Jonathan Herrick, Hatchbuck
Let’s face it: B2B sales can be complicated, and the sheer number of competitors in today’s marketplace makes things even more challenging.
Despite the fact that you may have the best sales tools at your disposal, if you don’t have a deep understanding of what to do and — more importantly — what not to do, you could easily be sabotaging your efforts.
If you’re struggling to close deals, take an in-depth look at your sales process and see if any of the following B2B sales traps might be to blame.
1. Focusing only on the big guys
It’d be awesome if all your new clients were Fortune 500 companies, but unless your offering was developed specifically to solve enterprise-level problems and you’ve got the capacity to handle such large clients, chances are you’re barking up the wrong tree.
On the contrary, setting your sights on small to mid-sized firms — at least until you’ve built a solid foundation for your business — can actually be more capital efficient. Their needs are typically simpler, they are easier to please, and the cost to acquire them is generally much lower. On top of that, small businesses make up the majority of U.S. businesses, so why not increase your prospective customer pool?
2. Failing to ask the right questions
Too often, B2B salespeople develop tunnel-vision during their discovery and demo calls. They become so focused on finding out whether a prospect is interested in their product or service that they fail to ask the right questions — the ones that might reveal valuable insight. It’s the age-old lesson of making the call more about them and less about you. Listen intently to what they’re asking you, and then probe deeper to get more clarity on their real needs.
Specifically, ask them questions like:
- What are your biggest pain points?
- What would be your ideal solution?
- What are your expectations about our product or service?
- Do you have a set budget and timeline?
- Who will make the final call?
Your offering may have all the latest bells and whistles, but the truth is, not every prospect is going to need or want all of those features. If you’re not listening carefully to determine what the requirements are for each business you’re pitching to, you could overwhelm them with too much information and ultimately scare them away. Be careful not to overdo it. Instead, tailor your approach to each prospect, and focus on selling the ROI of your product or service, not its features.
Nothing turns people off a sale faster than an overzealous salesperson. Rather than pounding their inbox with email after email, find a frequency and strategy that works for the customers you’re trying to reach. Sales automation helps keep tabs on those customers who aren’t quite ready to buy and ensures that your followups aren’t too frequent or far between.
4. Sticking with one contact
B2B sales cycles are more complex than B2C because they generally involve multiple parties. On average, it can take six or more people to reach a B2B purchasing decision. And in many cases, the initial point of contact may not even realize the importance of including their colleagues or higher-ups in the buying process. That means it’s up to the salesperson to proactively loop in key decision-makers as early in the process as possible. Don’t overlook your point of contact, but try to identify key stakeholders so you can include them as well.
If possible, lay out an agenda or specific talking points ahead of time, so your point of contact has an opportunity to prepare questions and involve any essential team members in conversations from the get-go. It’ll make the process more seamless and ensure you’re not wasting anyone’s time.
5. Not asking for the sale
In the majority of cases, your prospects aren’t going to announce when they’re ready to make a purchase. Yet, a surprising number of salespeople feel uncomfortable coming out and asking them if they are. But if you’ve had a good amount of positive back and forth and built a relationship with your prospects, asking for the sale should be a natural progression. Worst case scenario, they’ll say no or they’re not ready. If you’re still feeling unsure, ask for feedback on how the experience has been so far. If they give a positive response, come back with a proposal for the next steps.
There’s no doubt about it: B2B sales are a challenge. They’re even worse if you’re inadvertently doing things to sabotage your efforts. Being aware of common pitfalls in the sales process can help you overcome them or avoid them altogether, improving your results and, most importantly, your bottom line.
Jonathan Herrick is the co-founder, president, and chief high-fiver of Hatchbuck, an all-in-one sales and marketing platform. His extensive experience in digital marketing and sales strategies has been a driving factor in growing Hatchbuck’s sales by over 2,000%. A purpose-driven leader in all aspects, Jonathan has a passion for cultivating his team’s culture, spending time with his family, and working to make a difference in the St. Louis community.