4 Signs That Your Sales Process is Despicably Broken


A process is only effective when all the individuals involved understand the purpose of establishing such a process. A team probably use dozens of processes on a daily basis. The sales team is no exemption. Within the team, there are well-defined processes that aim to bring in more sales as possible. The question now is what will happen if the sales process starts breaking down?

You need not wait to happen. Below are some of the tell-tale signs that your sales process is broken to the extent that it borders the mediocre and the awful. We also offer some insights into how you can fix it.

Signs of an ineffective sales process

1) Low response rates

If you are doing cold calling and email outreach and yet very few people are responding, then there’s a problem. There is nothing completely wrong with email outreach and cold calling for that matter. However, the methods to connect with our prospects are evolving. Perhaps, your sales process should, too.

Some experts argue that cold calling is dead. Nowadays, sales reps should prioritize “warm calling.” LinkedIn is there for a purpose. So, use it to your advantage. Yes, it is tempting to open the yellow pages. But for a more streamlined process that adds value, you need to define your list before you introduce yourself to the person.

When it’s time to connect through a call or an email, your name will be familiar to the prospect. This increases the likelihood of getting a response.

LESSON: The sales process must emphasize the need to establish a connection first before making the first contact

2) Few leads

If you aren’t able to build rapport in the first place, chances are, there will be very few leads to enter the pipeline. If there will be leads entering the pipeline at all. Another problem to look into is the fact that many companies are still buying leads lists. Thus, the prospects are nothing but names and not necessarily people who have a genuine interest in the company or its products and services.

Now is the perfect time to change the perspectives of these salespeople. If you are looking for qualified leads, these are the people who have already expressed an interest in your product. These people definitely need or find value in what you are offering. Yet, if a sales rep cannot distinguish between a qualified and unqualified lead, your process is obviously problematic.

The first place to look for those who have an established buyer interest is through the company’s CRM (customer relationship management). This is a critical tool to determine who reaches out to your company to inquire. They are probably looking for information about the choices and alternatives.

LESSON: The sales process should emphasize the need to differentiate between cold and warm leads

ANOTHER LESSON: The sales process should integrate sub-processes to determine which leads to pursue

3) Low close rates

In creating revenue, the sales team needs to convert leads into sales. If the team conducts 100 meetings in a month and closes 2 to 3 leads, the sales process needs to be improved. The ideal conversion rate is at least 10%. Anything lower than this rate is a sign that you need to evaluate the process that the team is using.

Depending on the industry, there could be some slight variations in the process. Nonetheless, the goal is the same – conversion. Thus, you need to know if the team members understand and complete the required steps to take. They should be able to address the pain points of the prospects.

It takes more than reviewing the sales reports and evaluating the performance of the sales team. The entire process must be reviewed to determine which areas need improvement.

LESSON: The sales process must value the buyer experience, and the team must understand how to do this

4) Longer sales cycle

There are no two sales cycles alike since they differ depending on the industry or niche. There are no rules of thumb when it comes to this. But, this is not an excuse to have a draggy sales cycle. If you can trim down the process into 15 to 18 days, why not right?

LESSON: The sales process should be operationally efficient, so there must be no room for redundancies

Simply, the sales team is only strong if the sales process that they rely on is equally strong. If the process is not doing what it should, it’s high time to do some evaluation. And please, get the team on board not because they are the one who uses it, but because the team members know what makes a valuable sales process. They are completely aware of the loopholes so they can best judge which needs to be improved.


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4 Things That Ruin a Sales Presentation


A sales presentation has three important goals. First, inform the audience about the company, product and service of the company with the goal of painting the brand in an ideal light. Second, captivate the audience. Third, convert the audience into a paying customer. The first goal is the easiest to accomplish. But, the same cannot be said for the second goal and thus, the third one. Why? Because of the flawed sales presentation.

Did you know that there are several ways your own presentation can actually sabotage the entire sales process? Below are some of them.

Things that ruin a sales presentation

1) Being immensely generic

Interestingly, the benefits of your product or service are not universal and apply to specific groups of people. Your sales presentation must not be too general, too. It should be customized to the needs of your audience. By now, you should have already realized that there are no two prospects alike. Each has its own pain points. Thus, the solutions you should present must be tailored to its needs.

If you won’t do this, you are losing the opportunity to let the prospect imagine himself using your product. This will be more apparent when you are sharing with him some success stories. He would be able to relate to the story if the story is relevant to what issues he currently struggles with. Visualization is key here.

2) Discussing benefits to a fault

To continue, it would be better to discuss up to four major benefits of your product in connection with the prospect’s pain point. People tend to remember information they think are useful to them. The knowledge about the relevant benefits you highlight in your presentation will become the basis of their decision.

Don’t bombard your prospect with too many benefits. In the end, she might get confused and doubtful whether all your claims are true or not. What will happen if she discovers that these are just false or unfounded claims? You won’t win her trust and so her business. Not to mention, listening to too-good-to-be-true statements can be very distracting. It also has negative implications on the person’s decision-making process.

3) Sticking to the script

No sales rep would be able to build a momentum if he would start his presentation in an obviously scripted manner. Coupled with a monotonous voice and questionable body language, the presentation is doomed to fail. An emotion-lacking presentation is a lackluster presentation.

How can you expect your attendees to respond if the presentation and the presenter himself lack energy and enthusiasm? You can avoid a drab presentation through practice. A dry run in front of your co-sales reps for instant Q&A and immediate feedback specifically on what you need to avoid and improve will be valuable. Ditch the script if possible.

4) Avoiding to answer questions

If there is one thing that can quickly kill your credibility that would be avoiding to acknowledge and answer questions thrown at you. Some sales rep think that their presentation is so great that it will suffice. Little did they know that it leaves holes here and there – black holes that slowly inch your prospect away from you! Additionally, presentations like this leave more questions than answers so you really need to answer questions to the best of your abilities.

Some sales rep dodge questions because of their inherent fear of giving the wrong answers. Misinformation has its costly consequences, too. Well, you need to know your products and services by heart so that you are able to give the right answers. This is also the reason you need to practice. Never say “I don’t know.” If you cannot answer a question, you may tell the person asking and the audience that you will consult a superior first. You can ask for the person’s email address and make sure that you contact her.

Sales presentations are tricky. Even the sales experts have off days and misses. Now that you know the basic presentation killers, strive to avoid them at all cost. Your goal should be acing the presentation. If it means customizing the pitch, focusing on relevant benefits, and practicing over and over including answering questions, then so be it.


Now that you know what must be done and avoid during a presentation, discover more tips and hacks for salespeople through browsing our blog section.

5 Follow-Up Mistakes Salespeople Make


We can’t help but emphasize the fact that the salespeople of today are very lucky. They have the tools, applications, and learning materials at their disposal. Technology is their greatest ally. And yet, for some reasons, the salespeople still commit follow-up mistakes and without knowing it. What’s worse, they end up thinking the lead sucks, when it is their follow-up strategy that truly sucks. If you are making the same mistakes below, you better stop because these aren’t doing you any good.

Mistakes salespeople make

1) A slow follow-up

While there is no rule of thumb on the frequency and extent of following up a lead, it would be better to do a follow-up within 30 minutes after making the initial contact. Did you know that a salesperson is 100 times more likely to connect with a particular lead? That’s true. However, the number declines the more the salesperson waits. It’s because you are the top-of-mind person. However, if you are going to wait for a day or two to do the follow-up, the lead may not even remember talking to you. What more remembering your name?

2) A scripted follow-up

If you haven’t realized the excruciating truth yet, scripts are no longer relevant today. Some still find value in it since they can always deviate from it. But, if they are doing just that, it means they are actually using a template and not a script. The difference? You read a script verbatim. On the other hand, you tailor a template based on the context of the lead on hand. It is a personalizable framework because let’s admit it, the context differs from lead to lead. In fact, in the sales world, there are no two leads exactly alike.

3) An oversimplified follow-up

During the initial contact, perhaps the first call, you know nothing about the lead’s pain points unless he initiated an inquiry and told you about them. It is completely okay to fumble because you are not aware or completely sure about the details. Nonetheless, this can be avoided if you’ve just done your research. In the case of an inquiry, for example, you already have minute details that you can build your follow-up from. Usually, they mention the name of the company. You can start from there. While it is impossible to have a dossier for each of your leads, it is critical to do adequate research to understand where the prospect is coming from and what she cares about. Then, you can tailor the follow-up based on the information you gathered.

4) A “touching base” follow-up

Many a time, a salesperson fails to do an immediate follow-up. And usually, what he can do is to send a ‘just checking in’ email specifically a generic one because he hasn’t done his research just yet. #EpicFail. With the third item in mind, first, your messaging won’t evolve if you are not doing any research. Second, when messaging the prospect, your message needs to be as specific as possible. So, okay, you don’t have any dossiers yet, but you can always send content suggestions that the lead may peruse. Definitely, it would be much better if you can send contents that are somehow related to the nature of the business of the client. The prospect is more likely to give you a response if you can demonstrate that you’re not just after a sale.

5) A misaligned follow-up

While you are always ready to make a sale, a buyer may not always be ready to buy. A sales reality. Indeed, the buying process happens in four stages: awareness, consideration, evaluation, and decision. At each stage, a prospect’s activities will be very different due to the varying needs. Case in point: A salesman cannot offer a demo right after the lead discovers the product, service or both. It’s not how you should do it. As a salesperson who connects with a lead that was just building her trust and confidence in you, you must tailor your follow-up to her current needs.

The bottom-line

These mistakes don’t add value to the process. In fact, with each mistake you commit, you are taking away what little value you’ve already offered. Don’t be surprised if your follow-up tactics aren’t closing any lead. Act as a consultant, not necessarily a seller, and with a goal of providing value every step of the way to make your prospects happy and stay that way. Anyhow, the mistakes noted above, while they are serious, can be avoided. The most important lesson here is to build your follow-up around the needs, preferences, and requirements of your lead. Remember, the leads don’t suck. So, stop blaming them.


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The Most Important Sales Skill Every Representative Needs to Learn


Poor listening has its price. In fact, millions of dollars are lost daily due to poor listening. It may not be that much for your business, but there remains the fact – poor listening is a costly mistake. Adding insult to injury, such a mistake shouldn’t be a mistake at all if you’d just invested a little of your time learning the most important skill every sales representative must possess.

Then again, there goes the cliché – hearing is one thing, listening is another. By definition, hearing is the act or process of perceiving sound while listening is the act of paying attention to sound and the process of hearing something with thoughtful attention.

But, then again, listening is not the most important sales skill that we are talking about. Active listening is a conscious effort, which means you have to be mentally present during the entire process. What we want to teach you is the art of empathetic listening. Here are some things worth knowing about this most important skill.

Empathetic listening defined

Empathetic listening is guided by the principle “seek to understand, before being understood.” The root word is empathy, which is defined as the ability to understand and share the emotions and experiences of another person. Thus, the process aims to connect cognitively and emotionally at the same time. It means paying attention to what the other person is saying with empathy, with compassion without forgetting about the insights.

One study refers to the process as active empathetic listening. Again, active listening appeals to the intellect more. For example, repeating back what the other person has said to ensure that you understand. The listening aspect is superficial. But whether it’d be empathetic listening or active empathetic listening, the bottom-line is empathy must be at the core.

Why empathetic listening

Empathetic listening has its own dynamics. Nonetheless, it can only be effective when the act of listening itself is born out of the sincere desire to understand what the other person feels. Such desire helps in realizing that the perspectives of that person have value. After listening empathetically, you may now see the bigger picture and make better and more informed decisions following that.

Fundamentally, you might be asking – As a salesperson, how can I make sense of empathetic listening? Empathetic listening is the key in upping up connect rates, developing better relationships and enabling to make more sales. Here’s how in detail.

1) Empathetic listening optimizes a follow-up

While you might say that cold calling is difficult, wait till you do some rounds of follow-up. Understandably, you would want to go over your follow-up script, but how will you respond when your prospect says, “Oh hi! I just got back from Greece. The place is so nice!” Will you say, “That’s great! Well, you should have bought our product blah blah blah to make your vacation more blah blah blah.” Wrong.

Think of a sales follow-up as an opportunity to build a relationship with your prospect. That means during that call you may say, “That’s great to hear. I’ve been wanting to go to Greece for a long time now. Any place I shouldn’t miss checking out?” Upon hearing the question, your prospect may start talking from a personal experience you can also build upon to deepen the connection.

2) Empathetic listening helps in need identification

Some prospects – the majority of them – cannot clearly articulate their pain points. They often do this through telling a story, a story that you have to listen to intently otherwise you will miss any opportunity that might emerge from it. There would be no need to ask any questions whether they need your product or service or not, allowing you to clarify and qualify.

For prospects that aren’t so forthcoming, the single most important question you can ask is W-H-Y to facilitate the sharing of experience. And, other than listening compassionately, read the body language of the person speaking. Don’t miss the small cues and steer the conversation from there.

3) Empathetic listening aids in prospect qualification

One of the most common mistakes of a sales rep is going too deep in the sales prospect without realizing the bad fit between the prospect and his or her product, service or both. Nonetheless, once you get the facts from listening from them, you can instantly make an informed decision whether that prospect is worth pursuing or not.

Depending on what the prospect says he or she needs or what his or her body language reveals and depending on the depth of the connection, the conversation may eventually lead to a demo.


How to listen empathetically

While empathy is not a word you get to hear during a sales meeting, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist within the sales schema. Because it does and it should be. Good thing, empathetic listening is a learnable skill. Below are the basic guidelines.

– Focus on the person speaking

– Tune into the speaker’s voice inflection and body language (verbal and non-verbal cues)

– Look for feelings surrounding the person’s words and nuances in the speaker’s thoughts

– Identify the person’s core perspectives

– Accept the person’s interpretation as valid and worthwhile

– Use your imagination to think about a similar or almost similar situation you’ve been in

– Be aware of your own emotions about the topic

– Be aware of your own body language

– Indicate you are listening through providing responses, head nodding, providing invitations for the speaker to relate more

– Be open-minded and honest particularly if there’s no good fit

– Put your opinion aside in the meantime; share them later

– Collect yourself first before responding

– Seek confirmation by verifying your perceptions

– Ask confirmation questions genuinely

– Don’t pass judgments on their actions, the facts, and the meaning being related

– Respect the speaker’s views and opinions

– Follow the basic listening rules – don’t interrupt, don’t interrogate and don’t be distracted

Let’s end this discussion with one of the most powerful states from Anthony Iannarino: “Caring comes first. If you don’t care how people feel, it is impossible to be empathetic.

Enhance Productivity in Less Than 15 Minutes Daily


Every pragmatic worker would want to know how they can improve their daily productivity. But, did you know that each profession has its own idea to boost productivity may it involve just one person or more. In other words, we can learn from what other professionals around us. Let’s take the web designers and developers as an example. These people conduct stand-up meetings or short meetings with one main goal – to realign priorities.

Sometimes, this is all a sales team or salesperson needs to keep things in perspective and, ultimately, boost productivity. And, guess what? Realigning one’s priorities is very easy; all you need is 15 minutes of your time or even less than that.

Stand-up meeting defined

From the name itself, a stand-up meeting is a type of meeting where all attendees participate while standing. The goal is to keep the meeting as short and straightforward as possible. Otherwise, the discomfort of standing up for a longer period will eventually take its toll on the participants. Thus, stand-up meetings are usually timeboxed, occurring between 5 and 15 minutes, and at the same place and period. The meeting will push through even one member, or more are not able to attend.

Through this, each member of the team may be able to

– coordinate their efforts,
– resolve any issues that impede the progress of the project,
– determine any challenges each member faces,
– seek opportunities to collaborate, and
– strengthen commitments from each.

Evidently, a stand-up meeting is more of a communication vehicle to encourage the members to speak up and voice their concerns if they have any. In fact, there are two common styles implemented – Scrum and Kanban. These styles intend to know the progress, if the project is progressing at all or not. The only difference is the approach – the approach that you can also apply as a sales team.

Stand-up meeting for a sales team

Definitely, the two styles have accomplishments, obstacles, and priorities at the core. Kanban-style meetings focus on the following questions:

1) What obstacles are impeding the team’s progress?
2) In what areas the team has progressed?

On the other hand, Scrum-style meetings involve the following questions:

1) What did the team accomplish yesterday?
2) What does the team need to accomplish today?
3) What obstacles are impeding the team’s progress?

During a stand-up meeting, it would be impractical to limit the discussion on the questions. But, it’s purposive to answer these questions first. Whichever style you choose, throughout the discussion, the sub-topics will reveal themselves anyway through questions and clarifications.

Stand-up for a salesperson

Even if not taken in the team setting, the stand-up principle is also applicable to any salesman or saleswoman. You may use either the Kanban or Scrum styles to prioritize what you need to do today and tomorrow. You may do stand-up in the morning you go to work or while at work or do it at the end of the day before you go home. Alternatively, you may want to do a stand-up in the morning and the afternoon so that you can refocus your to-do list.

With Scrum-style in mind, you may frame your questions to reflect your conditions. You may ask yourself the following questions during a personal stand-up:

1) What are the straggling tasks that I left off yesterday and must be completed today?
2) What other things that I must accomplish today?
3) What are my schedules tomorrow that I need to prepare for today?

Depending on how you prioritize these, one thing is certain – what you do today will impact what you will be doing or must do the next day. So, make it a habit to stand-up. If you need to revisit your list of to-dos, do so. Just make sure that if isn’t that important, it shouldn’t be on your list or should be least prioritized.

If you are not satisfied with how things are going, you may start your after-lunch work with a stand-up. Since you are in the sales department, you’d know how a single call can alter your plans for the rest of the day. So, go over your list of must-dos once more. The goal is to reorganize your thoughts and tasks particularly after being derailed by a distraction.

Now, ask yourself the following questions:

1) What have I accomplished so far?
2) What should I finish now?
3) What can I do tomorrow instead?

On the contrary, if you’ve done all the tasks, the next best thing is to take a particular task in your next day’s to-do list and do it now. That is, if you still have the time to devote to another task. The more spare time you have, the more tasks you can take from the list. This will be revealed with each time you do stand-up. Now, you are seeing the value of doing a personal stand-up. Perhaps, you should do it more often to know if you are on the right track or not.

Again, we can learn a lot of things from one another especially the productivity hacks. You just have to be prudent among which of the concepts and principles apply to your profession as a sales representative and which are not.


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