The photo that illustrates this article is very self-explanatory. At the end of the last decade and the beginning of this one, we came across Eike Batista, the former richest man in Brazil. Owner of pharaonic projects, Eike sold his dream to his investors.
With promises of rates of return on investment above the market and great acumen for sales, he quickly stood out and set up a gigantic business conglomerate, made up of companies in the oil, mining, and energy sectors, among others.
But because his projections were overly optimistic, when the long term came along, several of his ventures proved to be holes and his house of cards collapsed.
But what does this have to do with sales?
Everyone who works in sales has ever bumped into a lead that requires a feature that your product doesn’t have to close a deal. Two paths are usually taken:
- Sell that the required functionality will be implemented (in the case of Eike, very high return rates);
- Postpone this deal to close in the future.
Of the options above, I take the second. In addition to avoiding creating friction with the product development team, your company will not have to deal with a dissatisfied customer and a potential detractor. After all, both the seller’s and your employer’s credibility will be affected (you’ve probably noticed that Eike currently has a harder time finding investors, right?)!
However, the world is not limited to my opinion. As a manager, how can we prevent this type of problem from occurring? Basically not selling the dream. Of course, this goes against all the incentives the seller has. With so much of his work tied up to the commission, why would he not close as many deals as possible?
Several measures can be taken to avoid this dysfunctionality. Changing the commission structure in order to punish the sales team for churn is a good option, but other measures can also be taken to facilitate the evolution of both the seller and the company.
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- Why do sellers usually sell the dream?
- lack of belief
- Salespeople not immersed in the company’s culture
- The company is having trouble reaching its goal
- Special case: lead wants to buy but lacks functionality
- Selling the dream affects the credibility
Why do sellers usually sell the dream?
If there is one thing that we repeat to exhaustion here on the blog, it is: no company thrives without a sales culture. The seller needs to be fully immersed in it to avoid going his own way in search of commissions!
I say this because sellers usually sell the dream for the following reasons:
- They don’t believe in the product they are selling;
- They are little immersed in the company’s culture and are just looking for easy money;
- The company is struggling to meet goals and the Outbound team is in despair.
The first problem is linked to the selection process. If the Outbound team does not believe in the product they are selling, they will usually insert whatever is necessary in their speech to close the deal.
Those who believe that their product is deficient will insert everything they consider to have market fit in their sales pitch. It may sound bizarre, but it’s not. In the market, this happens more than you can imagine!
The immersion problem is linked to the lack of a clear results culture. If the salesperson only has one sales target, he won’t care what fate the lead will have after converting to a customer. After all, the problem now belongs to the Customer Success team and not theirs! A successful culture must see the company as a whole and, sometimes, to improve the quality of the conversion, the best thing to do is to change the commission structure, something that Vinícius spoke masterfully in one of his texts here on the blog. Whoever wants to check it out, have a look there!
Regarding the last dysfunctionality, it can be generated by a poorly structured process, which is common in companies that have not implemented modern Outbound. But it can also be linked to a product that does not have much fit on the market, in this case, however, there is no selective process that saves!
Let’s delve into each of these themes specifically:
lack of belief
The product for the seller must be religious. He must be fanatical about what he’s selling. Without belief in what you offer, the chances of failure increase exponentially!
The biggest source of “dream sellers” is in poorly structured selection processes. Focused on quickly hiring salespeople with a communicative profile, many companies do not present their mission, vision, and values well. Therefore, the seller is completely out of line with what the company offers to the market!
A well-done selection process is essential to avoid this failure. Outbound team members, in addition to being talented, must have a similar culture to the company, if not beyond selling dreams, they will quickly become discouraged. It’s two-sided waste: customers leaving and salaries and commissions that never get paid!
We made a step-by-step explaining a little about how to set up a quality selection process! Check it out!
Salespeople not immersed in the company’s culture
There is something that is undervalued in the sales area. That something is training. This is largely due to the high turnover, which is a direct consequence of a poorly structured commercial process and hastily selected selections.
Of course, the sales area, like the entire company, can be compared to a living organism. If one of the parts is not well, the whole body feels it. Once the selection of new members and the process are better designed, it is essential to build quality training, focused on three points:
We will not go into the process further, as we are tired of talking about it here. The total focus will be on the company/market and product. If the employee does not know the company’s history, it’s short/medium/long term goals, how will he know the path he will take? I say the same for the product.
It is necessary to know the product roadmap, in this case, its evolution, in order to align expectations with leads about what will be launched in the future. This type of information is vital for closing good deals.
Did you see the difference that well-structured training makes? The salesperson must be immersed in all aspects of the company, from the moment of their interview to their daily lives. Culture never hurts!
The company is having trouble reaching its goal
It is very common for the Outbound team to despair when the company is not achieving its goals. It is at this point that the number of MQLs tends to increase. But that’s not necessarily good!
Creative accounting “solved” the problem only in the short term
The fact that generates this increase is not the realization of more daily contacts. The team simply starts talking to all leads, whether they have a purchase profile or not, just to improve an isolated indicator. In this case, the dream is sold internally and to the market, as benefits that do not exist for buyers and managers are sold!
How to solve this problem? Just link the commission to the final conversion into customers. The team does not receive bonuses if the leads don’t convert at the end. In addition, some qualification parameters based on the Road Map to Close must be defined. If the generated contacts do not comply with them, they do not evolve within the sales funnel!
Special case: lead wants to buy but lacks functionality
Almost every seller has been through this situation. He has a deal that is about to close, but he is resistant because he lacks a feature that would generate great value. What to do at this time?
Simple: postpone the sale to the future. Keep in touch with the lead, but make it clear that the tool doesn’t have the functionality they’re asking for yet!
Check with your development team if the feature in question is on the product roadmap, and if so, let the lead know how long it will take for it to be functional.
If not, see if you can implement it quickly. If that’s not possible, align expectations with the lead and leave it on stand-by. A clean name on the market is worth more than just a sale!
Selling the dream affects the credibility
If there’s one thing every salesperson should value, it’s their credibility. Aligning expectations is always vital to building a customer base.
The seller must keep in mind that their job does not end at closing. A dissatisfied customer will always remember a bad experience, so always stick to reality, dear salesman.