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5 Things That Break When Sales Quantity Overtakes Quality

By: Teresa Weirich

June 13, 2018

If sending a single prospecting email or a repeating a series of call touchpoints to an ideal customer can eventually lead to closing a mega-enterprise deal, then pounding out emails and hammering more calls will always equal more closed deals, right?

Wrong.

Unfortunately, a similar “quantity reigns supreme” mentality has overtaken many sales organizations. In today’s tech-driven era, individuals receive more inbound sales requests than ever before. According to Salesforce.com, prospects receive between 20 and 100 similar emails per day! With all of that noise, adding another cold email or another hastily made phone call doesn’t serve to help anyone succeed—in fact, it can do just the opposite.

While in the end, sales is a numbers game, the quality doesn’t have to take a hit just because quotas are high. The alternative of taking a slower, more methodical and solution-oriented approach can pay dividends in the long run and, ultimately, will help the customer receive a much better solution.

The Negative Effects of Prioritizing Quantity Over Quality In the Sales Process

Discovery is Either Rushed or Minimized

Arguably the most important stage of the sales process is the discovery portion in which the prospective client divulges anything and everything in order to help the sales professional best understand the situation. From discussing in-depth challenges to opportunities to long-term goals as well as other factors, such as internal stakeholders, previously failed projects, potential objections, and budget, the discovery process—when done right—lays the groundwork for the entire sales process.

An effective enterprise discovery process can require several calls, in-person meetings, and even a solutioning presentation. All in all, it can take days or even weeks to complete, which is often an unpopular timeline for both sales professionals and leaders alike who aim to progress deals as quickly as possible while not completely abandoning outbound prospecting or other activities. By not spending adequate time in the discovery process, sales professionals can ultimately sabotage the deal down the road when the issues not covered early on present themselves in critical stages, such as proposal and negotiations.

Demos Are Feature-Focused and Pushed Aggressively

Another problem with choosing quantity over quality presents itself during the demo stage of a sales cycle. If a sales professional is rushed to make more calls, to send more emails, or to otherwise be “busy”, they often sacrifice a quality demo.

In the tech world, getting to the demo stage is a major milestone. The prospect has enough interest in the product or solution that he or she is willing to dedicate time to see the platform in action and to, hopefully, envision how it can help their organization specifically. While a cut, copy, and paste demo might save a significant amount of time on the front end, it’s of zero help to anyone. When using this quantity-of-demos approach, the prospect has to use their imagination to identify ways they could use the solution to meet their goals, they have to repeatedly ask questions throughout, and they have to raise objections (or keep silent about them) if not addressed in the presentation.

A select few sales professionals may be able to adjust presentations on-the-fly in order to use the demo as a discovery and demo combination. Doing this with ease and confidence requires skills that can prove successful, but that’s usually not the case. With this method, careful messaging and a methodical approach are often lost as the script can quickly de-rail, making it especially hard for sales leaders to gain proper visibility into what actually transpired during the demo.

Visibility Into Deals Is Lost and Sales Leaders Can’t Coach Effectively

Speaking of proper visibility, sales leaders need to be able to see key insights about the conversations their team members are having in real-time. It’s tempting for many leaders to adopt a deal mechanics approach, which is the “black and white” aspect of the sales process where data points are typically recorded in a CRM, and try to coach retrospectively. But add onto that approach the hundreds of calls or emails each sales professional is urged to send in a week-long period, and mining for valuable data is pointless. The sales leader must wait until the end of month or end of the quarter or, in limited cases, a 1:1 with the sales professional, until the data finally becomes available and therefore actionable.

If sales professionals sacrifice quality in favor of constant smiling and dialing or blindly sending emails, they have little substance that they can use during coaching sessions. And the substance they do have? It’s outdated and no longer valid.

Per Deal Value and Likeliness to Close Are Significantly Lower

This next point is a simple downstream effect. Clearly, if the discovery process is shortened, the demo is rushed, and the sales leader can’t properly coach the sales professional as the deal is progressing, then something will be sacrificed—and that something is usually a lower deal value or a dead opportunity. It makes sense: a sales professional can’t properly articulate a solution for a prospect if they don’t intimately understand all of the complexities. And if a prospect doesn’t have complete confidence in the solution or doesn’t have adequate buy-in across their organization, then the deal ultimately suffers.

On the other hand, if the sales professional spends a significant amount of up-front time dedicated to the prospect, not only is the deal likely to be larger as he or she can identify use cases across more business units or prove a more tangible ROI, but the relationship and ongoing possibilities of referrals or upsells is positioned significantly better. Which brings us to our final point about the importance of relationships in the sales process…

Relationships Are Sacrificed and Customers Don’t Receive The Best Solution

Enterprise selling can be very complex, which is why prospective customers lean on the sales professional to help guide them through the process of identifying just the right solution for their complicated needs. Sales professionals that hold integrity, trust, and prospect relationships in high regard are much more likely to not only build confidence in the prospect, but help the potential customer open up about challenges and to be an internal champion to get the deal across the line.

When a sales professional is constantly being pressured to pick up the phone and make more calls or send more emails, the relationship building can be severely impacted. Building relationships with prospects takes time and isn’t something that can be forced or rushed.

It’s All About Balance

Yes, keeping activity levels up is important to a sales organization’s bottom line. Without picking up the phone and making calls or sending warm introduction emails even while juggling several large enterprise opportunities, future quarters will suffer. According to HubSpot, only one-third of a sales professional’s day is actually spent selling. This scary statistic means that they must make use of every single moment they have at their disposal—whether or not they’re working a complex sale. While we certainly don’t disagree that keeping activity levels high is imperative to success, we DO disagree with the approach that higher levels of activity always translate to a better bottom line.

It’s possible (and even probable) that sales professionals who carefully strike a balance between always being “busy” and spending above adequate time with each prospect during discovery and demo while adopting a coachable, agile mindset will experience not only a more solid pipeline, but more successful prospects.


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    Teresa Weirich

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