Five Prospecting Errors That Kill Deals

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Meagan Lawhon Sales, SaaS, Tech...

Could these mistakes be undermining your SaaS prospecting efforts?

Successful software sales rep are hardwired to close opportunity – from identifying customer pain points to deftly managing price negotiations, the art of converting potential into revenue is the bread and butter of top-achieving sales professionals in all areas of the tech market.

Building that pipeline of opportunity, however, is a different ball game.

To close deals, you need deals to close – and creating the initial traction needed to get dialogue open can be a sticking point for reps trying to load up their sales funnels – especially those on the front lines of new customer acquisition.  

Whether via email, social media, in-person networking or route one cold-calling – here are 5 prospecting blunders that keep valuable conversations from getting off the ground.

  1. Clickbait subject lines

Getting busy prospects to engage with cold emails is a tough challenge, and innovative reps are often willing to try anything which generates the all-important open.

However, there can be a price to pay on an emotional level if a prospect opens an email and immediately feels that they’ve been tricked or misled by what it contains.

The below are just a handful of examples of common cold email titles that immediately arouse suspicion in the recipient:

“Just for you…”

[An offer for all email blast recipients – not just for me, at all…]

“Re:”

[Regarding… a conversation we’ve never had?]

“The real reason you’re stressed out at work”

[What if I’m not…?]

As the sales rep, a bait-and-switch email subject line can be counter productive.

You may have found right person, have a product of real value and have persuaded your recipient to open your email… but if your prospect’s immediate reaction is one of frustration then the opportunity dies right there.

While it’s tempting to ‘get creative’ to drive open rates, integrity has long-term value – if your prospect loses trust upon opening your email, why would they believe the rest of its contents or your wider value proposition?

  1. Telling your prospect what their problems are

“As marketing director, you’re well aware of the time drains X and Y can cause. You’re running from meeting to meeting, scrambling to keep pace with ABC…”

Effective sales is about learning to understand your prospect’s pain points and working with them to find a solution.

Here’s the thing – you don’t get to choose those pain points.

You might have a very strong suspicion of what they are - and guide the conversation in that direction - but if you’re attempting to build a reciprocal dialogue with a customer then it’s important not to make sweeping assumptions.

Why?

Prospecting engagement is about encouraging someone to come and talk to you – the quality of your conversation and your ability to offer a solution will determine whether that discussion evolves into a sale.

If you present yourself as a mind-reader who has it all figured out, you create the opposite dynamic.

How can your prospect expect you to listen and learn in follow-up conversations if you start the relationship telling them about their life without even speaking to them?

  1. Information overload

Whether via email or in a call, blasting someone with every possible feature of your solution is typically more overwhelming than it is helpful.

When unsure of exactly what a customer’s problem may be, it can be tempting for sales reps to load their email and demo pitches with every major product benefit to make sure they cover all angles, backed up with links to case studies and online resources.

Instead of impressing the customer, this can cause them to lose focus in a mire of information.

To better balance your initial approach, hint at what your product can do (a tight elevator pitch is key here!), then open the conversation up with some questions to probe for pain points and opportunity.

There’s a reason terms like “lead nurturing” exist – prospecting involves the gradual cultivation of initial interest into targeted and detailed discussions around solutions to certified customer issues. 

  1. Being too laid back

Sales reps with high emotional intelligence are permanently aware of the risk of pressuring a prospect too hard – excessive zeal to move the process along can drive potentially interested customers away.

However, the reverse is also true. Some reps are so cautious to avoid hustling their prospects that their easy-going attitude can come across as indifference.

While not pestering a prospect is crucial, it’s also important to establish a clear dynamic – customers need to feel that you truly believe that your solution will help them.

If you don’t care whether or not they buy your product, why should they?

Without that core belief as a foundation for the dialogue, there will be no pace and no energy in the process, and it may well die out.

  1. Not making the case for ROI

There’s often a perception that early prospecting engagements are no place to be talking about ROI – that’s a level of detail for when you’re further down the discussion path, right?

Wrong.

People need to understand from day one how your solution will help the bottom line – at least at a high level.

Sure, they don’t need a complex mathematical breakdown, but entirely ignoring how your solution will pay for itself in productivity, revenue-generation or cost-saving benefits immediately positions it as a nice-to-have add-on.

That’s a tough category to be in – you’ll need a prospect with surplus budget to even consider checking out your product.

Keep in mind, when prospecting within large corporations you’re very rarely talking to the ultimate decision-maker straight away, so helping your initial contact feel confident that they can ultimately make a sound business case to get sign-off for your solution gives them the confidence that it’s worth exploring the offering in full.

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