Chasing Sales Efficiency Won’t Make You More Effective
Generating reliable, top-of-funnel activity is notoriously difficult these days, not to mention expensive and time-consuming. After all, your outreach must be hyper-personalized, timely and add value to the potential buyer. We all agree on this – at least, in principle.
The reality tends to play out differently. Desperate to scale success and paint a picture of sales activity for stakeholders, some sales leaders fall into the trap of thinking more is better:
If 200 emails translate to seven meetings, then 800 emails will translate to 28 meetings, and 2000 emails will…
You see where this is going.
I’ve heard of small teams going as far as to send 225K emails over the course of a quarter.
How many new opportunities typically result from these whirlwinds of activity?
You guessed it – zero.
The Trap of Untargeted Outreach
Whenever I see leaders hyper-focused on making reps more efficient so they can conduct more outreach with less effort, I can’t help but ask, What’s helping them be more effective?
Don’t get me wrong – sales tech can be tremendously useful. It helps you automate and amplify, but there’s a hidden pitfall here: What if you’re amplifying the wrong behaviors?
Chasing efficiency over effectiveness has five primary consequences:
- Damages your company and personal brand: Buyers are bombarded with outreach and have no patience for sellers who get it wrong. A recent study by Lusha found that 49% of B2B sellers believe that poorly targeted outreach damages a company’s reputation.
- Annoys Prospects: Why should a prospect invest their time with you after you show them that you didn’t do the basic research to understand how you could add value to them?
- Impacts Sales Performance: The same Lusha study reported that 52% of sellers believe it leads to ongoing missed sales, and 37% think it leads to immediate loss of sales.
- Builds the Wrong Habits: It’s all too tempting to lean on tech and untargeted techniques to hit a desired number – but the actual power of sales tech lies in its ability to make sales more human.
- Damages Team Morale: When sellers focus the majority of their time and energies on activities that lead to lackluster sporadic results, they feel more like cogs in a machine than strategic professionals, and morale plummets.
How to Focus on Effectiveness
Research = Credibility
It all comes down to developing the behaviors that build relationships – and that starts with a credible perspective.
According to LinkedIn’s 2022 State of Sales Report, sales tech usage exploded during the pandemic, with 91% of sellers at large companies using sales tech at least once per week. However, top performers aren’t using it to send more emails. They’re leveraging sales tech to be more human, to form better relationships: 89% of top performers report that they do research “all the time” before reaching out to any potential buyer.
To deliver the right tailored messages at the right time, you have to put in the work and do the research. Tech solutions like LinkedIn’s Deep Sales and ZoomInfo, can help you identify potential buyers, gain a better understanding of likely buying committee makeup and get the timing right thanks to intent data.
Once you’ve identified the right prospects, digging deeper into their company’s financials will enable you to develop compelling messaging that simultaneously establishes your credibility. Spend 10-15 minutes on the company’s annual report with particular attention to:
- The CEO’s letter: It’s been wordsmithed again and again, but the priorities haven’t changed.
- Financial Statements and Supplementary Data: Are they growing or not growing? What are the trends?
- Risk Factors: They’ve done the hard work of assessing the threats to their business – better be informed.
Better Business Conversations
Here too, more isn’t always better. Gong.io discovered that asking too many questions actually decreases your win rate – and a clear link between longer prospect responses and sales success.
Our research supports this. Top-performing reps don’t interrogate the prospect, they get potential buyers talking with well-crafted open-ended questions, gain crucial insight with probing questions and test their understanding with rapport-building confirming questions.
Ultimately, sales will always be about human connection. B2B buyers will always seek out credible sales professionals who can provide them the one thing that AI cannot: confidence in their buying decision. By carefully balancing efficiency with effectiveness, you elevate yourself from “seller” to “strategic business advisor” and better meet buyers wherever they are in the process to forge long-term relationships that will fuel revenue growth in 2023 and beyond.
Need more advice on scaling your sales success? Check out some of our recent thought leadership content:
- The B2B Revenue Executive Experience Episode 262: Building a Revenue Culture That Scales with Elizabeth Patterson and Karan Singh
- Value-based Selling: The Approach that Builds Sales Results: In this special edition, we interview some of America’s leading sales experts, business leaders and industry analysts.
Until next time, happy selling,