress towards a successful sale.
Creating engaging, compliant sales presentations is an essential skill for all sales professionals.
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