A potential client asked, “What are some of the reasons that projects don’t work out?” Great question. Knowing what to avoid greatly increases the odds of success.
Here is my list of factors that can kill your improvement efforts for b2b appointment setting.
1. Define worthwhile prospects too broadly.
Everyone thinks, “that’s not me.” The odds are great that it is you.
In my early calling days, I never took a project unless a client would let me select the list. Never. They ALL said, “don’t worry about that, we have that covered.” They were always wrong.
Even today, when companies have a lot of legacy records that have not been maintained, or thousands of records in a database that has not been kept up, they think their data is OK. Wading through all that trying to find a few nuggets in the manure pile is a tremendous waste of time. Plus, paying people to slog through garbage and then expect solid results is ridiculous. Great way to demotivate your team that has a tough job to begin with.
Lesson: Know how to research a prospect profile to identify the most responsive list possible. If you have a lot of legacy records in your database, be quick to dump them. You will gain productivity and results when you do.
2. Freeze with inaction at even the most obvious must-do “no-brainer” steps
If a business owner or manager lacks confidence in making basic marketing and sales decisions, it kills progress. Even the most basic must-be-done decisions are put off, pondered and often put to a vote among the clueless.
The worst decision is often to do nothing. If you lack enough sales/marketing know-how to lead a change effort, you must work with someone who does. Then do what they recommend. If you don’t, you just fall further behind the competition.
3. Ask Those That Must Change Their Behaviors What to Do
Here is a truism for you. People resist change. Even when what they are doing is not working, has not worked for a long time, is ridiculously inefficient, and is wasting company resources and costing them opportunities.
I can guarantee you that those working the current underperforming system will resist and try to erect roadblocks to change.
I am all for and encourage collaboration, but don’t underestimate people’s resistance to change. People want to stay in their comfort zone, even when it is a disaster zone.
You must lead people in these situations.
4. Failure to inspect what you expect
When sales management is active reps will stick with sales behaviors most likely to work, even when they would be more comfortable with a different approach.
If sales management inspects what they expect, the behaviors that lead to more sales get implemented and improved on.
Sales management is not banging the table demanding more dials, more calls, more proposals, more meetings while you totally neglect to inspect and coach on the behaviors that lead to the sale.
The table bangers and “whip them harder” managers see top talent flee while the mediocre and less, that have fewer options, stay.
But managers that inspect and activelycoach on the behaviors that lead to sales, can lift the mediocre into the top tier of results.
5. Failure to do the basics well
If a sales team is executing the basics well, that suffices to beat about 90% of the competition. I really believe that.
Sometimes companies love their technologies, their big dollar investments in the newest “best” programs, and guess what they struggle. When it comes to building a solid foundation, the basics of prioritizing targets, communicating their value and credibility, or having a decent sales or prospecting process, their solid foundation is sand. Everything crumbles.
Pay attention to the basics first and let them take root. Most of the time, that is enough to get you where you want to go.
So in summary, you increase the odds of prospecting success when you avoid these mistakes:
1. Don’t cast your list net too wide. Create a proper profile and follow it where it leads you. Don’t assume you know. You don’t.
2. Make decisions. Know what you don’t know. If you don’t have enough comfort and understanding about sales and marketing to make decisions, find someone that does and do what they say.
3. Understand that people resist change. That those who have to be newly accountable and learn new behaviors will battle and resist as much as you let them.
4. Inspect what you expect. Inspect the behaviors that lead to sales as they are in progress. Be constructive and proactive about suggesting changes and making people accountable for improvement.
5. Execute the basics really well. No excuses. Don’t skip the boring basics so you can get right to the fancy and exciting stuff. Build your sales program on strong foundations, not sand.