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6 Dangerous Sales Call Assumptions That Hurt Your Business

Jessica Taggart

We’ve heard some pretty out there theories when it comes to how you should, or shouldn’t, go about making sales calls.

However, these 6 below are by far the most potentially harmful to your business. So please, when you sit down to do one final review of your sales call strategy for Q3, keep these sales call don’ts in mind.

 

Sales Call Reps Need to be ¨Close¨ or In-House

 

One of the biggest fallacies about sales calls is the idea that you gain more sales insights by having your sales call agents "next to you."

It’s not about proximity, it's about data intelligence.

Sure, 10-15 years ago, it was critical to have your sales call agents working right alongside you. Why? Because the only call data you had available came from overhearing their calls and asking your agents for insights.

Today, intelligent AI sales software like VOIQ listens to every call, analyzes 100+ data points and provides critical call insights to your VOIQ campaign manager, whose sole purpose is to build a winning sales call funnel. This happens whether the call agent is sitting next to you, or 1,000 miles away.

Without intelligent software and sales reps dedicated solely to prospecting (which we will get into in a minute) your process will fail. Even if you have an expert leading your sales call efforts, a critical piece of the puzzle, you won't have the data, dedication nor the ability to scale to succeed.

We built VOIQ after suffering to set up successful, predictable sales call channels in the past: agents who weren't adept at call prospecting, manual excel sheets with a list of phone records, and 0 intelligence built-in to the process. Data intelligence gives you an unparalleled advantage to streamline and scale your sales efforts. Don’t be the only one not taking advantage of it.

 

Great Sales Calls Are About Hiring a Great Sales Call Rep

 

I touch upon the ¨Rockstar Sales Call Rep¨ myth in this post with an analogy of what it takes to win Nascar.

In the 50's, a Nascar racing team was comprised of one driver in a souped-up car on a dirt track.

In the Nascar of today, the driver is just one member of a 14-person expert team equipped with the latest technology, gathering thousands of data points to ensure their team wins the race.

Most sales leaders believe they have what it takes to win Nascar by dropping off their lone driver in the equivalent of a souped-up Honda.

The result is predictable: last place.

What’s worse, instead of analyzing what went wrong and optimizing for future races, they decide it’s better to just give up altogether:

"We tried the sales call channel and only got 2 scheduled demos, so we decided sales calls are not a viable channel for our business."

- Head of Sales addressing the CEO

Don’t get us wrong, a great SDR is an asset to any team. But unequipped with the technology and data necessary, plus a structured calling process, will just be setting them up for failure and frustration.

 

I’ll Hire an Intern to Make Sales Calls

 

If a good SDR won't cut it, an intern most certainly will not.

It’s a disservice to your company to put someone as the first voice of your brand with zero calling experience, no structured process, and no understanding of how the sales call channel should be run.

Similarly, you’ll run into the same issue of zero intel and analytics to evaluate your message, your cadence, your lead list integrity, your product-market fit, call trends, and 100+ different data points.

The B2B sales call channel is complex, especially with an ACV above $5K. To build the right framework from the get-go requires expertise, and a lot of data collection and learning to get it just right.

It’s the equivalent of asking a business intern to build your native iOS app.

The call channel is way more complex than placing a person in front of a spreadsheet with leads and one empty extra column called “outcome”.

Call agents are not data scientists, call script experts, trainers, sales experts nor marketing experts - which is what it takes to do it right.

Today a sales call process is competitive, optimized and successful ONLY if it’s:

1) powered by an intelligent sales software

AND

2) managed by a dedicated campaign expert interpreting these insights, calibrating the call agents and the quality of the leads.

 

“We tried, but Sales Calls Just Don’t Bring ROI”

 

If your Head of Sales, or you, as a CEO, arrive to this conclusion, you really need to question the process that led to it.

Did you:

Try making calls yourself?

Place an intern to make calls?

Hire an entry level Sales Rep to make calls?

Hire an expert Sales Rep to make calls?

Outsource the job to a call center?

Because all of the above are the most common ways to fail, and the best way to decide that the the call channel does not work for you.

Did you arrive at the same conclusion for email? No. Because it would sound crazy to rule out an entire primary sales channel. It’s commonly accepted that if email doesn’t work for your business, it’s not email, It’s YOU. You have not yet figured out how to make the email channel work.

All successful email marketing leaders go through these basic actions before finding some minimum measure of success for the email channel:

  1. Test multiple lead source providers
  2. Work on continuously improving the quality of sourced leads
  3. Build email campaigns for different targets
  4. Launch tens of campaigns for months at a time
  5. Use an automation software (drip campaigns, etc).
  6. Leverage email tracking and analytics software
  7. Hire an expert to help you interpret your analytics and create an action plan
  8. Create continuity through segmentation based on results (sub-campaigns)
  9. Build discipline to have the channel always-running and optimizing conversion

What makes you think that the same process would not apply to the call channel?

To relate this back to a situation most everyone can relate to: weight loss. Weight loss isn’t easy - what works for one person will not necessarily work for the next. There are so many ways to do it, and so many factors that can speed up or inhibit the process.

So many people try, and when they don’t see results, give up. How often have you heard this: ¨I tried working out, but I never ended up losing any weight - it didn’t work for me.¨ Now I’m no personal trainer, but some questions that come to my mind are these:

What kind of exercise did you do?

For how long? And how often?

Did you measure your results?

Did you measure your nutrition and food intake?

Did you hire a trainer?

Did you go to a nutritionist? A doctor?

It can be tough and frustrating when you devote time, energy and money to something, and don’t see immediate results, or the immediate results you want. And throwing in the towel gives you precisely 0% chance of success.

So often in life, as in sales, it’s not about the end result - it’s about the learnings you capture along the way that get you where you want to go. When you truly master the sales call channel, you will have a bounty of data at your fingertips (more than email) to help you better understand your target customer, their needs, and how/if your product will fulfill them.

The call channel is not something you master overnight - but once you do, you’ll be able to capture unparalleled data, rich customer insights and a stream of new leads that supercharge your pipeline.

 

The Same Skill Set is Needed to Prospect and to Close

 

If you’ve ever had to hit the phones to call cold leads, demo your product to warm leads and close prospects, you should hopefully hear how ludicrous this statement sounds.

Prospecting requires not only diligence, patience, and strength in the face of rejection, but a keen ability to capture someone’s interest in a matter of seconds and engage them enough to want to hear more about their offering. This alone, is challenging, but coupled with the fact that today’s buyers are too savvy for any standard sales-y pitch, Sales Reps have to get really creative to find new ways to stand out to their leads.

Closing - or rather all the stages from demo to contract - require a slightly different attitude or approach, and a very different set of skills. When you jump on a demo with a lead, you need to be assertive, direct and extremely educated on your product/service. It’s not just about getting your leads’ attention now, it’s about holding it, with in-depth knowledge on how your solution can improve their business.

Segmentation is key to honing the specific skill set that Sales Reps and Account Executives need in order to thrive, and for you to see an uptick in your pipeline.

At VOIQ, this is why all our Sales Reps have 5+ years of sales calling experience, and are expertly recruited and trained to prospect.

 

AEs need to learn to prospect to be good, well-rounded salespeople

 

This is typically the statement that follows ¨the same skill set is needed to prospect and close.¨ Account Executives do NOT need to learn how to prospect to be good, well-rounded salespeople.

In fact, forcing them to pound the phones and fill prospecting quotas, especially without an intelligent or data-driven system, will likely kill their motivation to sell your product/service.

As I mentioned above, prospecting is a unique skill set and thus job of its own. Really good SDRs have a natural resistance to high volumes of rejection, and well-trained ones understand that rejection isn’t the only determining factor at play. That’s a story for a whole separate post.

Great prospectors know how to use 30 seconds of someone’s time to capture their attention, and understand just how crucial the first 10 are. They may not have the in-depth knowledge of every nook and cranny of the product or service they are selling - and it doesn’t matter. Because they know how to wedge open a closed door, and that’s exactly what they need to do.

Account Executives are, and should be, honed in to understanding every client’s individual background and needs, to develop a tailored explanation of the product/service that will delight. This requires extensive product knowledge.

Account Executives also need to develop strong relationships with their leads. They need to understand where their leads are in the buying cycle, and nurture those relationships accordingly.

This part of the buying cycle - middle to bottom of the funnel, requires time, patience, and individual attention. Not only will you exhaust your AEs if you expect them to hit the phones to prospect, but they'll loose focus and get sloppy getting those MOFU and BOFU leads to the finish line.

 

We'll keep adding to this post, as this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wild misconceptions about sales calls. For now, make sure you keep these 6 in mind when working to get your sales call channel just right!

 

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