As director of sales for a global industrial company, I made certain B2B purchasing decisions for my company. In that process, I had the opportunity to work with salespeople from other industries and companies. It was actually fun to see what kind of B2B sales strategy and sales tactics another sales professional is using. However, sometimes the experience was pleasant due to sales mistakes. Other times, it made me want to reach through the phone and choke the life out of the person on the other end of the line.
Don't you know what to do?
Unfortunately, the majority of sales professionals in B2B markets repeatedly make these few mistakes. When everyone in your team is making the same B2B sales mistakes, it can be exceedingly tough to figure out how to improve your approach.
Biggest sales mistakes made in B2B sales
Through the last two decades of selling and watching others sell, I’ve found a few key fundamentals that make up a solid B2B sales strategy. Failing to follow these fundamental sales techniques will not just make you a horrible salesperson but literally make your prospect hate you. This article is about understanding B2B sales mistakes and helping salespeople understand how they communicate because wrong communication frustrates the B2B customers.
These are the biggest sales mistakes that give salespeople a bad name and drive them to fail in B2B sales strategies from the buyer’s perspective.
Trying to sell to the customers a solution they don’t need
In order to show you more clearly what kind of sales mistakes are made in a bad B2B strategy, I would like to tell you an incident that happened to me recently. The company I used to work for was in the process of creating its own cloud-based industrial automation infrastructure. As part of that cost expenditure, we needed to co-locate space from a massive data center.
The important thing is what the customer needs
A few days before, I am supposed to meet with the salesperson for a data center tour and discuss pricing. He started trying to sell me on using their servers and leasing their managed infrastructure.
He’s brought this up several times before, and I’ve told him that we bought our own equipment each time. All we need from them is space. In fact, he could have closed the sale by applying a straightforward B2B sales strategy.
One of the worst sales mistakes: wasting time
The annoying part is that he gave me a ballpark quote that was about three times cheaper than the actual quote that I had to threaten him with. He kept refusing to give me anything in writing until we sat down to hear their sales pitch.
This was more than likely going to be a convincing session for us to use their managed infrastructure. Instead, he ended up wasting two weeks of my time. Talk about frustrating. You can guess who didn’t get the business because of his terrible sales mistake.
Without getting into all the technical jargon, this basically means we were renting space in a secure facility to operate our cloud servers. We have bought our own equipment and simply needed a place in the data center to place it.
Not keeping a word on time
If there is one thing that drives me absolutely up a wall when dealing with a salesperson, it’s this. I hold myself to a ridiculously high standard for keeping my word with clients and prospective clients. This is something as simple as being on time to a meeting, to making sure you deliver the proposal before the agreed-upon date.
Sales mistakes destroys mutual trust
The old adage under promise and overdeliver still is one of the most valuable tools in your sales arsenal. Again, let’s use our friend, the data center salesperson, as a shining example of a terrible B2B salesperson. Multiple times he did not send emails, proposals, call back or do anything he said he was going to do in the time frame he said he was going to do it in.
Sales success hinges on your ability to build trust with your prospects. Not keeping your word is the quickest way to destroy that trust. Always be careful not to make such silly sales mistakes.
Acting inappropriately to the customers
I didn’t have to worry about this with the co-location guy. He was too busy not getting back to me. But some salespeople mistake persistence for annoyance. Believe me; this is a disturbing sales mistake. It isn’t pleasant when someone is calling before the end of the agreed-upon timeframe.
You don’t have anything new to tell them; especially, if you’re not on the level of chatty. So wait to call. I know it can be frustrating as a salesperson when someone seems to be blowing you off. But that’s part of our job, is to deal with stuff like that. It’s not an excuse to make unprofessional sales mistakes.
Don’t annoy the customers, give them a little breathing room
Most people are actually busy, and despite your eagerness to take their money, you’re not always on the top of their priority list. So be annoying, and all you are doing is driving your buyer right into someone else’s arms.
If they aren’t talking to you, it means they are either not ready to make the decision, will not be using you anyway or have already decided to go with someone else. You’re not going to convince someone to pick up the phone against their will, so give them a little breathing room.
Using a canned sales pitch
If you want to make a huge sales mistake in the B2B world, just use a canned sales pitch. Walking into a place, not asking any questions about their business model, their processes and most importantly, their problems. The whole reason you are there is that the prospect has a problem that needs fixing or they want to figure out how to improve on an existing process.
Until you understand what they are trying to accomplish, how can you consult them on anything or craft a solution for them? It’s frustrating for me as a buyer having my time wasted with someone who says they have the answer to my issue and then tries to sell me something I don’t really need. What a waste of time…
Build your strategy on customers’ needs, not yours
That means halfway into our conversation. I’m turning you out because I perceive you can’t fix my problem. If you had taken the time to figure out what I really needed and matched your solution to my problem, it creates a sense of expertise and value on your part. This gives me some faith that you can actually do something for me.
Conclusion for B2B sales mistakes
Those are the biggest mistakes salespeople make all the time. Successful salespeople avoid these sales mistakes like the plague. If you follow these above fundamental techniques for sales, you are well on your way towards creating a great buying experience and reaching a sales prospecting success.
Each salesperson has committed at least a few of these mistakes, but what distinguishes the great from the average is the ability to recognize and correct errors. If you can avoid these typical sales mistakes, you will be well on your way to success and can focus on learning how to do B2B sales.