5 Common Inside Sales Mistakes to Ensure Missed Quota


While rewarding, sales reps are often put into high pressure situations to meet quota. However, if given the right training, the constant pressure that a sales rep feels can be dramatically lessened.

From a recent discussion our marketing and sales teams participated in, the following ideas (among many others) were brought up in how to be a better sales rep. Of the ideas presented, it seems that these have the most effect on the success of sales and meeting sales quota.

5 Common Mistakes to Ensure Missed Quota:

Mistake #1: Assuming your lead, or prospect, knows who you are and what you do

This is a fairly easy mistake to fall into. For example, at XANT we pride ourselves on our ability to respond immediately to web-generated leads – usually within 15 seconds. However, not every person that submits a lead on our website knows that.

Here’s an example:

When a lead is submitted on our website, our sales reps call that lead almost immediately. Frequently, the person on the other end of the phone call often answers the phone and says, “Wow! That was quick!” A common response of our sales reps is to say, “Well, we practice what we preach.”

Do you see the problem? If that lead just downloaded a white paper or research paper, they may not know what it is that you “preach.” Perhaps a better response would be, “Well, we pride ourselves on our ability to respond to web-based leads in 15 seconds or less. This is based on research that shows that your leads are 100x more likely to answer the phone if they are contacted within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes. We like to practice what we preach.”

Mistake #2: Only calling a lead once

Multiple sales research studies have shown that there is still value to be wrung out of a lead from calling them up to nine times for inbound leads and six times for outbound leads. Persistency is key when trying to reach leads, set appointments, and close the sale.

In fact, this is something that Ken Krogue, President and co-founder of XANT mentions constantly in presentations and content he authors. The reality is that most sales reps are only making one or two calls per lead before giving up. Think about that for a minute.

Ken frequently says, “If the contact ratio is between 10 and 11 percent and the sales rep is only making one or two calls, they’re only going to reach 10 to 20 percent of the people they want to talk to. Make sure that your sales reps are wringing the most value out of their leads as they possibly can and are not leaving money on the table.”

Check out this graph showing the percentage of sales by call attempt for a more visual approach to this topic:

Mistake #3: Assuming a lead is dead

If you’ve talked to a company and they have said that at this time your product isn’t quite what they’re looking for, don’t give up! Put that lead on a lead nurturing campaign and follow up six to nine months down the road to see how things are doing.

You might be surprised at how they respond. Additionally, there is often turn over and new people in positions who might not have heard about your solution. Educate them to build their need and see what happens – that “dead” lead could turn into a great opportunity!

Mistake #4: Over promising and under delivering

There is probably nothing worse a sales rep can do to tarnish the reputation of their company than to over promise and under deliver. If you’ve fallen into the habit of making promises you can’t keep, stop now! Not only is this unprofessional, but it creates a culture of not living up to expectations.

Mistake #5: Dismissing “small” deals

If you’ve been around the sales industry for a few years, you might know where I’m going with this. Just because a lead only wants to implement your solution on a small scale currently, they may have huge room for growth.

Do your research on their industry and company. What may seem like a small three to five seat opportunity, could turn into a huge deal down the road.

What other common mistakes have you witnessed out in the industry? Leave a comment below with the mistake, and what you would recommend to solve the problem.

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