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The Worst B2B Sales Mistakes that Shun Prospects + Simple Fixes

Brian Cristiano Oct 10, 2021

There are two ways to learn in life:

  1. By making a mistake
  2. By learning from someone else's mistake

Which one would you rather do?

If you're a sales professional without a lot of time on your hands or room for error, option two is probably your best bet!

With that said, we're sharing the worst B2B sales mistakes salespeople can make that cause prospects to run for the hills!  

If you can learn these mistakes now, you can avoid making them in the future.

But, if you already find yourself in a situation where you've made one of them, we're also sharing simple solutions, so you can try and reclaim the sale before the prospect is completely out of site!

A smart person learns from mistakes, but a wise person learns from other people's mistakes!

Learn these worst B2B sales mistakes before you make them in the first place!

 

What is the Biggest Challenge with B2B Sales Processes?

 

B2B sales is challenging.  Especially if you're new, it can feel like a steep climb to the top.

BUT, that doesn't mean that sales is complicated.

Challenging does not equal complication! 

Coming from the mindset that sales is complicated is at the core of almost all of the worst sales mistakes!  Therefore, the biggest challenge with B2B sales is overcoming the wrong mindset!

When you approach the process thinking it's complicated, you're planting the seed for things to be way harder than what they need to be!

Moreover, the worst mistake one can make in sales is thinking that it's more complicated than it really is.  Overcomplication manifests into the other worst sales mistakes on this list. 

Not only is it perhaps the worst mistake one can make in sales, but it's also one of the most common mistakes salespeople make.

Why do B2B sales fail?

Because the salesperson overcomplicates the process.  Plain and simple.

The best thing you can do as a sales professional is starting every sales cycle with the right mindset.  Having the right mindset will prevent you from making any of these upcoming sales mistakes in the first place.

 

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Worst B2B Sales Prospecting Mistakes Made by Salespeople

 

Making a mistake before even making it to the starting line is the equivalent of making a mistake during the prospecting phase of sales.

If you mess up here, you'll probably feel like you're spinning your wheels but getting absolutely nowhere.

Don't be the person who never makes it out of the gates!  Avoid making one of the worst B2B sales prospecting mistakes:

 

MISTAKE: Being Unspecific with Lead Generation

 

Your business's solution is worthy of every other company on earth buying it.

However, that might not be realistic.

And, while that might be obvious to you, it isn't obvious to everyone!  Because if it were, people would be far more specific when it comes to their lead generation strategy.

When it comes to picking out your perfect leads, it’s crucial to be very specific!  Especially in B2B sales, knowing exactly who your prospects are is extremely important.

If you have a huge pool of prospects but they don't truly fit your business solution, you'll just end up wasting a lot of time and be disappointed. 

Even though your business solution is fantastic, not every company on earth needs it (maybe).  Therefore, you must be very specific in your sales strategy about narrowing down who your perfect leads are!

The more specific you are, the more time, energy, and resources you save in the tricky lead generation process!

 

SOLUTION: Creating an Ideal Prospect Profile

 

How do you and your sales team get more specific with lead generation?  It all starts by creating an ideal customer profile.

An ideal customer profile is a drawn out picture of who your perfect prospect is.  It includes their demographics and psychographics, just to name a few.

Before you and your sales team even start thinking about tactics to generate leads, you all should sit down and create that profile.

And, you should be as specific as possible, especially if you are a B2B company!

If the profile you and your team draws out makes it more challenging for you to identify quality leads, just remember that it's better to have only a handful of solid leads than it is to have a ton of scrappy ones.

Don't start off your sales process on the wrong foot!  Be picky early on if you want to close more deals in the end.

 

MISTAKE: Overcomplicated Sales Outreach

 

As we mentioned above, overcomplication is at the core of the biggest mistakes in B2B sales.

And, the most notorious place that sales teams overcomplicate the heck out of their sales process is outreach.

The truth is that you don't need to employ challenging, overzealous sales tactics to get your prospects to respond to you.

Just because an outreach tactic looks challenging and impressive on the outside doesn't mean that it is effective! 

Instead, what is more effective is sticking to a set of core outreach techniques and making their delivery as perfect as possible.

For example, while given a bad rep, cold calling and emailing are still two of the most effective outreach techniques out there.  They are challenging to an extent, but they aren't complicated.  If you can make those sales calls or emails as high-quality sales conversations as possible, then you are likely to seal the deal (given you did your lead generation correctly!). 

If you start to focus on simple, straightforward outreach techniques and making them as high-quality as possible, you will see a drastic improvement in your company's bottom line.

 

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SOLUTION: Simple Outbound Sales Techniques

 

As we mentioned above, you should focus on simple but high-quality outreach tactics.

These ten 10-minute sales tactics are all excellent examples of how sales outreach doesn't need to be complicated or time-consuming for you to get prospects to respond to you!

Oftentimes when it comes to outreach, what helps you hear ‘yes' more often is less about what sales tactic you use and more about how you use it.

For example, you can have what you think is the best cold calling script ever, but if you say it with a horrible tone of voice, odds are that you're going to shun the prospect.

Moreover, simple and high-quality is the name of the game when it comes to outreach success!

 

MISTAKE: Refusing to Follow-Up

 

So, you make one cold call.  Then another.  And, then another.

But, nothing.

Every call is made to no avail.  Even worse.. it's not just that prospects are saying 'no' to you, it's that they aren't even picking up the phone!

Did you know that it takes the average salesperson 5 tries to connect with a prospect before they answer?

Therefore, refusal to consistently follow-up even just a couple of times can be the difference between making the sale or not!

 

SOLUTION: Being Persistent with Prospects

 

You can have the best sales pitches ever, but you probably won't even get the chance to make them if you don't continuously try and connect with your prospects.

One of the major keys to reaching sales success is regularly following-up with prospects after making your initial outreach attempt.

More bluntly put, the key to success is being persistent.

If a prospect doesn't answer right away, don't take it as a rejection.  Instead, put yourself in their shoes... What are some of the reasons that they might not be getting back to you?

While we often think about our prospects as people far removed from our lives, the truth is that they are just like us.  And, they face almost all of the same struggles as we do.

And, perhaps the most pervasive issue in business (and in life) today is not having enough time to get everything done in a day.

If you're having trouble accomplishing your day's work in 24 hours, don't you think your prospects might have the same issue?

With that said, consider the fact that your prospect's life is complex and that they're most likely not ignoring you.  Rather, they're just overwhelmed!

You don't need to feel like you're being annoying or overwhelming your prospects.  Simply continue to follow-up with them until you get a response.

If you're genuinely focused on helping them overcome their challenges, then it's all worth it in the end.

 

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Worst B2B Sales Presentation Mistakes Made by Salespeople

 

Congratulations!

You finally have quality prospects in your hands, and you're ready to show off your sales presentation.  It’s finally your time to shine.

If you really want to show prospects what you're made of, avoid making these fatal sales presentation errors!

 

MISTAKE: Dominating the Sales Conversation

 

Your first sales presentation serves two main purposes, including:

  1. Introducing the prospects to you and your solution
  2. Identifying the prospect's pain points

The more important of the two is figuring out your customer's needs.  More specifically, their pain points!

The way that you figure out their pain points is by letting them do the majority of the talking.  If you guide the conversation in the right direction, they will organically reveal to you what is at the core of their struggles

Many sales reps make the mistake of thinking that they already know what the prospect's main problems are.  As a result, they dominate the sales conversation because they think that they have the answers!

But, in reality, they're probably wrong.

One of the biggest and most common sales mistakes is doing the majority of the talking instead of letting the prospect speak.

This fatal error completely defeats the purpose of the initial sales meeting.  And, in many cases, it causes the prospect to turn away.

 

SOLUTION: Letting the Prospects Lead the Conversation

 

Instead of doing all of the talking during the sales conversation, let your prospects dominate.

Letting them do the talking not only opens the door for them to spill out all of their pain points, but it gives them a sense that they are in control of the situation.

Think about it... If you were in their position and your sales rep wouldn't stop talking for even a second, wouldn't you feel like you are being sold to?  At the very least, you would have a poor customer experience.

With that said, you should let prospects do the talking, but still maintain control over the situation by guiding the conversation.

The second that you let go of control of the sale... countless doors open for the prospect to walk through.

Get all of the information you need from your prospect and improve their experience by letting them do most of the talking!

 

MISTAKE: Selling Facts in the Sales Pitch

 

One of the biggest sales mistakes salespeople make is trying to sell facts about their product or service.

For example, they try to swoon people over with things like, "this car has 400 horsepower" or "this CRM system has customizable tools".

So, what?

While the facts are important, they aren't the things that close the sale.

It's a fatal mistake for a sales leader to spend their sales pitches talking over facts!  In the end, they're not going to get the results they want!

 

SOLUTION: Sales Storytelling

 

B2B sales strategy is about more than just putting all of the specs of your product or service out there and hoping prospects will bite.

Instead, it's about curating a story about your product or service, then serving it up to potential customers.

Facts tell.  Stories sell.

The most successful salespeople are the best storytellers.  They know how to turn every sale into a story!

 

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MISTAKE: Poor Sales Training

 

There are countless different sales training programs out there.

With so many options, trying to figure out which one is best is nothing short of a headache.

Not only that, but the problem with almost all sales training programs is that they simply teach sales theory, instead of giving trainees the opportunity to get actual hands-on practice.

Moreover, most sales training programs employ sales reps with knowledge, but don't teach them how to apply that knowledge.

While having knowledge can be a good thing, it doesn't mean anything if sales reps don't know what to do with it!

Sales leaders unfortunately waste a lot of time and money trying to find programs for their sales reps.  In the end, they don't end up seeing improvements in their team’s performance.

 

SOLUTION: Empowering Sales Reps

 

It's not enough just to know how to do something.  In fact, it doesn't mean anything if you merely know how to do something.  The only thing that truly matters in sales is being able to apply information learned to real-life sales scenarios.

A better way of putting this is empowering sales reps.

Empowerment explains how well someone is able to assert themselves and their knowledge in any given situation.  

It's about self-determination, and being able to make moves with confidence.

Don't expect your sales reps to perform well unless you empower them.  

The best of the best sales training programs do just that... They empower sales reps to take command of all sales scenarios by teaching them skills that they actually need to know, including:

  1. Sales psychology tactics
  2. Negotiation
  3. Scaling sales deals

Each of these skills are empowering.  They're less about sales theory and more about action!

 

Worst Closing Sale Mistakes Made by Salespeople

 

Perhaps the most infuriating place to make a mistake in B2B sales is at the very end of the sales process.

You can do everything right, but then make a fatal error on the final lap that ruins everything!  Don't be that person who loses the sale just before crossing the finish line.

Here are the most common closing sales mistakes and how to avoid them:

 

MISTAKE: Not Having What You Need to Close the Sale

 

Picture this: You come armed and ready to the sales meeting to give the best pitch ever.  You've done your job perfectly up until this point... lead generation, outreach to leads, and putting together the perfect sales pitch all went flawlessly.  

Then, you nail the pitch!  Things couldn't be any better.

But then, the head decision maker says, "When can we get started?".

You freeze.

You thought that it was too early in the sales process for your prospect to want to make a purchasing decision.  You know you did a good job, but you weren't expecting them to try and close so soon!

That momentary freeze turns into a long and awkward pause.  

The door has now opened for your prospects to second guess you.

This exact scenario is all too common in sales.  

Sales reps do everything perfect, but then they don't have a deal ready to throw down on the table!

At any point, a prospect could be ready to close.  Not being prepared for that moment creates just enough time for your prospect to slip through the cracks.

 

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SOLUTION: Showing Up Completely Prepared

 

Never EVER show up to a meeting without a perfectly laid out deal.  

By a perfectly laid out deal, you should at least have an outline of the following:

  • How you are going to implement your deliverable
  • How you plan to communicate with the prospects on a regular basis
  • What you plan on charging them

Moreover, your deal needs to be ready to go, regardless of where you are in the sales process.  Don't be the person who loses the sale right at the very end because they were unprepared.

At any point, your prospects could be ready to say 'yes'!  Will you be ready to respond?

 

MISTAKE: Negotiating Price

 

How many times has this happened to you (or have you imagined it happening): You make it to the very end of the sales pitch where you lay down the terms of the deal.  You name your price, and then the prospect's eyes open a little wider, and they get a lot quieter.

They are obviously taken back by your price tag, and you’re worried that this is the end.

In order to try and salvage the sale, you open up a price negotiation.  In your mind, that will surely make them stick around!

If this situation ever happens to you, whatever you do, don’t open your price up to negotiation!

Get the idea out of your mind that you need to lower your standard in order to make prospects purchase from you!  

Because, that’s what negotiation truly is: Lessening the value of what you have to offer in order to meet someone’s unnecessarily low expectations.

Never drop your value out of fear that some prospect will reject your offer.  You will only lose more in the end.

 

SOLUTION: Not Letting Standards Slip

 

Nope!

Do not negotiate your price with prospects, period.

Here’s the thing: B2B sales is all about forming an equal relationship between two companies.  

If you have a monetary value on your product or service that is equal to the value of your solution, then your prospects have to understand and accept it if they want to move forward.

Because, if the relationship starts off on unfair terms because one party isn’t getting what they fully deserve, it’s only going to hurt the relationship down the road.

Moreover, if your prospect doesn’t understand that you need that specific amount in order to give them exactly what they need, then ask yourself whether or not they are truly a good fit for you.

While you shouldn’t negotiate price, that doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible.

For example, let’s say that your price is $1,000, but the prospect says they can’t give more than $900.  Ask yourself if there is something of non-monetary value equal to $100 that you could ask for from them.  Perhaps they could give you a referral list or participate in a promotional video to make up for that lost $100.

Or, a more straightforward option is to set up a flexible payment plan.

You can be flexible with your terms to help give prospects a hand, but you shouldn’t ever drop your value.  Because, if you do, you’re only asking for a relationship built on resentment.

 

MISTAKE: Taking Things Too Seriously

 

As high as the stakes may be, the sales process is supposed to be fun!

That doesn't mean it isn't stressful at times, but it should be fun so that both you and the  prospects look forward to sales calls and meetings.

When you take things too seriously, you give off a negative energy that eventually infects prospects.

While you might not even realize it, you are unconsciously giving them a bad experience.

Again, sales can be stress-inducing, but that doesn't mean that you can't make light out of the process!

 

SOLUTION: Being Yourself

 

It's easier said than done.

And, you might be asking yourself... How can you be yourself in sales when sales is all about storytelling?

By being yourself, we mean taking the sale in a direction that feels natural to you.  Tell a story in a way that draws out your unique personality instead of covering it up.

When you are yourself, you are naturally more likable.  And, when you are more likable, you create a better energy that prospects pick up on.

In the end, they will feel like they can trust you more because of that positive energy.  And, as you already know, trust is the foundation of a successful sales relationship.

 

Final Thoughts on the Worst and Most Common Mistakes Made by B2B Salespeople

 

Learn from these mistakes before you even make them!

If you find that you are already making one or several of them, start by looking at your sales mindset.  Are you making things more complicated than they need to be? 

After assessing your mindset, move on to implementing a simple solution.

Remember, sales isn’t complicated!  If you think that it is, odds are you are making one of these fatal mistakes.