One of the most critical factors that significantly impact business growth is sales. Without sales, no profits exist, and a company will eventually close. Sales are also crucial for maintaining customer relationships, essential to any business. Those who win develop disciplines and habits that pull them through every selling season. In this post, we'll explore failing at sales. Knowing what's wrong will help you turn it around.
Problem: Business leaders see declining sales, but they struggle to identify the problem. Moreover, they take guesses and simply push salespeople harder. But that doesn’t bring better results much of the time.
Opportunity: Knowing the problems with sales is critical. It’s not just that your sales team doesn’t know what it’s doing. By going deeper than the surface, your company has a big chance to turn it around.
Resolution: If your business is failing at sales, learn the nine reasons it’s happening. As a result of knowing these factors, you could address issues.
So, without further delay, let’s dig deeper into the reasons why you’re failing at sales.
1. You Don’t Prospect Enough for Eventual Sales
One of the main reasons you’re failing at sales is that you don’t prospect enough. Prospects are the lifeblood of your business. So, it's essential to continue to reach out to new ones regularly. If you don’t periodically reach out to prospects, they’ll stop taking your calls and emails. In other words, it’s vital to nurture and grow relationships.
Begin by making a list of all prospects and then rank them in order of priority. Get into the habit of following up regularly with those ranked as high-priority prospects. It keeps them engaged and interested in working with you. Also, think of your content creation strategy and incentives. For instance, you could offer free webinars, demos, or white papers.
2. You Can't Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition
If you can’t identify your unique selling proposition, how can you expect anyone else to do it? If you want success at sales, you must determine what makes your company special. Furthermore, knowing your selling proposition is the first step in creating a competitive advantage. Therefore, you must always know what sets you apart from competitors.
Moreover, it’s vital to sell your value proposition with conviction. Think of the top tech companies, such as Meta, Microsoft, and Amazon. They each know what they do better than anyone else. And they make sure you know it too. Think of an NFL football quarterback. That person faces the incoming offensive team tackles but delivers passes that win.
3. You Don’t Ask Enough Sales Questions
For success in sales, it's always important to ask questions. It helps you to understand better your customers and what they need. Asking questions about their business is also an excellent way to build rapport. As a result, it creates a relationship that allows trust to emerge. And once you have trust, it makes them more open to what you sell.
You should always look for ways to ask questions about the product or service they currently buy from you. For example, if somebody buys your product, ask them how they plan to use it. It helps you see the potential for future sales with this individual. Further, it may lead them to other products of interest. Also, always survey and poll your customers. Ask them what they like—and what you could improve. It's valuable intelligence for sales.
4. You Don't Know the Persona of Your Unique Buyer
One of the most important aspects of sales is knowing your buyer. If you don't know the buyer persona, you can't tailor your approach or offer in a way that makes sense for them. That's why it's crucial to take the time to ask questions and learn about the unique characteristics of your buyers. By understanding who they are and what they need, you more effectively sell to them.
However, one of the big developments in recent years is the mass availability of data. So, to help prevent failing at sales, you could do yourself a favor. In short, reach out to companies that take your data and add valuable insights. By developing buyer personas, you'll have a sharper focus on the right lead. And with enriched datasets, analytics, and reporting, you get the right prospects for sales.
5. You Don’t Use CRM Technology to Grow Relationships
Because of tech, it’s easier to stay connected to your customers. With CRM technology, you can track your relationships with your customers and prospects. You can get an idea of what content they like and what marketing approaches are most successful. This information is vital for future sales efforts to make sure you engage with the right people in the right way.
To exceed your customers' expectations, you must invest in robust CRM systems, such as HubSpot. It's essential not only to prospect but also to revisit closed lost opportunities. You always want to know if things changed. Lastly, it's important to ask customers for help identifying people they know who might need what you provide. That's why creating a solid referral program helps boost sales.
6. You Don't Have Good Feedback Loops for Sales
One of the most common mistakes companies make is not having good feedback loops between marketing and sales. It means the information marketing collects on prospects doesn't get passed to sales, and vice versa. It's a problem because it simply adds friction. As a result, that friction makes failing at sales easier. Everyone has to read from the same playbook.
A modern business approach to eliminate the lack of quality feedback loops is through revenue operations. Revenue operations, or RevOps, get everyone aligned. So, when you use this approach to business, you align not only marketing and sales. But you also get content and data coordinated. As a result, everyone's got the same information to make smart decisions.
7. You Don’t Spend Enough Time with the Best Customers
One of the mistakes people who fail at sales often make is not spending enough time with their best customers. However, it’s something you should do regularly—even when you’re not selling anything. Again, relationships matter. Maintaining relationships gives you a better sense, with time, of what they need.
Further, it's not just about sales. The best deals come from knowing people. In short, it builds trust and loyalty. So, spending time with your best customers means seeing what’s going on in their lives. One of the things the pandemic proved is that while we have amazing technology, people still want to be with people.
8. You Haven’t Revisited Your Closed-lost Opportunities
One of the most common reasons businesses fail at sales is they don’t revisit their closed-lost opportunities. You have to connect to see if the circumstances changed. It's essential to take time each day to go back and look at your leads who showed initial interest but didn't buy anything. You may be able to change their minds by revisiting them with a different offer.
It’s also a good idea to review what you tried to sell that caused them not to buy the first time. A simple way of checking this is by asking people what made them decide not to purchase from you initially. Perhaps you could offer something more personalized for them. You could change a part of the offer to suit them better. For instance, you could provide a different payment plan or get back in touch when you release new features.
9. You Aren’t Asking Contacts to Help Identify Others
A straightforward thing to do is ask contacts to help you identify others. That's why knowing your customer persona is vital. So, let's assume you'd like to reach out to your contacts for leads. The first question they'll ask is who you’d like for them to reach out to for you. Many people, especially successful ones, need to know your ideal customer. When you reach out to contacts, have a clear picture of your perfect customer.
Further, give people a reason to help you. People live busy lives, and although they may want to help, they might have the time. So, figure out ways to incentivize them. For instance, you could provide them with special offers or discounts. Or, you could ask them to join a private user community for valuable insights, trends, and innovations. In short, make it attractive for your contacts to help you, which is easy due to the digital transformation.
Ben Stroup is Chief Growth Architect and President at Velocity Strategy Solutions where he helps leaders design, develop, and deploy smarter business growth strategies. Ben is a futurist, disruptor, and data champion. He leads a team that takes a structured learning approach to business challenges, which allows them to assist leaders in bridging the gap between ideas, innovation, and revenue—taking ideas from mind to market.
Velocity Strategy Solutions is an on-demand, next-generation business strategy and management consulting firm which provides clients with a relentless focus on data, execution, and results that positively impact the bottom line. Velocity delivers integrated people and revenue strategies combined with a disciplined approach to growth architecture that elevates the capacity of leaders, teams, and organizations to succeed and win more.