5 common sales misconceptions and how they affect your sales success
Unfortunately the sales profession is full of inaccuracies and plain old misconceptions. Whether it is the incorrect assumptions that sales is nothing more than a ‘numbers game’, or that meeting quota is the only determinant of success, this article explains why these misconceptions are false and why they can hurt your sales numbers:
1. You need to be experienced to succeed in B2B sales
Managers, don’t fall into the trap of assuming a well-qualified sales rep is a guaranteed shot in the arm for a weak sales team, inferior products, or shoddy customer service. Past performance is not a reliable predictor of future sales, and the weakest link in the chain requires just as much attention as your top performer.
Besides, someone who performed well in their previous sales role may be more experienced in dealing with certain people, but a different industry, product mix, or customer base can level your team’s playing field straight away. Build the characteristics of true professionals in your new recruits, and everything else can be learnt or taught in time.
2. Top sales reps will make great sales managers
Stellar sales performance is one thing, but managing people requires an entirely different skill set that some individuals just don’t have. Management skills include the ability to see what motivates individual reps, as well as what tactics work best for an entire group of people with different skill sets, interests and motivators.
In fact, many sales professionals perform best as entrepreneurs, managing their own territory and client list without worrying about what their co-workers. Developing future leaders under these conditions requires emphasising a focus on customers, the one primary sales factor everyone can relate to.
3. Quotas are a salesperson’s most important metric
Quotas are simply a measure of the minimum acceptable performance required to generate enough revenue for your company to stay alive. It is neither a measure of true potential, nor a sound strategy for a growing business, with limited time to attract sales prospects and stay ahead of competition.
The best way to improve sales performance is to find ways to improve the productivity of your sales team, allowing them to spend more time selling to people with the most promising interest in what you’re selling.
4. Sales is a Numbers Game
Lots of old-school sales professionals still believe this, thinking that the more people you talk to, the more sales you’ll (eventually) generate. Unfortunately, a direct correlation between sales prospects and profits doesn’t exist, since the number of people you court doesn’t make up for poor salesmanship when customers don’t “get” what you’re trying to say.
Today, demonstrating value to clients includes showing them how your service provides solutions to their unique problems, how your product makes their lives simpler, more organised, more efficient. Work on a sensible value proposition and concentrate on relating with your customer’s situations, will help you to construct your sales call to focus on the customer and what they need; which in turn will increase close rates significant.
5. Any Customer is a Good Customer.
Some customers will never be satisfied, and some go out of their way to make salespeople ‘jump through hoops’ to make them happy while constantly looking for better deals or demanding more attention than the average client needs.
Sales teams must be useful and productive. Catering to clients whose once-impressive revenue stream has trickled down to nothing doesn’t make sense!
Periodic sales audits that compare productivity to a return on investment may reveal you’re losing money by holding on to long-standing clients that drain your resources and try your patience in the process of doing business, download our latest research paper "who are my profitable customers and how can I find more just like them" to see how other companies are using data to manage good customers and boost upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
Are there other misconceptions you would add to this list?