It’s impossible to explain the feeling of pounding the pavement every day only for sales to flatline. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m talking about sales plateaus. However, what if I told you that you could prevent plateaus with specific B2B sales techniques?
Even though most B2B companies regularly experience plateaus, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t preventable.
It’s like I always say, just because every other B2B company experiences specific problems doesn’t mean that those problems are inevitable for you! That is, at least, if you don’t follow their lead.
To help you prevent one of the most painful sales problems altogether, I’m sharing 7 B2B sales techniques to prevent plateaus.
Not only do these techniques help prevent plateaus, but they’ll also:
- Speed up your B2B sales process
- Fill your sales pipeline with better leads
- Help you close more deals with less resistance
Plateaus are a product of choice. From now on, choose to prevent plateaus by implementing these 7 sales techniques!
Sales Plateaus: One of the Most Common B2B Sales Mistakes
Also commonly referred to as business plateaus, business growth plateaus, or sales growth plateaus, sales plateaus represent a period of time in which sales growth stagnates. Instead of making more and more sales from week to week, sales growth flatlines.
Unfortunately, when sales growth stagnates, overall business growth stagnates. Why? Because, sales growth is the central tenet of business growth; if you can’t make more sales, then your business can’t grow.
Plateaus typically occur immediately after a growth phase.
Along with prospect ghosting, sales plateaus are one of the most common B2B sales problems that salespeople get themselves into. Not only are they extremely common, but they’re also extremely debilitating. Any sales rep who has experienced a plateau knows how annoying it is to be working extremely hard yet not growing.
You would think that because plateaus are both extremely common and extremely debilitating that more B2B sales teams would be aware of them, but the truth is that most teams get caught off guard by them. And when they do hit a plateau, they often don’t know what it takes to overcome it!
What Causes Sales (Business Growth) Plateaus?
Before you think about preventing a plateau, you need to understand the root cause of plateaus.
Believe it or not, there is a single root cause for just about every sales plateau. The root cause is not a sales cycle or technique gone wrong, rather, it’s a mindset error.
To put it simply, the root cause of sales plateaus is complacency. By complacency, I’m talking about getting a little bit too comfortable with circumstances or the status quo.
Unfortunately, when sales professionals fall back into that comfort zone, their standards start to slip. Instead of holding themselves and their sales team accountable to the highest level, their performance standards decrease. Once those standards for performance slip, it’s only inevitable for sales results to slip.
For example, after hitting a sales growth stage, sales leaders will start to get a little less assertive with their sales approach. By doing so, team members follow their lead. As a result of being less assertive, their overall lead generation results plummet, and suddenly they experience an overarching plateau.
The hard truth is getting stuck in that comfort zone is nothing sort of crushing! In order to keep yourself from falling back into the comfort zone and resultantly plateauing, you must kick complacency to the curb.
Where Does Complacency Come From?
Complacency is a product of our human nature. Because it’s a product of human nature, everybody experiences it, including the most effective B2B sales professionals!
The truth is that complacency is hard-wired into our DNA because complacency helps keep us in our comfort zone. If you know anything about human nature, it ALWAYS wants us to stay in our comfort zone!
The fact that human nature wants to keep us in our comfort zone all the time presents a bit of an issue: Sales growth requires salespeople to step out of their comfort zone almost all the time!
Think about it: Cold calling strangers on the phone is extremely uncomfortable, yet absolutely necessary for growth.
That said, sales professionals experience complacency when they allow human nature to overcome their willpower to push forward through somewhat uncomfortable experiences.
Furthermore, you can thank human nature for your sales plateau!
Why You Can’t Prevent Plateaus 100% of the Time
Because complacency is a product of human nature, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll experience it at one point or another. Therefore, it’s almost impossible to prevent plateaus 100% of the time.
However, with the help of the right techniques, you can keep complacency at bay the majority of the time in order to prevent plateaus from regularly popping up.
How to Use Sales Techniques to Kickstart Sales Growth
Because sales plateaus are a product of mental complacency, it’s crucial to use sales techniques that help keep you out of your comfort zone.
For example, while it might be mentally challenging to make cold calls assertively, it’s the best way to secure deals with B2B customers and keep sales growth going.
That said, the key to using B2B sales techniques to prevent sales plateaus while igniting sales growth at the same is to use techniques that keep you out of your comfort zone.
If you feel like the techniques you’re using are keeping you on the edge of your seat, then it’s a sign that you’re using the right ones!
On the other hand, if the techniques you’re using make you feel safe and secure, then maybe you need to rethink them.
No sales professional ever achieved sales success by getting complacent and staying in their comfort zone.
7 B2B Sales Techniques That Prevent Business Plateaus
Here are the 7 sales techniques that help you prevent business plateaus.
As I said before, not only do these 7 techniques effectively help prevent plateaus, but they also help you achieve more B2B selling success.
Start here to save yourself from the pain of a total sales flatline!
1. Confront Your Biggest Fears
To begin with, the reason why our human instinct wants to be in the comfort zone all the time is because it interprets the comfort zone as a safe place. By a safe place, I mean that it’s a non-threatening place where you don’t have to face your discomforting fears.
Like I said before, preventing a sales plateau requires you to stay out of your comfort zone. Therefore, preventing a plateau requires you to face your fears!
Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “facing your fears is easier said than done!”
While that’s entirely true, that doesn’t change the fact that you still need to confront your fears.
Thankfully, I have a B2B sales technique that you can use to keep fear at bay so that you can prevent major sales problems from happening, including plateaus. This particular technique will help you get fears out of my head so that you can:
- Confront them head-on
- Recognize them for what they are (thoughts)
- Refocus on the most important sales tasks at hand
Like I said before, sales plateaus are the physical manifestation of a mental challenge, so preventing them is a mental game. More specifically, a mental game of having to confront your fears.
Create Distance Between You & Your Fears
Here’s the sales technique that you can use to not let your fears get the best of you, which helps keep plateaus at bay. At the end of the day, pull out your journal and do a brain dump of all your thoughts, including the fears that you’re feeling. Once you’ve written all of your fears down, close the journal and walk away.
The idea is to get any fearful thoughts out of your head and onto the paper so that they don’t consume your mind any longer. A better way of putting it is that you’re creating distance between yourself and your fears.
The greater the distance between you and fear, the less likely fear is to overcome you. When fear isn’t overcoming you, you’re less likely to retract into the comfort zone where sales plateaus inevitably happen!
2. Re-Clarify Your Business Vision
Do you feel like you’re in a state of constant business fog? Does that fog prevent you from seeing where you’re heading, and resultantly prevent you from taking action?
One of the most pervasive problems amongst sales leaders and business owners today is the lack of clarity. By lack of clarity, I mean that they have a vision in their head of what they want their business to become, but that vision is covered by a dense fog.
Because there’s fog covering that final destination, they don’t know what actions they need to take to reach it. Because they don’t know what actions they need to take, they take either little action or no action, and their business ultimately plateaus.
Think of lack of clarity like this: It’s like driving around in a car on an extremely foggy day without having a targeted end destination. In the end, the driver runs out of gas and wastes a day just driving around.
What you need to do is re-clarify your business vision. Ask yourself, “What impact am I trying to create through my business?” or “What experience am I trying to create through my business?”
With a clear vision, you know what direction to head in and what moves to make to reach that final destination.
Clarify Without Demanding Perfection
Here’s the catch: While business visions must be clear, that doesn’t mean that they need to be “perfect”.
The hard truth is that perfection doesn’t exist, so if you demand a perfect business vision, you’ll just waste time and hold yourself back from taking action.
Instead of seeking perfection, seek clarity and then get moving! As you work to manifest your vision, it will get even clearer.
Reset Your B2B Sales Strategy
The first thing to do after clarifying your vision is to reset your B2B sales strategy.
You can think of a sales strategy as a blueprint for your business vision; it takes your grand vision and creates a framework for bringing it to life.
Reset your strategy to fit your renewed vision. The goal is to make your strategy as straightforward as possible. The more straightforward it is, the more likely the strategy is to work out.
3. Delegate More to Get Yourself Out of the Weeds
Do you ever feel like you’re constantly stuck in the sales weeds? Does your typical day consist of putting out fires instead of getting actual hard work accomplished?
If so, then odds are you’re not delegating work to your team members as you should.
Unfortunately, instead of delegating, many sales leaders overwhelm themselves with small sales tasks when they should be focusing on big-picture sales pieces (AKA, their strategy and vision)!
You can easily avoid a plateau by delegating individual tasks of the B2B sales cycle to your team members. That way, you get yourself out of the weeds to focus on your most important tasks while your team checks the rest of the boxes!
Instead of trying to control each and every piece of the sales process, take a step back and delegate to your more-than-capable B2B salespeople.
4. Connect With Your Existing Customers
Oftentimes, the answers to your biggest challenges are right under your nose. And, sales plateaus are no exception.
That said, perhaps the easiest way to prevent plateaus is by connecting with your current customers to ask them how you can better serve them. Then, apply their answers to a future customer’s buying process to give them an overall better experience and increase the odds that they make a purchasing decision in your favor.
When it comes to getting feedback from customers, you MUST be willing to get uncomfortable. You have to be willing to swallow hard truths for the sake of overall improvement.
While feedback might be challenging to swallow at first, just know that those momentary discomforts will create a positive, long-term impact. This means you’re more likely to experience consistently positive sales growth instead of regular plateaus.
Ask for Genuine Feedback
So, how do you start collecting feedback from customers?
I suggest setting up what I like to call 10-Minute Customer Success sales calls with your current customers. Specifically, try to get on the phone with the top decision-maker.
During the call, ask them very targeted and specific questions regarding how you can better help serve them.
For example, questions such as, “Have you seen a difference in your pain point since we started working together?” or “What else can I do to make this experience more positive for you?”
The idea is to show the customer that you genuinely care about their success. When you show them that you truly care about them, they’re more likely to give you honest answers.
5. Quality Leads Over Quantity Leads
Do you ever feel like you’re selling yourself short?
Believe it or not, most B2B salespeople consistently sell themselves short. More specifically, they set very low standards for themselves, particularly when it comes to targeting new customers.
Instead of targeting their ideal customers, they target anyone who will listen to them because they don’t see themselves as capable of generating the highest quality leads. As a result, they end up with more unqualified than qualified leads in their sales pipeline who only end up ghosting them!
Unless you want to get regularly ghosted and resultantly hit a plateau, you can’t get complacent with your standards. Instead of targeting any potential customer who will listen to you, focus solely on potential customers who fit your ideal customer profile.
Sure, you might have fewer leads in your pipeline by opting for quality leads over sheer quantity, but you’ll likely end up with more closed deals in the end.
Bottom line: Business-to-business sales is a quality game, not a quantity game! Instead of getting complacent with leads, keep your standards high.
6. Create Value Before Extracting Value
There is no such thing as something for nothing. It’s absurd to expect leads to give you their valuable time without you giving them something valuable first. With that kind of mentality, you’re almost sure to plateau!
Perhaps the simplest and most effective way to add value before extracting value is putting out enticing inbound marketing content.
Get together with your marketing team to put together content that adds value through:
- Informational blog posts or webinars; or
- Showcasing social or expert proof.
Better yet, use your personal social media accounts, particularly LinkedIn, to showcase customer success stories. Customer success stories are a kind of laid-back case study that showcases the success a current customer has experienced through working with you. These kinds of stories prove to potential customers that they could miss out on something great if they don’t work with you.
Remember, there is no such thing as something for nothing! Leads will not give you the time of day unless you give them something valuable first.
7. Build Stronger Customer Relationships
Finally, strong customer relationships are pivotal to overall sales and business success. I’d go so far as to say that business is about relationships!
What makes relationships so pivotal?
For starters, you don’t know who your customers know. For all you know, one of your customers could be great friends with the CEO of a company who you’ve been cold calling for months!
On top of that, if you form strong customer relationships, there’s a good chance that that customer will stick with you for the long haul. Moreover, they’ll likely re-purchase your product or renew services many times over.
Because relationships are so pivotal, the last thing you want to do is get complacent with them. Once you get complacent with relationships, you’re letting the door creek open for customers to start looking elsewhere and a plateau to ensue.
Connect With Customers More Often
So, what’s the best way to foster stronger B2B buyer relationships?
While there are many techniques to solidify relationships, perhaps the most effective is fostering an environment of open communication.
Rather than closing the deal and then not speaking with the customer again for months, connect with them for formal meetings on a monthly basis and shoot them progress emails or messages on a weekly basis.
Unfortunately when you don’t openly and regularly communicate with customers, what happens is that their mind starts to wander. Suddenly, they’re thinking to themselves, “Are they even doing any work?” or “What am I actually paying this person for?”
Moreover, without regular communication, the customer defaults to a worst-case scenario mindset. When they’re in that state of mind, the relationship begins to erode.
Furthermore, don’t get complacent with relationships by neglecting open communication. Far too often, B2B salespeople don’t realize the value of their customer relationships until they’re gone.
Final Thoughts on B2B Sales Techniques That Prevent Sales Plateaus
If you’re no stranger to sales plateaus, then you certainly know how debilitating they can be. Thankfully, not only do these 7 techniques help prevent plateaus, but you can also use them to help dig yourself out of plateaus!
If you’re not yet familiar with sales plateaus, then save yourself NOW with the help of these 7 selling techniques!
Remember, plateaus are a matter of choice. You can choose to prevent them, or you can choose to go along with everybody else and regularly experience deadly flatlines.
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