Whether it’s perpetually running late, using outdated software, or biting your nails, old habits die hard. Change is challenging, but it can be healthier, more productive and in your organization’s best interest. Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm and Zone to Win, refers to change as “disruptive innovation,” and notes that if organizations don’t change as fast as the world around them, they’ll be left in the dust of the competition.
To kick a bad habit, you must first address it head on. After you recognize what’s holding you back, you can prepare your business to catch the next wave and sell effectively.
Here are 10 bad sales and customer service habits identified by Geoffrey Moore and Tiffani Bova, Global Customer Growth, and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce. After reading this, learn how to kick these habits to the curb in the brand new Leading Edge webcast on November 8 at 11am PT. (Register here).
After spending significant time with multiple SaaS organizations and their sales departments, Moore made a clear discovery: “What looks like one sales cycle that can be managed by one end-to-end pipeline model, is diverging into two separate ones.” Traditionally, there is the sales funnel, including top, middle, and bottom progress. However, there is the opportunity to modernize your prospect’s current operations with the latest technology, which involves technology partners, IT, and a different approach to the funnel-based model. “This sort of sales motion does not begin with conventional bottom-up lead generation,” notes Moore.
Closing a deal — especially bigger deals — is a team effort. From the marketing materials to the IT support, the more collaboration and teamwork involved, the more likely you’ll succeed. “Closing is a matter of getting everyone’s fingerprints on that proposal, both on the line of business and the IT side, including whatever partners and allies are needed to deliver on the total promise. This is an act of orchestration that requires open communication, collaborative spirit, and trust—hence the claim that collaborators win,” says Moore.
Reflecting on habits #1 and #2, one sales template for the Lead-to-Close stage will not fly, according to Moore. “What sales executive do not acknowledge is that there are two distinct sales pipelines at work here requiring two distinct Lead-to-Close stage templates. Instead, everyone is expected to pour their opportunities into a single, standard template,” shares Moore. “Enough is enough…AEs make the call as to which play they are running in each of their sales opportunities.”
“Nothing is more dreaded by most sales reps than having to generate new sales leads by cold calling,” states Moore. He focuses on “Prospecting 2.0” which explores a more effective way to find qualified sales opportunities and engage with those prospects. “This new approach is a godsend to sales reps. Customers are pretty happy about it, too. It respects both the customer and the sales rep’s time by focusing the sales organization on contacts who are most likely to be interested in receiving a phone call or e-mail from them.”
Much like cold calling, flying blind when reaching out to customers will often fall short. Often called lead qualification, there is a person or group dedicated to reaching out to customers in the early phase to discover if there is a fit and if they’re a qualified lead. From there, they can be nurtured and closed. “This Sales Development or Lead Qualification group allows sales reps with quotas to focus on closing qualified buyers without sacrificing the filling of the sales funnel for future quarters,” states Moore. It also helps customer service teams know and understand new and existing customers in order to be proactive and responsive.
Some say we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. It's important to listen to your customers and learn from their lessons, before we speak. “Your best sales force is your customers advocating on your behalf,” shares Tiffani Bova. Listen to your customers and ensure that you are delivering value during all moments, not just touch points. Join Tiffani at the Sales Acceleration Technology Summit replay with InsideSales (register here).
It might be easy to send those templated emails, and they might work…some of the time. Learn about your customers and spend time crafting a message that appeals to them and their mindset right now. The more work you put in, the more you’ll get out.
Moore once received a message that went something like this: “Since it’s the end of our quarter, I thought you might be interested in (product name), which is now available at a 15% discount until (end of quarter date).” While timely and adding a sense of urgency, according to Moore, this is a commonly-used approach that has everything to do with quota attainment and nothing to do with the customer. “Consider instead a customer-centric, personalized approach,” Moore recommends.
“When I hear CEOs say, ‘We need to get to the future before our customers do and welcome them when they arrive,' then I know they have started a journey to connect and do business with their customers in a whole new way,” shares Tiffani Bova. Bova recommends proactively servicing customers, adding features from customer insights, and aligning business models and principles based on the success of their customers. “To do this, they will use technology and data to re-invent their businesses. And above all: they know speed matters. Their customers expect these new digital experiences and they are being challenged by new players born in this digital age,” says Bova. Hear more from Bova here.
There is no single journey to purchase. “Leading sales and customer service experiences like these must cover the entire buyer journey, all the way from prospective customers to new customers to customers who are advocates for your products and services,” Tiffani Bova recommends, “Whether your sales teams are mostly hunters or harvesters, the sales experience must work across the board for everyone that you interact with.”