Women in Sales Blog

Have Bad, Unhelpful Sales Reps Killed Prospecting Responses for the Good, Helpful Sales Reps?

Posted by Oct 14, 2015 12:07:09 PM Ali Powell


Lately I have been thinking a lot about how I can take the skills that I have learned by being a sales rep in a fast growing market to help other sales reps sell better and smarter at the right times. The one thing that has always ringed true to me is that sales must be helpful. The leading indicator of a good sales rep is someone who is helpful for their prospects and companies that they are working with. 

I have read that the sales process improvement market and the sales automation space is only going to grow and grow over the next few years. People have compared it to the next marketing automation space. I agree.
Here is what I am seeing as a sales rep.

1. I want to give more more people who are not working in sales access to what it is like to work in sales, in tech specifically. It is an amazing career. One that I never knew I would be good at and I bet there are more people out there who would be good at it but don’t think it is a fit for them. We should expose more people to what it is like to work in sales so they have that as a choice for their career path.

2. I want to help improve how sales reps work by showing some of the techniques that I use in the sales prospecting process that I have seen work well. It is important for sale reps to share what is working well and not working so we can all learn from each other.

3. Take really, really detailed notes on what I do daily to help improve processes not just for myself but for other sales reps out there. I would love to see these things incorporated into software.

4. Inmail on Linkedin doesn’t work as well anymore. I don’t see people returning nearly as many of my inmails as they used to. Even my CEO told me today that he never opens those or responds to those. Oh okay, great! Just validates my point that higher up people used to respond to those but have learned to block those out now too.

No one wants to be sold to. But, decision makers do want helpful advice. So what is the right way to get in front of these people? 

We created HubSpot because we know that the world of sales and marketing has changed. People block your emails, your inmails, your direct mail, your vmail, etc. People don’t have phones at their desks, etc. This has happened because there have been so many unhelpful sales reps, in it for themselves over the years reaching out to them. They have now blocked us as a lot out of their lives. I don't blame them. 

What if you are an actually good, helpful sales rep? How are we supposed to get through to the decision makers with our good and helpful advice if the bad sales reps have ruined it for all of us good sales reps out there?

Even if you use inbound marketing (which I sell everyday) and know works. There seems to be something missing.

We need to focus on what kinds of things will help sales reps sell better and smarter by reaching out at the right times to the right companies. This will help everyone to sell better. And hopefully we figure out cool and innovative ways to reach companies that should be reached. The problem with this is that to be good at trigger events and reaching out at the right times it takes manual labor. It takes using lots of different subscriptions to software, using lots of different websites, etc to stay on top of the leading indicators that would mean you as a sales rep should reach out. Manually doing this process of tracking your accounts and your leads is actually fairly hard right now. 

Even if you are a sales rep who does a ton of research on a company and has all of these amazing reasons to reach out, you can’t get in front of them!

That is because the bad, unprepared sales reps have ruined it for the good sales reps!

So what should the good, helpful sales reps do? I ask you this decision makers out there...

How should sales reps get in front of their prospects and good fit accounts if the people on the other side won’t even give them one second to explain why they are a fit to talk to?

Have unprepared, non-helpful sales reps over the years killed prospecting for the sales reps who actually do a really good job at researching and customizing our sales process? I think so…

So I ask you, sales reps out there, do a better job. It will help all of us in our job. 

Your job as a sales rep is to help your prospects. Not to annoy them. Not to think about yourself and your number. Sales is not about you, contrary to what you might believe. It is about being helpful. Stop trying to sell something that is a bad fit for their needs. You need to focus on good fits, doing good work (all the time) and maybe we all will get through a bit more because sales reps could start to be seen as actually being helpful.

Decision makers might become less annoyed with us as a whole and actually open up to a cold call or an inbound email from us because instead of thinking... "Oh great, (hit spam),  another stupid outreach from a sales rep," maybe their 1st thought could be that the sales rep is reaching out because they have some reason to believe that they can help.  

I have seen one too many emails to the wrong person, who has nothing to do with what you sell, with no reason to care about what you sell because it won’t help them. If sales reps actually reached out with helpful things to say I bet we would all do better as a whole. 

So let’s all do a better job at prospecting good fit companies, at the right potential time that we could potentially help based on research.Your job as a sales rep is to help. Be genuinely helpful as a sales rep and let's show our prospects why we are sales reps in the first place. We are sales reps because we know we have something that will help someone. That someone might be you. 

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Topics: sales tips, smart sales, sales reps, smart sales process, smart sales rep

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