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If you are a sales leader or a sales manager, you may not know how your sales force prospects. Then again, you may know, and you may believe they are prospecting in a way that is effective. You may also see a lot of emails from salespeople and believe you are doing what other sales organizations are doing to create a first meeting.

Before we look at what’s wrong, know that I am the most pro-salesperson you know. In the last couple of days, I have contacted six salespeople to tell them their emails were being delivered to my spam folder. I did this as a professional courtesy, even though I know that email will not help them improve the number of meetings they book.

If you want your team to book more meetings, make them watch this 17-minute prospecting training. If you are a salesperson, watch this and take notes and act on this.

A Legacy Fail

The salesperson who emailed me offered me a problem that was not a problem for me. After offering me the problem that their company solved, the next line was pitching their value proposition. I declined to learn more, as I may have the lightest sales stack on Earth.

I explained why the solution couldn’t possibly help me and that I can’t imagine might help my teams improve their 85% - 95% win rate. I am not sure it would make sense to buy technology to eke out a tiny bit more revenue.

My salesperson persisted, exactly as they should have, though I wouldn’t have done so over email. The second volley was supposed to be data-driven. The data was not designed to educate me but instead the data supported buying their solution, even though I didn’t have a problem they could solve.

The email was self-oriented. That should not shock or surprise you as most are.

The Sales Prospecting Industrial Complex

Forever, salespeople have been brainwashed to believe their company is the best in class. This starts in onboarding and continues to be reinforced. They are also gaslighted into believing their solution is superior to anything else on the market. With confidence comes a delusion that everyone needs your solution, even though many don’t need what you sell.

I want you to be wildly successful in sales, it's why I write 1,000 words every day. I also want you to love your company and your solution. But you need to know that not every contact of a company you call will be a good candidate for what you sell, let alone your solution.

We make a mistake when we teach salespeople the variable to success is the quality of their company and their solution. When the average salesperson has a 17% win rate and quota attainment of 27%, you have all the evidence you need to know that this approach is no longer effective.

Why We Don’t Tell Salespeople the Truth

It’s easy and cheap to pursue a “spray and pray” approach to selling, proof positive that senior leaders believe everyone should buy what they sell instead of pursuing a few carefully chosen strategic targets. Those who believe that B2B sales is a numbers game don’t worry about sales effectiveness, as more opportunities are easier to create, and improving win rates is difficult.

We don’t tell them the truth about success. You can double, triple or 10x your pipeline, but the worst possible strategy is deciding you need to lose 87% of the deals you create. Losing deals can cost you more than you might recognize, starting with allowing your competitor to sign a contract that will keep you locked out for more years than you might expect.

You don’t get paid for creating the pipeline. Nor do you reach your goals by having many deals you can’t win.

The Truth: For Those Who Can Handle It

Sales is individual. You walk into a client’s office by yourself. There may be one person greeting you or fourteen. No matter which is true, you and you alone need to create value for the people giving you their time. Success is yours, and so is failure.

The variable is the value you create in the sales conversation. The older strategies and tactics are failing salespeople and sales organizations today. Much has changed since these approaches were created. Even though they worked well enough in the past, they are now outdated. This is harming sales forces, starting with how they prospect and continuing into the first meeting, and through what conversation is left before the contact breaks off communication and goes Casper the Ghost on you.

The truth is buyers have changed and most sales organizations have not evolved with them. When buyers change, sellers must change—if they want to win deals. Whether you refuse to change or you are negligent, either way, it ends badly when your contacts don’t want to buy from you.

You Are Pitching You

A self-orientation has never been effective in sales. When there are many alternatives, you must be other-oriented to succeed. No one cares about your company; they care about their company. Your contacts don’t care about your solution; they care about the strategic outcomes they need and what they need to do to succeed.

Too many salespeople believe so much in their solution that they pitch way too early believing the client needs to change long before the contact recognizes the need to change. Without the value creation strategies that buyers find valuable, it can be difficult to win their business.

To transform your sales approach to one that will serve both you and your clients better and improve your results, start by changing your sales methodology

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Sales 2023
Post by Anthony Iannarino on June 21, 2023

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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