Bob Dylan’s Top 7 Sales Development Mistakes To Avoid

bobdylanActually — these are 7 sales development mistakes we’ve made so far at RevBoss that loosely line up to the titles of Bob Dylan songs.

Why write a blog post about sales and Bob Dylan you ask?  Because I love Bob Dylan and I love selling.  =)

1. Rainy Day Prospect #12 & 35

Automated outbound sales prospecting works best when you have a sizable market to address.  If your market has 1000s of potential customers, the economics are more likely to be in your favor and you’ll have lots of runway to build and optimize a largely automated process.

If your market is small — as in the low 100s of potential — you’re best bet will be to take a very hands-on approach and address each prospect with an extremely personalized approach.  You can still do outbound sales of course, but you probably won’t get much benefit from a highly automated your process.

2. Tangled Up In Suppression

There are few things worse than to have Salesperson A ping someone that Salesperson B talked to last week.  Worse yet — Salesperson A pings someone that Salesperson B closed 3 months ago.  Obviously not a fatal wound, but it definitely makes your operation appear bush league.

There are a few ways to approach suppression, some of which we’ve addressed in a detailed blog post about sales development suppression.  I strongly suggest that you invest in a suppression process at the outset, otherwise you’ll almost certainly have to clean up a mess later on.

3. Ballad of a Sales Man

The worst sales messaging is about the sales person — either her products, her process, or her requirements.  The best sales development messaging is about the prospect’s problems and perspective.

Your goal should be to write prospect-centric messaging that puts his interests first.  You do this by being helpful, by surfacing a problem, or by providing real value.

4. I Threw It All Way

Once you’ve got a prospect engaged with your message and willing to take the next step, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to schedule the next conversation.

Emails that ask the prospects to volunteer times that “work for them” are one of my biggest pet peeves.  Worse yet is “great, I’ll follow up later with some times to talk.”

We coach our team to instead provide a menu of times from which the prospect can choose — it is more user-friendly and makes it easier for the prospect to say “yes”.

5. Most Likely You’ll Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine)

You’re going to get a lot more “no” than “yes” — so it is important to optimize your response to all of the “no”.  Preparing for “yes” is preparing to fail.

The best sales development reps are adept at finding an advance even if the prospect says “no” at first.  Even questions as simple as “Why?” or “Tell me more?” can often give you the opening to redirect the conversation.

Another classic is “Feel / Felt / Found” — “I feel what you’re saying, Customer XYZ felt the same way, but once she began working with us she found that …”

6. She Belongs To Me

Some of your efforts will work, some won’t.  Unless you closely track your process using a CRM like Salesforce or a sales development platform like RevBoss — or even a spreadsheet! — then you’re not going to understand what subject, what call-to-action, what prospect profile, etc. is moving the needle.

7. With God On Our Side

You can’t expect the sales gods to bless your efforts with certain success.  Prospecting is a grind — it requires constant attention and ongoing investment.  If you’re smart about your work and keep plugging away, you’re going to learn…and if you keep learning, you’re going to find success.

So there you go.  May you build a ladder to the stars and climb on every rung.  And may you staaaaay….forever above quota.

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I’m so happy we brought in RevBoss and their expertise in this area where we didn’t know what we didn’t know.
richardwhite Richard White, CEO, UserVoice
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