Why are over 50% of Sales Reps Missing quota? A Different Take

Written by Rockannand on October 31, 2010 – 6:35 pm -

Recently Chad Levitt (of the New Sales  Economy Blog ) reacted to a data point from Trish Bertuzzi’s recently published  2010 Inside Sales Research Report.

“Why are over 50% of sales reps missing quota?” The discussion points in both Chad and Trish’s blog have been a good read.  Check them out.

Just Another Yellow Taxi in NYC

So what do I think? I have a different take on why sales reps are missing the mark. I asked the question: has it occurred to the B2B industry that there may be too may sellers of solutions and too few buyers for the business problems they are trying to solve? In the world of B2B software, it is my view that we have far too many tools all trying to solve the same or similar problem. In the CRM, Marketing Automation/Email Marketing world alone we must have hundreds of offerings.  Buyers see all the options and the common complaint I hear is “they all look the same to me”.  Or as my old software partner in crime, Dave Simbari used to say, “just another yellow taxi in New York”.

Remember, nobody really cares about your product. Buyers care about solving their problem. They want to know if you understand their problem and have a convincing story about your ability to solve it.

How Do You Stand out From the Pack?

The vast majority of B2B sales and marketing folks I interact with all fail the David Packard (of HP fame) 60 second test of being able to answer these 4 questions in a clear, concise, compelling and consistent (the 4 C’s) manner:

  • Who are you?  (core competency, market  positioning)
  • What do you do? (market problem you solve/value you deliver to target audience)
  • What makes you different from competitive offerings?
  • Who like me have you worked with before?  (relevant case studies)

Every buyer listens and/or evaluates a prospective seller with these questions in mind. If they don’t get the answers in that first couple of encounters, they move onto the next option. With so many solutions/sellers to choose from, they won’t even read that slick white paper and opt-in for your content if you fail at step one.

Tell A Convincing Story; No Gobbledygook

In my experience, the best reps always figure out how to draft a compelling story that answers the 4 questions. That’s how they establish and build the relationship. They know that the best story usually ends up winning, not the best product. The problem is the rest of the sales team. They tend to fall back on the product. Why? Because marketing has failed to build a story that captures buyers’ attention … one with no “gobbledygook”, (see DM Scott’s seminal piece, The Gobbledygook Manifesto).

I am convinced that when we tell bad stories or ones with lots of “next generation” techno-babble, that we actually confuse prospective buyers. We make it hard for our target audience to buy from us. Don’t be that yellow taxi. Focus on arming your sales force with stories that stand out from the seas of gray.

Posted in B2B Marketing, Marketing & Sales Alignment | 2 Comments »