Sales Best Practices

How to Pinpoint Where Your Reps Are Going Wrong

Cari Murray's Avatar

Cari Murray

Senior Manager of Content Marketing

One trillion dollars. It sounds like a number you’d hear Dr. Evil declare as the ransom for the world in an Austin Powers movie. But it’s actually the amount of money that U.S. businesses lose every year due to voluntary turnover, reported Gallup. What does that impact look like for a company, like yours? The cost to replace an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee's annual salary.

Turnover is costly and, in many cases, preventable.

Sometimes, a rep just needs more coaching in certain areas. How do you pinpoint which ones? When a rep is underperforming, the reason isn't always clear.

In this post, we’ll identify common sales mistakes, how to spot them and how to offer the rep support.

The sales rep is resistant to adopting new technology

Your company adopted a sales engagement platform to streamline processes and make reps more efficient. However, this particular rep isn’t ready to let go of the old way for the new one. Roughly 63 percent of managers said the pace of technological change in their workplace is too slow, reported Harvard Business Review, based on a study by MIT Sloan Management Review and Capgemini Consulting. That’s due, in part, to “lack of urgency” and poor communication about the benefits of the change.

As a sales leader, you want to know that your team is actually utilizing the technology you buy to help them gain efficiencies. A good sales engagement platform gives you visibility into your team’s daily activities. This data shows the strength of adoption and demonstrates understanding about how to use the technology. Additionally, frontline managers can use the platform to quickly identify issues or challenges and offer specific guidance. How can you convince the late adopters it will be worth it? Let sales reps know they can save up to two hours of work each day and book 30 percent more meetings using Outreach. Who doesn’t want more time back in their day and greater odds of closing the deal?

The sales rep takes an objection as a hard “no"

In your next one-on-one meeting, ask your reps what they do after receiving an objection. You’re likely going to get different responses. You might also be surprised to learn that some of them do nothing at all, which is one of the biggest sales mistakes. Newer reps in particular might be inclined to interpret an objection as a “no.”

Outreach allows you to take several disjointed approaches and turn them into one winning workflow that everyone can adopt. We use sequences to help reps plan when and how their next action should occur. This helps ensure reps know what to do next, like after they receive an objection. Outreach Engage, our sales engagement solution, can also show you what actions reps did — or didn’t — take. This helps you determine how to coach your reps and optimize for success. 

The sales rep does more work than necessary

Reps only spend one-third of their time selling. What’s taking up the rest? Manual actions, data logging and unnecessary administrative work. They’re trying to find the right contact. They’re doing background research on the prospect and company. They’re crafting the right message. They’re trying to determine when to reach out and what channel to use. If you use any kind of project management software that tracks time, you’ll see the evidence of their labor. What you probably won’t see if they’re caught up doing admin? The rep hitting their sales goals.

The Outreach Sales Execution Platform leverages machine learning to drive efficiency and results. It analyzes and highlights critical pieces of information across emails, sales actions, and more to help sales reps and managers identify the next best action. It automates tasks that used to require manual action, data logging and heavy administrative work. This helps sales reps find and close more opportunities, faster.

The sales rep spends too much time on the wrong accounts

Your sales rep had a great conversation with a prospect. They send a meeting invite, as discussed. Then, poof. The prospect disappears. What happened? They continue to spend their time and energy trying to reach the prospect, to no avail. Meanwhile, they let several other more lucrative leads fall through the cracks. Spending too much time on prospects whose buying cycles don’t align with your selling cycle is a common sales mistake.

Success Plans within Outreach Guide give sellers and managers the engagement insights they need to disqualify bad opportunities while prioritizing engaged buyers, so they can focus on deals that have the highest probability of closing.

The sales rep is new and doesn’t know when to ask for help

Nearly 75 percent of sales development representatives (SDRs) have less than one year of work experience — and the majority have no prior sales experience, according to research and advisory firm Gartner. Sales managers are often stretched across nine reps, which makes it difficult to spend the necessary time coaching them. As a result, it’s important that sales managers have insight into the health of each opportunity — and the ability to see key areas where help is needed.

Outreach makes it easy to quickly determine the health of an opportunity with our Centralized Opportunity Management View. Key deal metrics around who is tied to the deal, when they were last contacted, and if there are next steps or an upcoming meeting are all accessible from a single page for your entire team’s book of business.

The sales rep relies on outdated engagement metrics

Your sales reps might look back at an old email and see it got a lot of replies. As a result, they repurpose the same message, assuming it will lead to meetings booked. For some reason, however, it doesn’t. What happened?

Activity metrics — including replies, open rate and clicks — don’t tell the whole story. What if all of the replies were negative? To get the full picture, you need to understand the intent behind those replies. At a glance, Buyer Sentiment Analysis allows your team to assess the meaning behind prospect responses. It can show you whether the replies were “positive,” “objections,” “referrals,” or “unsubscribes.”

Sales managers now have context for reps’ interactions with customers — at scale.

This also allows managers to provide better, more individualized help, including:

  • Identifying struggling reps and where to provide custom coaching.
  • Creating templates and snippets tailored to each objection type, i.e. “bad timing.”
  • Coaching reps on how to overturn “bad timing” objections into a meeting booked.

Your team can now have all the data necessary to avoid repeating past sales mistakes — and the confidence to redefine your shared strategy moving forward. See for yourself by requesting a demo or checking out our new ebook, "Outcome Over Output: Why reply sentiment delivers better outcomes than reply rate.”

Want to learn more about Buyer Sentiment?

Download our ebook