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There are several potential failure points in B2B sales conversations, and sales leaders pursuing net new revenue will need to address them to reach their sales goals and targets. Every salesperson may have different failure points that require development through B2B sales training or coaching. Left unaddressed, the failure points will cause the salesperson to lose deals that they might have won.

Before we move on, know that there are always strategies and tactics that can overcome failure points. But these strategies require the salesperson to receive the development they need to execute the strategies effectively. The most common failure points are as follows.

  1. Poor Time Management: The first way one can create a failure point is by not managing their time and their activity. Too little activity is worse than too little effectiveness. You should ensure your sales team does the right work in the right way at the right time.
  2. Lack of a Client-Centered Approach: This is not your parent’s sales environment. More than ever, salespeople are running straight into a failure point because they lack a highly client-centric approach. One way they fail here is that they feel like they are selling.
  3. First Meeting: Failing to create value for the prospective client and using an approach that is too transactional causes the prospect to ask the salesperson to reach out to them in the next week for a meeting, a meeting that will never happen.
  4. Weak Discovery: Too few in sales have recognized that, while they are doing discovery, their contacts are doing their own discovery. Salespeople have not been taught and trained to thoroughly research a company or their industry. The contacts recognize weak discovery when the salesperson’s questions are designed to elicit a problem that leads to their solution. Here again, if there is no value creation (educating the client on the decision) this failure point is certain to cause the opportunity to end prematurely.
  5. Access to Decision Makers: This failure point finds the salesperson unable or unwilling to ask who will be making the decision and getting them into the conversation before it is too late. A lack of ability here may cause a failure because the sales champion isn’t certain the salesperson will impress the senior leader.
  6. Inability to Provide Insights: When discussing the change the client needs, the salesperson who believes that their solution is the total solution may fail because they spend most of the time singing the praises of their offering while their contact is worrying about the decision they are charged to make. It is difficult for salespeople to recognize their clients are focused on the decision, of which the solution is only a small part.
  7. Resolving Concerns: In the past, you would worry about objections. It is rare for a contact to object. Instead, they have real concerns. The sales rep that believes the client is objecting will treat the real concern as something less than what it is. When the salesperson can’t resolve the client’s concerns, this failure point may end the pursuit.
  8. Investment Conversations: No buyer wants to find out that the salesperson’s solution is at the upper end of the price range after spending time with the sales professional. When sales reps are afraid their higher price is going to cause them to lose the opportunity, they may defer any conversation about investment. This failure point loses the deal when the client calls to say they went with the second-highest investment, as the salesperson tries to differentiate their business model far too late.
  9. Negotiation and Contracts: Having handed off your contact to the company’s legal team, you will celebrate many birthdays while you wait for the redlines, threatening your deal and your client’s change initiative. The opposite is also true when your prospect provides you with a 78-page contract in 8-point font, including all kinds of indemnifications, one-sided naturally.
  10. Lack of Follow-up: It’s difficult to follow-up when your contacts are busy. But the salesperson who doesn’t want to bother their client or continue to pursue the conversation will experience a fatal failure point. You must have the confidence to continue to work on winning the client’s business.
  11. Competitors: This failure point occurs when the decision maker and their team fall in love with a competitor, likely your greatest rival. It is difficult for sales leaders and sales managers to recognize that a salesperson is outmatched by a better salesperson. Much of the time, the competitors’ top 20 percent salesperson is competing against a salesperson who falls into the bottom half of the sales force, making it a mismatch.

These failure points require time and attention. You may find your sales team has other failure points not listed here, but will must address each of them over time. The most important initiative is the effectiveness of your sales force. One way you improve your team’s ability to break through these failure points is to teach and train them how to succeed where others fail.

It is important that you spend enough time with your team to know their strengths and the areas of improvement. You may also look at your opportunity stages to see where deals fall out by salesperson, exploring the challenges they have and what changes they need to make to break through the failure points.

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Sales 2024
Post by Anthony Iannarino on February 27, 2024

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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