In the B2B sales world, we all know how frustrating it is to lose deals. Creating proposals and sales pitches is time-consuming and labour intensive, and prospects which sound interested at first often lose interest shortly afterwards.
While the specifics vary from industry to industry, B2B salespeople generally cite very similar reasons for not winning business and closing deals.
In this article, we’re going to look at some of the key problems through the lens of data and learn more about how it can help to mitigate some of these problems.
Ten Common Reasons B2B Salespeople Lose Deals
Although this piece is from 2013, it discusses issues that are still relevant in today’s B2B sales environment. In the article, the author summarises the ten most common obstacles and challenges that prevent salespeople from closing deals. Although the responses were collected from professionals working in a wide range of environments, from small start-ups to billion-dollar industries, their responses were surprisingly similar.
Here are the top ten challenges (from most to least important):
1. No decision: Customers are never sure that they are buying the right product and often don’t end up making the purchase.
2. Stalled sales cycles: The initial excitement is lost somewhere in the sales cycle, and key decision-makers lose interest or get sidetracked by other projects.
3. Inability to penetrate new accounts: Not enough leads being generated by marketing and the difficulty of securing an introductory meeting with a new prospect.
4. Product commoditisation: All products are becoming more and more similar, meaning that it is hard to differentiate from competitors.
5. Price vs value: In the customer’s eyes, the perceived value of the benefits of the product or service does not justify the price (or a competitor offers a lower price).
6. 800-pound gorilla: Smaller companies find it almost impossible to compete with big-name giants like Apple or Nike.
7. ‘Nice-to-have’ product: Times are tough, and companies are only buying products that are absolutely necessary.
8. Internal sale: Selling the deal internally can often be a hard slog that involves long, drawn-out processes and slows the momentum of the deal.
9. ‘Administrivia’: Valuable time is wasted by the need to update CRM systems and fill out lengthy reports, leaving salespeople with less time out in the field.
10. Pre-sales resources: Organisations do not have adequate pre-sales engineering resources and product specialists to support the sales team.
How Data Can Help
Now that we’re aware of the same recurrent problems, it’s time to break the cycle.
Access to highly accurate data can solve many of these problems and dramatically increase the likelihood of closing deals. Let’s take a look at a few of the challenges from the list and how Red Flag Alert’s data and b2b prospecting tool can help:
No decision and stalled sales cycles
Stalled sales cycles and prospects who fail to make a decision are often the result of a misalignment between your product/service and what the client needs. Salespeople spend their time targeting businesses which aren’t receptive to the product or service, exposing them to drawn-out sales cycles and wasting time they could be spending on better prospects.
Red Flag Alert allows salespeople to target the right businesses at the right time by using market segmentation to zero in on a specific audience.
For example, if you’re selling computers for offices and you usually target all businesses within a 50-mile radius, you could set up a segment of prospects that have just moved to new premises. These companies are much more likely to have very specific needs and you can tailor your proposal accordingly, perhaps highlighting how your products come with free same-day installation and are 20% more energy efficient than their competitors. You could even brand it the ‘New Office Set-up Deal’ – business intelligence provides this real-time data, helping you find red hot prospects.
Inability to penetrate key accounts
A key issue that salespeople face when attempting to penetrate key accounts is not being able to find the right person to speak to within the company. Often, CRM data is out of date and doesn’t provide the latest details for the relevant person or lists people who no longer work there, leaving you with dead leads.
That’s where we come in – Red Flag Alert’s data has 100,000 updates every day and includes contact details for 20 million key decision-makers across the UK.
This helps you identify and contact the right people directly; it also provides real-time information on when new decision-makers join the business – the ideal time to make an approach.
It can be daunting for small companies and start-ups to compete with large established companies for valuable accounts. The big names often close deals due to their reputation alone, even though you may be able to provide a service that is a better fit for the client’s needs.
Having access to detailed, up-to-date information about a company enables you to create a highly specific sales pitch that is aimed at their exact needs.
Bigger companies are unlikely to be able to focus their sales pitches so precisely because they have such large sales pipelines, so having detailed information about issues the company is currently facing can often win you the deal.
For example, Red Flag Alert’s data provides detailed information on hundreds of data points; this insight helps you pinpoint specific pain points and clearly demonstrate how your solution solves them. For example, citing decreasing profit margins or declining financial health can make a sales presentation more pointed.
In the article, salespeople frequently reported their frustrations with having to carry out laborious administrative tasks that took up time that could be better used working on sales pitches or calling new prospects. One of the main offenders was manually updating CRM systems – a less than thrilling task that is subject to human error and incorrect information.
Red Flag Alert provides a solution by providing an option to plug your CRM into its dataset via an API. The data updates in real time, putting an end to manual data entry and providing accurate, up-to-date information.