Prospecting is the backbone of a healthy sales pipeline. If done correctly, it can bring in a steady stream of new business and help build customer loyalty. Yet, it is still one of the biggest obstacles faced by sales teams today. Prospecting is mired by many challenges that most salespeople are more than happy to avoid at all costs. In this sales training article, we provide actionable advice on how to fix prospecting challenges for better sales results.
Lack of prospecting training
A direct cause of the prospecting challenge is that too many account managers and salespeople have never been taught the ‘why’ and ‘how to’ effectively. Sales training often focuses on closing deals and handling objections, but not on how to generate leads and proactively source business. To fix this, sales teams should invest in prospecting training that covers the fundamentals of prospecting and provides actionable tips for success.
Reliance on existing business
Many salespeople rely on leads and existing accounts for their business – in fact, less than 10% of salespeople proactively prospect and source their own business. This limits their ability to grow and expand their sales pipeline and puts their sales goals at risk. Salespeople should adopt a proactive mindset and prioritise prospecting as a key part of their daily routine.
Over reliance on email and LinkedIn
While email and LinkedIn are valuable tools for prospecting, they should not be used in isolation. Salespeople must be comfortable with cold calling and other prospecting techniques to succeed. Sales leaders should provide their salespeople with a variety of prospecting tools and techniques and encourage them to experiment with different methods until they find what works best for them.
Fear of rejection
This is a common issue, and it can be a significant barrier to effective prospecting. We are inherently driven by fear, which creates an aversion for the potential rejection that is inevitable with daily prospecting. Sales teams should provide their salespeople with the tools and resources they need to overcome their fear of rejection and build their confidence.
Lack of prospecting strategy
A lack of structure, minimal acceptable standards and discipline for success is another direct cause of the prospecting challenge. To fix this, sales teams should provide their salespeople with a clear prospecting strategy, including what to say and write to create engagement, reduce rejection, and get new meetings.
In this economic environment, it is more important than ever to develop sales prospecting skills and stand out from your competitors. The old saying ‘if you keep doing what you do, you will keep getting what you get’ is no longer true. In fact, if you keep doing what you do, you will lose more in the long run. To succeed in today’s competitive marketplace, sales teams must be proactive and skillful in their prospecting efforts. It requires a mindset shift away from what’s comfortable to what really works – no matter how daunting the idea of daily rejection is.
Having a deep understanding of the sales prospecting process, a clear strategy, and the discipline to stick to it will provide sales teams with a steady stream of new business and keep them ahead of their competition. It all starts and ends with prospecting, because without a full sales pipeline you are only delaying the inevitable.