Did you know that 44 percent of salespeople give up on pursuing a deal after hearing a single “no”? A recent Salesforce report also reveals that 72 percent of sales professionals don’t expect to meet their annual targets.
Sales targets are critical for businesses to grow and thrive. If your sales team’s objectives and approach aren’t in sync, they may perceive these sales targets as intimidating and unattainable. This negative outlook can set them up for failure from day one of any new sales initiatives.
As an experienced sales manager, it’s crucial to bear in mind that a variety of elements contribute to the success of your sales journey. These factors include product knowledge, customer understanding, market trends and adaptability, to name a few. Having the right mindset also plays a pivotal role in determining sales outcomes, however.
In this article, we’ll explore five common beliefs that prevent sales teams from achieving their targets and provide practical strategies to overcome them. Overcoming these limiting beliefs allows sales teams to unlock their full potential and drive success for their business.
5 Beliefs That Prevent Sales Teams From Hitting Targets
- Sales is just a numbers game.
- Selling is pushy and dishonest.
- It’s too difficult to sell in this market.
- Sales is a solo effort.
- We don’t need to adapt our sales approach.
1. “Sales Is Just a Numbers Game”
Many sales professionals tend to incorrectly believe that the key to success lies in cranking out endless phone calls, blasting out more emails, and finding a way to seal the deal no matter the cost.
That approach can lead to unfavorable outcomes including burnout, subpar leads, and an absence of genuine connections with your prospects.
The right approach involves looking at sales as a matter of cultivating quality over quantity. Focusing your sales efforts on nurturing relationships with your customers, instead of just pursuing their immediate purchase, can significantly improve sales results.
Here are some tips for breaking out of the numbers game mindset and targeting your efforts to build real relationships.
Correct your misconception
Although reaching out to a large number of prospects can increase your chances of making a sale, it can also waste time and resources on unqualified leads. Pushing for a sale without considering a customer’s unique needs and challenges can lead to dissatisfied customers and damage your brand’s reputation.
Shift your focus to targeted efforts
Start by identifying your ideal customer profile and focusing your efforts on reaching out to prospects who match it. This will help you target your messaging and better meet your audience’s needs. Research your prospects to understand their pain points, industry challenges, and other factors that influence their purchasing decisions.
Build meaningful relationships
Instead of simply pushing for a sale, focus on building rapport and establishing yourself as a trusted advisor. This approach can involve providing helpful resources, answering questions, and actively listening to customer needs.
By fostering these meaningful relationships, your team can devise personalized strategies that resonate with customers. The outcome? Enhanced customer loyalty, a high-performing sales team, and maximized revenue growth — a testament to your effective sales management.
2. “Selling Is Pushy and Dishonest”
Sales is often misinterpreted as a pushy and dishonest profession that involves manipulating people into buying products or services they don't need.
This belief is harmful to sales success. It can create a self-fulfilling prophecy where salespeople limit their career paths by avoiding outreach, failing to close deals, and unintentionally reinforcing negative stereotypes such as that salespeople are primarily self-interested, prioritize their quotas over customer needs, or are generally untrustworthy.
Here are some pointers for and shifting your perspective.
Reframe your mindset
Selling is not about tricking people into buying something they don’t need or want. It’s about identifying customer needs, providing solutions, and creating value. Think of sales as a chance to be a problem-solver for your customers. Imagine yourself as a trusted consultant rather than a salesperson out to make a quick buck.
Harness the power of social proof
People love to hear about the positive impact your offer has had on others. It’s like a stamp of approval that reassures them they’re making the right choice. Try to incorporate social proof into your messaging and outreach to show your customers you are capable of providing significant value.
Employ active listening and education
Instead of relentlessly chasing a sale, shift your focus to empowering customers using your own knowledge. This approach not only reveals the degree to which your insights are valued but also signifies your investment in understanding and addressing the customer’s specific challenges. By teaching your customers about solving the issues they face, you demonstrate a commitment that extends beyond merely securing a sale.
3. “It’s Too Difficult to Sell in This Market”
This defeatist belief limits creativity and innovation and can undermine your sales goals. You may then miss out on great opportunities for growth and success.
Here are some tips for identifying opportunities in any market.
Defeat the negative belief
The first step to overcoming this belief is to recognize that it is self-limiting. Although certain market conditions may be challenging, they also provide opportunities for growth and innovation. Rather than giving up, look for creative solutions and approaches to help you thrive in any market. For instance, if the market is crowded, consider a blue ocean strategy — find and dominate an untapped niche. If budget constraints limit traditional advertising, leverage the power of social media or content marketing to reach out to potential customers.
Uncover and seize hidden opportunities
To identify opportunities in any market, immerse yourself in emerging trends. This means keeping a finger on the pulse of your industry, staying curious and paying close attention to customer feedback. Don’t wait for new opportunities to come knocking. Instead, be proactive and seek out the unmet needs in the market yourself. For instance, if customers express dissatisfaction with a common feature in your industry’s products, there’s an opportunity to innovate and meet that unmet need. Actively seek customer feedback and stay abreast of industry developments to identify such gaps yourself.
Adapt to changing market conditions
This includes shifting your focus to meet the changing customer preferences by adjusting your messaging or marketing strategy, by being agile and responsive to stay ahead of the curve, and by embracing technology. Tools like data analytics can offer valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences. CRM tools like Salesforce or HubSpot can improve customer relationship management, helping you provide a personalized experience. Sales enablement platforms such as Wingmate can streamline sales processes and enhance productivity. Understanding and integrating these technologies can help your sales team meet — and surpass — targets.
4. “Sales Is a Solo Effort”
Sales is not just about individuals and their standout sales performances but also about collaboration and support. Although individual performance is essential, collaboration and teamwork are also vital to sales success.
Here’s how you can build a strong sales team:
Unleash the power of teamwork
The secret to building a strong team isn’t rocket science. Something as simple as fostering a culture of collaboration and mutual support, where team members are comfortable relying on each other’s strengths, can have a huge impact.
Acquire and retain top talent
When building your team, focus on finding candidates who not only have the right skills and experience but also share similar values to your company culture. Try to create positive opportunities for learning and growth through training, mentorship and other professional development programs.
Increase feedback frequency
Building a culture of teamwork begins with regular check-ins and feedback sessions that help your team members stay on track collectively. Encourage an environment where feedback is incorporated into day-to-day work. Implement systems like weekly one-on-ones or 360-degree feedback tools. Such a setting ensures everyone is aware of their performance, contributing to a continuous improvement cycle.
5. “We Don’t Need to Adapt Our Sales Approach”
Some salespeople believe that their sales approach is already effective and that they don’t need to adapt to changing market conditions or customer needs. Markets and customer preferences are constantly changing, however, and successful salespeople need to meet these shifts to remain competitive.
Here are some pointers for fostering a successful sales mindset:
Integrate a growth mindset
As salespeople, we have to shift our perspective and understand the importance of constant growth and learning. A growth mindset opens us up to endless new possibilities, which can pave the way for more profits in the long run. For example, instead of viewing a downturn in the market as a setback, see it as an opportunity to identify new customer needs and provide unique solutions.
Stay open to new ideas
In sales, staying receptive to fresh ideas, innovative techniques, and new and improved strategies is a must. For instance, the shift to virtual sales during the Covid-19 pandemic was a significant adjustment many salespeople had to make. Those open to learning and mastering this new way of selling saw greater success.
Experiment with different approaches
This can involve trying new sales techniques, exploring other communication channels, and testing different messaging and value propositions. For example, if your email campaigns aren’t delivering, consider a more personalized approach. Alternatively, you could explore other channels. LinkedIn, for example, has evolved into a powerful platform for B2B sales, offering various ways to engage potential customers directly. Experimenting with different methods could attract your prospects’ attention and elevate your engagement levels.
Overcoming Limiting Beliefs Is a Path to Success
Now that you’ve equipped yourself with the right knowledge, the next step is to transform your thoughts into action. Start implementing these strategies and challenge yourself by seeking new opportunities for growth.
A great way to kick this off is by broadening your network and attending industry sales events. Take the time to understand the evolving customer and industry needs. Remember, the path to success begins with taking action.