Why Your Sales Reps Tell Stories

In August, I facilitated a basic sales training session for the sales team of a leading real estate company in Nigeria.

Before the training, the HR head complained that their performance was just below expectations and they’ve tried different techniques yet no changes.

Just to know the exact problem, I asked a series of questions during the training session to know if they are having the right conversation and also to ascertain if they are getting quality leads from the marketing team

From their response, I discovered that the problem was not the leads or particularly their sales conversation but follow up.

What they do is fire once and forget. They engage with a lead once or twice and drop the deal after the prospect’s objections.

As simple as it seems, this is one of the greatest failures of most salespeople.

Sales reps that are not persistent, will always tell stories at the end of the month. If your sales team can’t keep the sales conversation alive with consistent calls, messages and emails. They will always underperform. That is certain!

The sales game is won by persistence, not by a quick close, to emphasize that, a marketing research shows that:

  • 44% stop following-up after one rejection
  • 22% stop following-up after two rejections
  • 14% stop following-up after three
  • 12% stop following-up after four
  • 92% (NINETY-TWO!!!) of sales reps are giving up before the crucial fifth follow-up.

Even if following-up isn’t their favorite part of the job, you must let them know it’s absolutely crucial to their success. If they give up before that crucial fifth follow-up, they are shutting down the bulk of the sales potential.

In order for your sales to excel and close more leads, the C-Suite must hold all sales managers and salespeople alike to follow-up on the marketing efforts done on their behalf. In companies with a committed and eager sales team, the marketing works much better, more often than the opposite. It’s not simply coincidence.

As much as follow up is a crucial step in the sales process, it can still be a delicate process. When not done right, so many things can go wrong.

You want to make sure you are not infringing on the lead’s time too often, but you also don’t want them to think you forgot about them. If you play in the B2B space, you will agreee with me the follow up process is much more complex. You’re not selling to an individual, you’re selling to multiple decision makers. And this means you need to get every stakeholder on board in the buying process.

In such a complex process, there are a number of common mistakes your team is probably making. Those mistakes can result in missed sales opportunities, not meeting revenue projections, and angry prospects.

Luckily, most of these mistakes can easily be fixed by spending some time, consistent coaching and a re-evaluation of your sales process.

I’ll go over these common mistakes and tell you how to correct them to make sure you’re getting the most out of every lead that comes to your sales team.

1. Your reps don’t follow up quick enough

In this age and times, the rule of thumb is to follow up on a lead whithin 30 minutes of receiving it.

And the rewards go to those with quick follow-up skills.

Nearly half of all sales are made by the person who gets in touch with a lead first.

The numbers don’t lie. If you want to make your sales, you need to get in touch with your prospects as quickly as possible.

You can’t sit by your phone monitoring leads every second, but you can invest in a sales enablement solution, which can send personalized, automated emails to your leads whenever they come in.

These emails should include information on next steps to either get in touch with you or purchase your product.

2. Your follow up has no clear purpose

Before you or any of your reps picks up the phone or draft an email, you should always know the exact reason you’re getting in touch with a prospect.

You’re not their wife. You don’t get to call “just to check in.”

When following up with a lead, you should always have a real reason to call and take up some of their limited time.

Fixing this issue can be as easy as starting every call or email with a statement such as, “The reason I’m getting in touch today is…”

But first you have to make sure you have a reason to call and ensure you have done all the necessary research.

To be as specific as possible when talking to a prospect, you should always take detailed notes. You can store these notes in a CRM so that your sales and marketing team members can refer back to them as necessary.

Be sure to reference previous interactions to jog your prospect’s memory and further justify the purpose of your call.

3. You’re not using your prospects’ preferred communication medium

Phone calls and emails are the bare minimum in modern sales efforts. And when you put in the bare minimum, you typically get the bare minimum back.

These days, it’s best practice to be accessible via every channel imaginable. LinkedIn, Facebook, blogs—you name it, you should be on it in case prospects are lying in wait there.

But you can’t be on every channel all the time. How do you pick the right ones for your leads?

This issue is really easy to solve, but it does involve getting at least one response from a lead, and then asking your prospect which channel they’re most likely to respond to.

If they’d rather text you to coordinate meetings, text them. If they’re more likely to respond to a phone call, ask what time is best.

You should still be available on multiple channels, but take advantage of the ones your leads have personally told you they prefer.

4. You’re not leveraging a partnership with the marketing team

Prospects and leads like to see proof that your offering can do what your rep says it can do. And I hate to break it to you, but some salespeople don’t have the best reputation for being the most objective people.

To back up what you’re saying, you need objective proof from unbiased sources that your product or service is worth it.

Create partnerships with marketing and other relevant teams to ensure that you have the content you need, such as case studies, evaluation tools, customer testimonials, or valuable content, to close deals.

Working together to create tools such as buyer personas might be the first step in this process. Tell your marketing team what your prospects are asking for so they have a better idea of the content and support you might need to make your case.

 

5. You don’t have the right KPIs set up

I hate to break it to you if you think you are doing everything right, but everything these days needs data to back it up.

If you’re using a tool such as a CRM, an email marketing system, or any other sales enablement platform to track your sales communication efforts, accessing metrics such as connect rates, average call times, lead response time, email open and response rates, click rates.

Getting familiar with your performance metrics can help you determine what’s working and what’s not. As I mentioned, using a tool such as a CRM can help track these numbers automatically, but you can also manually record this data in a spreadsheet so you’ll have it on hand.

It’s not enough to know your numbers, though. You have to establish a check-in point for yourself where you evaluate your performance data and use it to see what your team is doing well and where there’s room for improvement.

For example, after analysing the data from CRM tool, I’m able to come to a conclusion on the average time required for a typical deal cycle to come to a close. This helps me develop a tailored follow up cadence that last through this period.

 

I am confident that, if you improve on all I have highlighted, your team’s performance will wow you. Like I earlier mentioned, fifty percent of sales happen after the 5th touch . So, if you want to boost your win rates and reach revenue projections sooner, get your team to follow up with their leads. Don’t give up after just one call. Use the phone. Add value. Follow up for as long as it takes. Use automation to stay organized and efficient. But don’t expect automation to replace the human capabilities. When your follow-up phone calls and emails are personal, relevant, timely and valuable, leads notice. And give you their business.

 

Remember, you can also engage us at SalesRuby Academy for a performance based training to evaluate your team’s weaknesses and fill their skills gaps. 

In case you also have any opening in your organization, we can also help you get the top talents in your industry, who will always exceed your expectations. To have a conversation, call our consultant  or send us an email

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