Why Your Sales Process Sucks

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Part of sales is thinking about your pipeline, your process, and how you can optimize or improve it. Qualifying more leads and closing more deals requires you to assess the black holes in your process, where it breaks down how it creates friction with customers.

If you notice that buyers aren’t responding to your emails or engaging with your reps, here are three reasons why your sales process needs work and what you can do about it.

Most Lead Response Times Are Too Slow

A slow response from a rep wastes the time, effort, and budget required to generate a lead. Or worse, a lead might receive no response at all. Data from Harvard Business Review found that businesses’ average response time to respond to a web-generated lead was 42 hours. Even worse, many companies aren’t responding at all to their web-generated leads.

We analyzed over 55 million sales interactions and their outcomes within 400+ sales organization processes to uncover the importance of the 5-minute rule. Sales teams that can respond to leads within 5-minutes were over 8 times more likely to convert that lead. 

The three most important elements to maximizing pipeline are increasing speed to respond, speed to engagement, and speed to meet. Implementing processes and automation to get to leads faster will start the conversation quickly and increase your likelihood of qualifying and closing the deal.

Focus on the Solution Instead of Features

Prioritizing customers’ needs means throwing out one-size-fits-all slide decks and adapting the conversation to fit them.

Rather than focusing on features and hoping your customer will know how to apply them to their business, first improve the quality of your discovery calls, including the questions you ask and the amount of listening you do. The purpose of a discovery call is to vet their own processes and to uncover their true objectives and challenges. Then, you can promote relevant use cases and ideas for solving specific problems. Sales reps should think about decision makers’ needs above all else.

Business buyers have similar expectations as consumers; they want a sales process tailored to the things that matter to them. According to data from Salesforce, 72% of business buyers expect vendors to personalize engagement to their needs. Only 27% of business buyers say companies generally excel at meeting their standards for an overall experience — leaving the field wide open for reps who can align themselves with their customers’ priorities.

Stop Wasting Valuable Rep Time

Manual administrative tasks are bogging your sales reps down. When we surveyed over 700 sales reps, we found they only spend about 35% of their time selling. Of that leftover time, administrative tasks took the largest chunk (14.8% or 5.9 hours per week). Identifying the guesswork, the bottlenecks, and the waste holding your reps back and then solving it will naturally free up time for selling.

Mapping your current sales process and assigning metrics to each step will reveal the inefficiencies, allowing you to either implement automation or devote more resources to solve the problem.

Automation and operationalization also streamline and standardize processes so sales reps can complete them accurately and consistently across all their accounts and the business.

If you’re struggling to convert or qualify leads, these basics might be the place to start. Solving the three obstacles of lead time, understanding and relating to your customers, and uncovering and fixing process bottlenecks will improve your conversions and revitalize your sales process.

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