Impersonal automated ‘Spray and Pray’ messages
If you have ever purchased a ‘one size fits all’ clothing article, you have experienced the fashion industry’s version of a ‘Spray and Pray’ message. You have received your share of spray and pray sales prospecting emails and spammy LinkedIn messages. This is a prime example of bad B2B sales behaviours; like that clothing article, the messages do not fit or address your needs. It makes you lose your trust in the source.
Taking a targeted and personalised approach is a better way to gain your buyer’s trust, respect, and time.
Personalising your outreach at scale
A critical first step to personalising your outreach approach is to narrow your target list down to a manageable size. Take (for example) a list of 100 of “well-fitting” accounts which all have something in common. You might pick some companies that are all using the same legacy solution. Then you might refine them by geography and industry. Your final company list will share a number of common challenges as a result. You will list out your primary buyer in each of these accounts, and you will have an excellent pre-qualified target list which you can go after with similar messaging that is still relevant to each of them.
Now you can prepare your targeted and personalised message. Mention the appropriate problem you can help each target list with and offer a solution. Another one of these bad B2B sales behaviours is making it “all about you”. Make your message stand out by providing customer value.
An excellent place to research and zero in on the best-fit prospects can include each company’s website, career tab and LinkedIn profiles. Setting up alerts in Google Search can set you up to receive informative emails whenever there is news on a product, company or name.
Taking the time to create targeted and personalised prospect lists will allow you to develop relevant and numerous campaigns with confidence. This technique converts more prospects. Just ask those who use it.
Selling to just the obvious needs: a bad B2B sales behaviour
Speaking to and providing solutions to a prospect’s obvious needs is undoubtedly essential. But another of those bad B2B sales behaviours is failing to think outside of the box, and only offer the same thing as every one of your competitors. This approach generally makes it difficult for a prospect to see a reason to make any change at all. Or, if they decide to make a change, it is more likely to be made solely on price.
Introducing and leading the conversation with an intriguing and unconsidered need does several things. It not only increases your credibility and the quality of your presentation, but it can strongly impact the growth of a prospect’s business. When presented with something unexpected, it can bolster a sense of urgency and stimulate the decision-making process.
Finding Unconsidered Needs
How do you find these unconsidered needs that will create a compelling story and reason for converting to your product? It may take a bit of detective work. If a representative has made good post-call notes, reviewing them may uncover an unconsidered or unexpected need. Other sales representatives and leaders may also be able to provide you with some suggestions – and help you avoid those bad B2B sales behaviours.
A salesperson may have introduced other customers to those unconsidered needs. They accepted the solutions you provided. As a result, they were rewarded with some great results. A sales representative may share their story with another prospect on the target list, with the customer’s permission.
When presenting an unconsidered need during a face-to-face or virtual call, it is not uncommon to see the impact it is making with your own eyes. Your prospect’s body language changes; they sit up straight and lean forward to offer their full attention. Now is the time to provide a compelling story and clear evidence of what your solution will provide.
Treating all leads equally
All leads are not equal. In reality, there may be a handful of high quality leads in a list of 100 prospects. Instead of wasting valuable time treating all leads as equal, creating an action plan and putting it into play is vital.
Before we continue, I would like to make a particular comment here. Until you have established who your quality leads are, make sure to treat every lead as high quality. There may be times when you assume that a lead is bad before you have done any qualifying. Maybe they were a lousy lead last year. But circumstances may have changed, and they may now become one of your best leads.
Avoid these bad B2B sales behaviours…
Focus on leads that aren’t likely to convert
It is helpful to establish the exact criteria that a prospect needs to meet for them to make the cut. Creating a list with these criteria will assist you in staying focused on the task of finding those high-quality leads.
Start a call without being prepared to ask the best questions
Some sales representatives have found it helpful to ask a lead to describe their project need, the timeframe they are working within, and their budget. Learning when they want to decide and get the project started can also provide terrific insight into their level of seriousness. It may also uncover whether you are speaking to a decision-maker or not. If your lead tells you that they are gathering information for a decision-maker, why not ask to include that person in your correspondence.
Rely only on your memory
“Winging it” is a terrible B2B sales behaviour. Listen closely, and make notes during and as soon as you finish the call.
Carry on useless conversations with a disqualified lead
Let this prospect know that there may be another company better suited to provide them with what they need at this time. They will respect you and likely call you in the future if circumstances change.
Staying focused and being prepared will allow you to establish a list of the best prospects who are most likely to convert.
Information deluge: another bad B2B sales behaviour
When clients are looking for a solution to a problem, they can receive an overwhelming deluge of information. Between internet searches and various salespeople contacting them, it can be enough to confuse and frustrate them. Suddenly, a problem that seemed relatively simple can begin to feel too complicated. A complicated issue can even become unfathomable.
Information overload can become so aggravating that it results in indecision, or worse, a decision not to proceed.
One of the bad B2B sales behaviours that great salespeople overcome is keeping their conversation concise and focused. These successful representatives stick to the targeted issue and pinpoint the features and the benefits their solutions will provide. They do not feel compelled to use confusing industry jargon. Instead, they are confident enough to see the advantage in using clear terms.
This skill allows the customer to stay focused on the central points, useful details, and the point of difference that your product or service will provide. The customer will now consider you to be a valuable ally and trust that you have their best interest in mind. As a result, you will build a positive relationship, manage your time effectively, and smoothly expedite the sales process.
Are you guilty of these bad B2B sales behaviours? How have you overcome them?
RK (Rahul Kumar) is the Founder & CEO of Resonate.