7 Sales Strategy Errors – and how to fix it

22. September 2013

Long-term success doesn’t always come from the best ideas, or the best strategies. We are human and we all make mistakes. And so, maybe even more than finding the best measures, identifying errors and fixing them fast can be a key success factor. With that in mind, here are some thoughts about common sales strategy errors, and how to fix them:

Error 1: Neglect your regular customers

If your sales strategy is too focused on acquiring new customers, existing customers can fall through the cracks.

Fix: Have a regular schedule to contact every customer, especially those that have been inactive for a while. Ask your contacts if they know of any changes in personnel or business models, and maybe offer to help if a transition is in the works.

Error 2: Ignore competitive threats

If you’ve been the „industry leader“ for a while, it’s easy to forget that your competitors may catch-up. And that’s just the competitors you know about …

Fix: Make competitive analysis a priority. Check the news regularly for developments in your product or service area.  When you call on a prospect, always ask who else is calling on that prospect.

Error 3: Inadequate lead qualification

The more you know about prospects, the less likely you are to pursue costly dead ends. The last thing you want is to spent hours and days developing an „opportunity“ that won’t come off.

Fix: In the very early stages of the sales cycle ask questions that reveal if the prospect really needs what you’re offering and (more importantly) has the money to buy it.

Error 4: Let your pipeline slide

When business is hopping, you naturally want to close as many sales as you can as quickly as you can.  Even so, if you don’t develop your pipeline, you’ll eventually find that you’ve got no more sales to close.

Fix: Schedule some time every week for lead generation. Write-out sales emails to specific customers, cold-call pre-qualified lists, and as existing customers for referrals. Then do it!

Error 5: Ignorance about your customer’s industry

In B2B selling, customers don’t want to buy from you.  They want to sell to their own customers. You can’t help them do that if you don’t understand the basics of their industry and the role they play in it.

Fix: Before you attempt to sell into any industry, research not just the major players, but also their business models and how your customers‘ customers use your customers‘ products and services.

Error 6: Insufficient product knowledge

Customers expect – at the very least – that you are an expert on your own products and services.  That gets increasingly difficult in today’s information-rich world, because customers can do their own research and end up knowing more than you.

Fix: Make product training a mandatory part of every internal sales meeting. Before calling a customer, review the offerings that are most relevant. Have all the spec sheets to hand (either online or in your briefcase), just in case.

Error 7: Failure to debrief

Way too much sales energy goes into replicating success, when the real issue is avoiding the errors. There’s always a reason when you lost the sale (or the customer didn’t buy at all). Unless you learn that reason, and adapt accordingly, it will be difficult to repeat your successes but very easy to repeat your losses.

Fix: After every sales effort, ask the customer why they made the decision they made. Use that information as fodder for a „what happened and why“ discussion that includes everyone who participated in the campaign.

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Eine Antwort to “7 Sales Strategy Errors – and how to fix it”

  1. […] branchenübergreifend die höchste Priorität.” Kürzlich schrieb ich an dieser Stelle, dass die Fähigkeit, Fehler zu erkennen und schnell zu korrigieren ein wesentlicher Erfolgsfaktor ist. Kundennähe und -feedback sind wichtige Voraussetzungen, um rechtzeitig zu erkennen, wenn Sie […]

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