Football coaches often get frustrated when their team is stagnant on offense or defense. It’s like their players suddenly forgot all the strategies they worked on in practice all week. Don’t they remember all the time they spent evaluating game film, plays and different scenarios? Before they know it, the other team is running all over them.
If you’re a business owner, you might feel the same way about the performance of your sales team. Their sales tactics aren’t performing like they used to and they aren’t closing leads into new customers like they have in the past. No matter how much training, coaching or support you give them, results continue to diminish. Why? What’s causing this sales stagnation?
5 Causes of Sales Stagnation
There are five reasons this happens, each of which you must address to grow leads, increase sales and become more profitable.
1. Lack of Sales and Marketing Alignment
Your marketing strategy must adapt to buyer behavior. The most successful marketing departments are constantly employing new messaging, tactics and techniques to mirror their buyers. The most successful football teams do the same thing. When marketing and sales are not on the same page, the traditional salesperson can often get left behind and your buyer will be more confused than ever. This can regularly result in lost sales. Why? Because the buyer wants a simple message and streamlined experience.
2. Old-School Sales Behavior
If you have any sales people who were hired more than ten years ago, chances are they were trained in pre-Internet methodology. They are used to cold calling, attending networking events and tradeshows, and wondering why prospects are ignoring them or suddenly fall off the map. Just like a veteran football player who doesn’t adapt to today’s game, when salespeople employ tactics that don’t match what your prospects want to experience, sales will inevitably falter.
3. Increasingly Savvy Competition
You may have noticed your competition beginning to invest more and more resources into online marketing. They’re not just grasping at straws; they’re changing their approach to match new buyer behavior. Just like a football team has to adapt to the other team it’s playing on any given week, you must have a defined marketing and sales strategy in order to put yourself ahead of the competition. If you do it before your competitors, you’re the one with the advantage.
4. Decreasing Profit Margins
When sales begin to falter, cutting prices is a natural response. Unfortunately, this usually signifies the beginning of the end for your business. Price cuts take reinvestment dollars out of the company, which moves you into a defensive position instead of an offensive one. Many of the most successful companies are not the lowest cost provider (i.e. Starbucks, Apple, etc.). They understand that you cannot be a premium provider and the lowest cost provider at the same time.
5. Sales Leadership Stagnation
A quarterback may not be the only one responsible for a win, but his leadership is vital for team success. Similarly, the best salesperson in your company might be the sales manager, even though their primary responsibility is not to grow sales, but to grow salespeople. This requires an entirely different skill set. It’s marketing’s responsibility to connect with buyers; they don’t want salespeople hounding them. If the sales leadership is pushing outdated prospecting tactics to their team, this will only drive prospects further into the arms of your competition.
Reversing Sales Stagnation
Fortunately, you can reverse sales stagnation with inbound marketing. This new-school approach aligns marketing and sales, helps you stay ahead of the competition, increases profit margins and ensures leadership has the right mindset.
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