No matter how good the intentions, there are certain sales behaviors that sellers should leave behind. Reps may not even realize that they're undermining their own success. Many of these “bad habits” have been tried-and-true in the industry for generations. Others are simply misguided or downright ineffective. “Some of our worst behaviors might not even seem that detrimental on the surface, but they wreak havoc on our performance and become a habit before we realize it,” writes LinkedIn’s Julie Thomas.
Which sales behaviors should you quit?
In her article, Thomas shares specific habits that sellers should seek to break. The first one she discusses actually aligns with a topic SalesFuel has discussed: Stop relying on only one contact. This isn’t to say that relationships should be tossed aside, but sellers need to look beyond a champion. It’s easy to embrace a single-buyer contact and be satisfied, especially if the individual is a big decision-maker. But, as we’ve mentioned before, today’s buying processes require more. Sellers must multithread.
One reason is that the buying process has evolved to include larger groups. As we’ve pointed out, sellers must adjust their process to appeal to multiple decision-makers rather than a lone champion. The more they connect with others in the company, the better their chances of getting more support for the buy.
Another reason to adjust this sales behavior is that job shifts are common. As Thomas writes, “Having only one connection within the buyer’s organization is extremely dangerous since deals can quickly go down the drain if your only contact is let go, transferred, or resigns. In fact, 86% of sellers have lost a deal or had it delayed in the past year by a decision-maker changing roles, according to the LinkedIn State of Sales 2022 report.”
Don’t neglect your solo contact, but don’t settle either. Seek out ways to expand your network within their business. Doing so will safeguard you from losing your only champion if they move on.
Another bad habit? Reaching out too soon
Reps feel a lot of pressure to keep their pipelines full. SalesFuel’s own research found that lead nurturing and prospecting are two of the top self-reported weaknesses among sellers. Reaching out to as many leads as possible, hoping for success, seems logical. But it’s simply not a good sales behavior. Prospecting and discovery processes need to evolve along with buyers, who are much more discerning than in the past. Each touchpoint must be thoughtful and done at the right time for each prospect. Shooting out generic emails to names from a list simply won't cut it these days.
Instead, sellers should do thorough pre-call research to ensure they know what the prospect needs and when they need it. Sellers must be knowledgeable about the buyer and their business and be able to demonstrate that knowledge. “Use buyer intent data to find prospects who are in the market to purchase your product or solution,” Thomas suggests. “Strategically target prospects who are actively engaged in a purchasing journey and turn them into quality leads. Once you’re familiar with the activities on the company level…tailor your messaging to align with their specific interest signals.”
For even more insight into how to break bad prospecting habits, check out SalesFuel’s additional advice here.
Times change, and sellers need to keep up. By leaving behind ineffective sales behaviors, they can ensure that they are meeting the needs and expectations of the modern buyer. By changing up just these two habits, reps can immediately improve their chances of staying competitive today and in the future.
Photo by Carrie Allen
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