5 Issues that Prevent You from Boosting Sales and How to Fix Them
January 18, 2021 12 min. read
While growing business and scaling sales, entrepreneurs face plenty of challenges and make numerous mistakes. And you know what? That’s completely fine: at some point, we’ve all experienced failures and mistakes that have prevented us from reaching our desired sales stream. The key thing is to identify these issues and fix them as soon as possible.
We’ll tell you about five common issues that stop sales and revenue growth in their tracks and explain how you can fix them.
Issue #1: The War Between Sales and Marketing
Marketing and sales departments often seem to be opposite sides of a coin. Each department tends to set strategies according to their own agenda and goals and do not align them with each other unless expressly tasked. This leads to colossal misalignment, which means you’re probably missing plenty of opportunities for improving business performance.
1. Misalignment costs businesses more than a trillion dollars per year. According to research, aligning your sales and marketing can generate up to 208% growth in revenue, 38% higher sales win rates, and a 32% increase in year-over-year revenue growth.
2. Since marketing and sales teams interact with customers at different points of the customer journey, lack of collaboration may break coherent communication with your clients. Imagine your buyers are simultaneously receiving different messages from sales and marketing teams. As a result, you may face a decrease in revenues. Vague and non-collaborative messaging also leads to losing your brand consistency.
3. Misalignment can also leak into work culture. The disagreement between departments can lead to frustration within teams and other departments that interact with them. Happier employees are typically more productive and retained at higher rates.
How to Fix it?
Sales and marketing alignment doesn’t happen overnight. It is an ongoing process that requires a commitment to continuous collaboration and improvement.
To bridge sales and marketing teams, you can:
1. Set up regular face-to-face or online sessions to make sure you’re on the same page;
2. Work on your buyer personas and think through customer journeys together;
3. Create KPIs together;
4. Exchange insights and customer feedback;
5. Work on linking post-sales growth and retention.
Issue #2: Wasting Time on Routine and Administrative Tasks
In 2018, Forbes shocked the world with its findings: sales reps were spending less than 36% of their time selling. WTF?! Most of their time is consumed by administrative and manual tasks such as creating reports, inputting data, surfing the internet, etc. Time-consuming processes distract employees, leaving less room to do what they are here for – selling.
How to Fix it?
You won’t be surprised if we say automate, will you? 🙂 Fortunately, there are numerous tools that help to automate most non-revenue-generating tasks. Implementing them into your workstream will allow your reps to devote more time to selling.
CRMs: Make sure you don’t track your employees’ performance and sales funnel in Excel sheets while it’s 2021 over here. Opting for a full-scale CRM system will save your reps time, sort out all corporate tasks, and provide clarity on each lead. Consider options like Zoho CRM or Pipedrive.
Sales prospecting: Crawling the web to collect leads is extremely time-consuming. Use automation tools like Signum.ai’s Lead Machine and B2B Lookalike Finder, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Prospect.io, and others to build prospect lists.
Cleaning up contact databases: Well, we recommend you to choose sales prospecting tools that do their job perfectly and deal with multiple tasks, which includes cleaning up data. We at Signum.ai can’t imagine offering an automation tool that will require any further moves from our customers. However, if you still need to clean up contact data, try LeadIQ or Zoominfo.
There are many fancy pieces of software you can use to increase your teams’ performance, and most of them provide free trial periods, so you can check that they suit your goals and needs. However, those types of tools mentioned above are the most essential for any business willing to save sales rep’s time and boost sales.
Issue #3: Lack of High-Quality Leads
Even if you managed to create a funnel that brings tons of leads, it doesn’t always mean quality. It doesn’t matter how many leads you manage to find and reach out to if, at the end of the day, the conversion rates are too low.
Let’s say you contacted 150 leads, and had a call with 20 of them because the others were irrelevant and not interested in your products or services. Of those, only two purchased your product. Thus, you spent lots of time collecting leads, reaching out to them, and realizing most of them aren’t your target audience. Were those 150 leads worth it? Nah.
Lead generation is about both quality and quantity. In this exact order.
How to Fix it?
We’ll briefly discuss the steps Signum.ai follows:
1) Define your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
The first thing you should do is define your ideal customer profile (ICP). Do you target small, medium, or large-sized companies? What is your niche? Their annual revenue? Location? The software those companies use? Think through all the details to understand who you want to sell to and work with.
2) Make sure you reach out to the right person
When it comes to B2B, it’s crucially important to contact the person responsible for purchasing products like yours. Is it a CTO, CMO, or someone else? Research the company organization, identify potential decision makers, and investigate their social media profiles (first of all, LinkedIn). Eventually, you’ll have an understanding of what this person is dealing with and whether he or she has the power to give you the green light.
3) Collect intent data & sales signals
Finally, you should be aware of the moment your leads are ready to buy. To reach out to them on time, collect the info on their online activity, both inbound and outbound.
Inbound info is the data on how leads are engaging with your website. Which pages have they scrolled? What buttons did they click? Such info serves as evidence of interest in your products or services.
Outbound info is data about engaging with other relevant sources, and you can either purchase it from third-party companies or find a solution that can gather this data for you in multiple sources. This is what Signum.ai tools may help you with. Our AI crawls the internet, and identifies triggers – signals that tell you this user may be interested in your products or services. For example, someone posted a vacancy or commented on a certain post. Then, algorithms collect that users’ contact data and the info related to that trigger so that you can use it as a reason to reach out.
Now, you should decide which leads to deal with first which is called lead scoring. Again, AI saves us all. Relying on real-time data and the history of your interactions with customers, including prospects’ info, engagement rates, the validity of contact details, leads’ activity in social media, etc., AI identifies the leads most likely to purchase and ranks them as high-priority. In other words, you get the message, “Hey, this lead is 99.9% likely to convert. Hot stuff – go ahead.”
Fortunately, most lead generation tools and CRMs have built-in lead scoring features. However, you can also use the BANT system to self-check from time to time. BANT stands for:
Budget – the ability and willingness to spend money
Authority – who is the decision maker?
Need – does your product solve a lead’s problem?
Timing – the urgency of settling the matter with your product.
With this set of criteria, you will be able to prioritize your resources within the sales pipeline and put efforts into those most likely to convert.
All done? It’s time to reach out to your future customers. 🙂
Issue #4: Neglecting Performance Stats
As you expand your databases, implement various strategies, launch new products, run ad campaigns and experiment with certain actions, and get certain outcomes, you accumulate an immense amount of info that can be and actually should be studied. What for? If you find yourself asking this question, that’s a clear signal – you don’t track the statistics. You’re making a huge mistake.
Tracking your performance is a starting point for developing further tactics, improving your product or services, fixing issues, and eventually getting better business results. It also helps you to understand whether your product or services suit the market or you have to work on your offer, ICP, strategy, or anything else.
If a company and each department doesn’t care for statistics, they won’t gain an understanding of their mistakes, won’t improve them and grow, and will be likely to either stagnate or collapse. Sound shitty, right?
How to Fix it?
1. First, make sure you get enough data. The more info you gather and analyze, the more precise decisions you can make based on those insights.
2. Evaluate each channel to understand what campaign elements need measuring. Evaluate your whole pipeline and find weak points that need improvement by gathering a full picture of lead generation success, from initial marketing outreach to the final sale.
3. Build a coherent system of tracking sales, marketing, and other departments’ activities. Choose a CRM that will help you track your success and make sure all teams keep an eye on their performance rates.
4. Also, think of KPIs and elaborate on the systems of benefits to motivate your employees.
Tracking and analyzing results, learning lessons, and polishing strategies is pivotal for achieving better results.
Issue #5: Boring and Irrelevant Content
In 2020, 39% of marketers were expected to extend their spendings on B2B content creation. No surprise: engaging leads via catchy, relevant, insightful content works perfectly. Again, catchy, relevant, and insightful. Not boring, useless, low-quality, etc.
We know, it’s easy to say. Generating high-quality content is extremely hard. However, that’s the challenge you have to accept.
How to Fix It?
Let us give you several tips and tricks on creating content that will hit the bull’s eye.
1. Focus on your customers: Listen closely to your readers, i.e. potential or actual customers. Listen to their pain, needs, tasks. Write about your customers and for them. Deliver value by each piece. Make a story that will pull people in. Consider creating valuable guidelines, checklists, case studies, and research. Then share them as pieces of content or make them into downloadable lead-magnets.
2. Be creative: Think out of the box, come up with non-trivial topics, and introduce the ideas that were overlooked by competitors. Don’t blindly copy the concepts and issues they bring up. Also, experiment with formats: apart from writing blog posts, launch a podcast, develop social media, etc.
3. Share customer success stories: If your product consistently and successfully helps your customers, don’t be too shy to share these inspiring stories. Those discoveries, workarounds, and new strategies may attract and help other clients as well.
4. Use AI-powered tools (yes, again): We all run out of ideas. If you need a time out, delegate brainstorming to AI: such tools as AI content creation by Signum.ai may generate the topics for your articles, product descriptions, and other pieces of text.
We all strive to increase sales, and we all make mistakes. Now, you know how to escape some of them and get closer to success: make sure you align sales and marketing, track statistics and learn lessons, generate high-quality leads, automate routine tasks, and create compelling and engaging content.
Good luck! 🙂
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