Welcome to your weekly roundup for September 1-8. This week we’re rounding up research from DiscoverOrg, HubSpot and HBR. Why do only 18% of salespeople trust buyers? Are salespeople overworked? And is your commission model incentivizing the wrong behaviours?
What’s wrong with salespeople? The majority of B2B buyers think salespeople do a horrible job explaining how their solution or product is helps or is relevant to their business, according to DiscoverOrg’s most recent research.
But don’t fret too much—the study has also outlined what exactly salespeople need to win buyers back.
Buyers rate ⅔ B2B salespeople as average or poor
Solution: Find out where you stand by asking yourself: when speaking to a buyer, do you deliver solutions or just more information?
Your true standing can be determined by…
- Your win-loss ratio over the past 12 months (the higher your ratio is, the higher your rating)
- Your annual quota performance for the previous year
- Your quota performance average over the course of your sales career
Only 18% of buyers trust and respect salespeople
For a variety of reasons—lack of listening, high-pressure tactics, manipulation—only 18% of the salespeople that buyers met over the past year were classified as trusted advisors.
Two ways to get into that percentage:
- Listen. There’s a problem there, otherwise the buyer wouldn’t be talking to you. Before you diagnose, think carefully about how your solution could help them.
- Be honest. As the authors point out, it’s a small world. If you admit your product/solution isn’t the right fit, buyers will gain a respect for you, opening the door for an authentic relationship that could lead to a referral sale down the line.
Only 31% of salespeople converse effectively with senior executives
People buy from people like them. “If you come across as too casual, too formal, or too wildly different… you have a problem.”
Combat this by ensuring you have an accurate data-based ICP.
*This is a summary of The B2B Buyer Persona: 30 Ways to Get Inside the Mind of Your Target Buyer [Survey] by Justin Withers.
What’s like really like working in sales? HubSpot has pulled back the curtain on salespeople’s lifestyles, and the results might surprise you. Here are some of the most startling statistics:
- ½ of salespeople’s friends and family have told them they work too much
- 72% of Sales Directors/VPs work in their evenings & weekends
- Salespeople who work more than 60 hours per week are more fulfilled by their job that those who work less hours
But don’t let these stats get you down… the key here is to plan your time accordingly, and leverage the right tools and strategies to help you do so.
*This is a summary of [Exposed] Life in Sales by HubSpot.
Is your pay mix ratio a faulty indicator of salespeople’s current performance? A 60:40 pay mix (the first number is the base, the second is commission), the authors note, is the average for U.S. sales forces.
A high second number motivates salespeople to drive short-term results. But since “free” sales, franchise sales or carry-over sales, are such a large portion of results, the pay model is often skewed, and thus does little to motivate the salesperson to drive more sales results.
Address this problem by adjusting incentive payout formulas…
- “Set a payout threshold so no incentives get paid until a certain level or percentage of quota is achieved”
- Use an accelerant once the salesperson starts selling above quota
*This is a summary of Sales Bonuses Are Supposed to Motivate, So Don’t Waste Them on Easy Targets by Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer.