7 Common Sales Myths – Debunked

Have you heard that sales training fixes everything, or salespeople are money hungry? Well, how would you react if you found out those statements were untrue? Here are 7 of the most common sales myths – debunked.

Sales Myth: Sales Training Will Fix Everything

Companies spend well over $70 billion annually on training and an average of $1,459 per salesperson — almost 20 percent more than they spend on teams in all other functions. However, that money often goes to waste. According to Harvard Business Review, “participants in traditional curriculum-based training forget more than 80 percent of the information they were taught within 90 days.”

Sales training is great at creating a common language and approach for your sales team, but if it’s not specific, clear, interactive, and reinforced by the sales leader, it will not help anyone. Habits do not change overnight. The first few times people try to apply the training or new skills they learned, it will probably feel uncomfortable. That’s normal. The danger here is that if you do not reinforce what you want, they will quickly go back to what is comfortable, and your training dollars are wasted.

Sales Myth: The 80/20 Rule 

The 80/20 rule is the idea that 80% of your revenue comes from the top 20% of your clients. Not totally true. It can be as much as 95/5 or 60/40. The more diversified your customers, the safer you are in the event that you lose a big client. 

What you can take away from the 80/20 myth is what you should be tracking and how best to grow. Identify your best customers. Who made recent purchases? Who are your frequent buyers? Discover what trends you are seeing and use that customer data to help you find and attract new audiences. For example, where are your customers located geographically? You may notice that certain locations, cities, or regions are more lucrative than the rest of the market. You can use that to expand into similar areas.

Sales Myth: Salespeople Are Coin Operated

When you need your sales team to deliver more sales quickly, financial incentives may seem like an obvious solution. Unfortunately, assuming that salespeople are “coin-operated” rarely drives consistent sales performance. According to Vantage Circle, “About 85% of professionals prefer a simple “thank you,” as recognition for their day-to-day work.”

Salespeople need to make a minimum threshold for compensation, but it may not be the main driver of motivation. According to The Culture Works, “Only 17% of salespeople ranked money in their top motivators.”

Our experience working with hundreds of teams has shown that strong, influential leaders who understand the complexities of human behavior and motivation, drive the most effective results. These effective leaders take a thoughtful, defined approach to coaching and planning, understand their role in the process, and embrace positive input power.

Sales Myth: 3x Sales Pipeline

Sales teams with 3x in their Pipeline (in terms of $ value) or 3x of quota target/sales bookings will cause them to hit their goal. Not true. The required number of opportunities in your pipeline varies from company to company. No two businesses are the same, and neither are all sales pipelines.

Many factors influence your sales pipeline. Like how many stages your sales processes has and what stage your opportunities are in, who is a qualified lead and who isn’t, and what product or service your clients plan to purchase.

By looking at historical conversion rates, sales organizations can gain a clearer picture of what their true sales pipeline-to-quota ratio is.

Also, keep in mind that every salesperson has an influence on the pipeline. Some salespeople need to have more opportunities, some need to be better at closing, and some need to get bigger deals or accounts. These all fall under The Big Three.

Sales Myth: Contact a Prospect 3 Times Before Giving Up

Business development should contact a prospect three times before giving up. Wrong. Prospecting is so different today because of the way people communicate before even picking a phone up. You can look at someone on LinkedIn or Facebook and find out their background or something else that you can personalize and reach out. According to Trust Pilot, “Your online conversion rate can improve by roughly 8% when you include personalized consumer experiences.”

Do not stick to only three interactions. Stay in touch with your contacts, even if it’s only once a year. To keep the door open, reach out, let them know that you are available. If they still aren’t engaging after five attempts, reduce the frequency and don’t overwhelm their inbox. Persistence has its rewards. Again, always ensure that the email is personalized as much as possible.

Sales Myth: You Just Need Good Salespeople

You need to hire good salespeople. Not true. You can have a good salesperson, but they could’ve had poor onboarding or maybe they are in the wrong role

You could have a salesperson who thrives at building relationships and growing accounts. They consider their customers’ needs and desires and want to make sure they are constantly being nurtured. But you are asking them to chase new customers and get their attention. So that salesperson could be struggling in the role you assigned them.

So, it would be best to interview for a specific salesperson role and match the unique skills significant to that role. Then further develop the skills they will need to learn and grow to be successful.

Sales Myth: A CRM Will Fix It All

A CRM system will improve your business and aid in bringing more revenue. Not necessarily true. Yes, a CRM helps companies stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability. 

But just because you have one does not mean your team will know how to use it or under-utilize it. According to Expert Market, “Statistics tell us that almost half (43%) of CRM users take advantage of less than half of the features their software has to offer.” 

You will need to clarify exactly what you want your team to enter into your CRM and the cadence of updating it. You may have to help your team create new habits and reinforce them regularly. Inspect what you expect. Many sales leaders don’t do this, and this is a key point to having the CRM be a useful tool and producing a decent ROI.

In The End

It is common for people to have misconceptions about any industry or field they haven’t directly experienced, and sales is no exception. Understanding these seven sales myths will help you uncover areas of improvement.

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