Sales Development is one specialty whereas outbound prospecting is another specialty all on its own. It requires analytical thinking, accuracy, persistence, persuasiveness, and a strong sales intuition. Those are all qualities that are usually hard to find in a single person.
A good sales developer is not always successful as an account executive, and in turn, a good account executive is not always a good sales developer. That’s one of the major reasons why the sales process in modern sales companies is often split into different functions and responsibilities: Sales development representatives, account executives, and customer success managers.
Those functions are put in chronological order in terms of their responsibility for creating awareness among potential leads, converting opportunities into clients, and continuously acquiring new clients. Nevertheless, we observe that even here, some essential reasons exist as to why those activities are not leading to a successful prospecting machine.
Therefore, we will provide you with several common reasons why prospecting does not always lead to the desired results. We hope that by the end of this article you will be able to gain some deep insights into that matter.
- Bad hires
The first stage of the sales funnel is often not successfully completed due to the fact that underqualified starters are being hired. Account executives who are just starting their careers are often hired instead of experienced sales developers who often require a different skillset.
The person who is taking the sales development position is someone who has no working experience, no experience with the market, no experience with your company, or no understanding of the tools that are being used by modern sales developers to work more efficiently and in an intelligent manner.
In addition, the sales developer has to be trained quite intensively. All things considered, this represents a huge investment in someone whose performance can only be evaluated after approximately half a year of working in the company. And even then, will that lead to obtaining maximum results?
In the perfect scenario, this turns out to be a pleasant surprise if you’ve hired a real sales development winner. In that case, it often occurs that soon this winner tries to make the next step to becoming an account executive and then you start over again from scratch.
What is needed in that case is a specific role description where you should be seeking other competencies than you are used to. Not to mention you’ll need to have a good plan on how to make sure this role is perceived as valuable and avoid making it appear as just a starter function. This plan should include how people within the sales development domain can grow and how they can be challenged so that they can make a career in this field.
- 7 to 12 positive touchpoints.
The second mistake that tends to occur often is the fact that we are too impatient in the process and too focused only on short-term results. It can be safely assumed that at least 7-12 positive touchpoints are needed in order to make an appointment. This means that in order to prevent people from opting out after 4-5 touchpoints, a playbook should be made in advance. It should include a framework where all templates and examples of the possible touchpoints are illustrated. That will provide your sales reps with the appropriate tools to do their job correctly.
- Software use
A third reason is the use of the wrong software and thinking that good tools are unnecessary. Or in contrast, purchasing all types of tools thinking that this is what’s needed to do the job well.
Building a modern sales machine requires a – rigorously thought – stack of tools that can be used for the different stages in the process. This will support the thinking process and the strategy. That’s why you should take your time to acquire sufficient information about what type of software is needed for each step.
Having said that, keep in mind that your thinking process and strategy should be the ones leading. Your stack of tools has simply a facilitating role.
Content is king. Without good content, you will not be able to make any appointments. The time of the well-known cup of coffee is long gone. You want to present the right content at the right moment.
You want to be able to share insights, tell relevant stories, sketch a picture of interesting problems. The goal is to excite your prospect and make him enthusiastic to engage in a conversation with you.
Producing content is not a focus for salespeople nor are they good at it (with some exceptions). Otherwise, they would have become content writers. Thus, make sure you receive support from Marketing, external stakeholders, or from other departments in your organization who are able to translate the commercial thoughts and ideas of your salespeople to fascinating blogs, whitepapers, user cases, videos, webinars, etc.
After all, no content no party.
- You simply don’t have that sales DNA
Not every company has that real commercial DNA. Passion for what you do, the right content, and your clients can get you far in the commercial area, yet that won’t be enough for a real prospecting machine.
You have to seriously question whether this is really something that you want to do by yourself, with a huge chance of increased stress and frustration, or if this is something that you would like to outsource to another company that specializes in that area.
We know somebody who can help.
- We don’t safe guard the process
Salespeople are dopamine beasts and that is how it’s supposed to be. However, outbound prospecting is not about quickly generating some leads. Outbound prospecting is about building a sustainable machine that can keep on generating leads continuously and in a predictable manner.
Patience, process-based thinking, and making consistent steps are essential.
Make sure you appoint someone who does not only think in the short-term about today or tomorrow but rather someone who thinks about what we have learned today and how we can use that in the long-term. That way you will be able to recognize what works, what doesn’t work, and at any given moment will accurately predict which activities you should undertake to set a relevant appointment.
Enough for now. We hope we have helped you enhance your own prospecting and build a modern sales machine.
Would you like to have a chat to discuss further? Or do you have tips and feedback? Let us know.