66% lack control over prospecting; it costs revenue and growth 


Many companies are experiencing challenges in acquiring new customers, with decision-making times noticeably longer than before. 84% of customers report that their buying journey takes longer than expected. Customer uncertainty leads to a 30% decline in their ability to make purchasing decisions. In addition to uncertainty, sales also face more stakeholders than ever, further complicating the sales process.

“80% of salespeople experience an expanding stakeholder group, and with just 5 stakeholders, the likelihood of closing the sale drops by 47% (Gartner).”

The new challenge for sales is the need to help customers build decision confidence and reduce perceived risk. This sets the rules for Sales Prospecting today. Buyers are more demanding, and to succeed in Sales Prospecting, sales must be more data-driven, have a robust approach to handling multiple stakeholders, and ensure increased decision confidence among buyers.

“66% of suppliers agree that sales in their organization do not dedicate enough time or energy to Sales Prospecting, and 56% procrastinate and engage in avoidance behaviors when it comes to their Sales Prospecting activities (Rain Group).”

The numbers reveal that many “successful sales departments” may have been successful based on new sales during good times, a comfortable competitive situation, and less demanding customer development. It is during adversity that sales management discovers the strength of their “Sales Prospecting formula.” The biggest mistake in many sales departments is a prominent “let it be” attitude because when the results come, why change the formula? Change should come when you see the world changing, even if you are delivering good sales figures.

Salespeople are more disheartened than ever, and with good reason

From the individual salesperson’s perspective, it is not inspiring or motivating in the long run to work under a leadership that remains in status quo and does not modernize its approach. Even if the results are there, sales feel changes in customers, which puts pressure on them to address new challenges and takes more of their time. The evidence of this issue is seen in the fact that 63% of salespeople believe their sales leaders lack the necessary skills/competencies needed in the new sales approaches, and only 38% of salespeople believe their leaders help them develop the necessary skills needed today (CEB/Gartner). Perhaps this is the explanation for 89% of salespeople experiencing burnout, and 54% being open to a new job (Gartner Seller Motivation Survey 2022).

The goal should be for sales to achieve their goals without working hard but smart!

It is one thing to renew oneself personally and rethink the Sales Prospecting approach away from the old approach with a 30-second elevator pitch on the phone and towards an approach that is much more inspiring and effective, where success is achievable even on an off day. Unfortunately, too few sales organizations think in terms of Sales Enablement initiatives, even though the gains have been proven significant.

Sales Enablement aims to establish a repeatable, cohesive framework where sales professionals can perform complex tasks and tackle challenges in a consistent, time-saving, and quality-oriented manner. This not only creates higher efficiency but also ensures a higher standard for performing the sales tasks in focus. It is a transition from the older, more time-consuming approach to a more streamlined and productive method that helps salespeople achieve better results by simplifying the resolution of the new, more complex challenges they encounter. Sales Enablement is about providing the necessary tools, training, and support so that the sales team can work more efficiently and focus on meeting customer needs with high quality, thus reaching their sales goals more easily and smartly. 

It’s a different game today

Sales Prospecting is a completely different game today than a few years ago, and if you are really good, you can do Sales Prospecting, get the sales meetings, and achieve your sales without using the phone significantly.

Sales Prospecting has become a much more interesting and challenging discipline, where it is much more about being creative, combining different communication channels, creating a strong structure, and being consistent in execution. Traditionally, it has been such that a salesperson or consultant has reached out, and if they have not succeeded in getting the meeting or the second meeting, they let it go and move on to the next topic hoping for a better result. This is one of the biggest mistakes many make because working with multiple channels, i.e., multiple “touchpoints,” makes you significantly stronger in getting talk time and a sales meeting.

“A field experiment from B2B DecisionLabs reveals that salespeople get 80 percent fewer customer meetings when they are not in dialogue with their customers with a minimum of 5 touchpoints.”

Your story matters much more than the attention you give it

Another related area you also need to excel in is storytelling. Stories should contain hooks that capture and hold the listener’s attention. Finding the right story is an area many suppliers neglect, even though it is crucial in most cases to whether the prospect bothers to spend more time with you.

“Stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone,” and when stories and data are combined, “it can pull the audience both intellectually and emotionally” – Jennifer Aaker, professor of marketing at Stanford.

The good story makes it easier for you to get the meetings you need and gain increased attention from customers. Even if you can only offer the fifth-best solution and are more expensive than others. But do the solution and price matter most? No, the solution and price only account for 19% and 9%, respectively, while the buying experience accounts for a whopping 53% (Gartner). Customers want to hear a story that captivates them, a story they can recognize themselves in, and something they cannot say no to. Everything about your brand, products, and prices is irrelevant in the initial phases of sales prospecting. It is about having something deeply relevant to the customer and telling it in a cool and captivating way.

Example of poor and good storytelling:

When working with GAP Assessments, I have heard some customers say,

“Would it be interesting to conduct a survey on how your organization views your AI?”

The choice of words alone, like survey, similar to a questionnaire, radiates a lot of negative energy. Furthermore, the cool GAP Assessment is told uninterestingly. It is too dry, boring, wrong choice of words, and does not create a desire for the customer to involve their colleagues.

On the other hand, the following way has not only resulted in a yes from customers to proceed but also to involve more stakeholders in their organization, which is a significant commitment to a salesperson.

Would it be interesting to conduct our AI GAP Assessment on you and more stakeholders and influencers in the organization? We measure on a wide range of parameters regarding where the company is today but also on “where your own employees think you should be.”

The customer, your contact person, will understand that they will get valuable data and insights they do not have in the company today, containing new opportunities, risks, and disagreements that need to be addressed.

More relevance, please

When emphasized above that to create effective sales, you need to be prepared for more “touches” and the use of multiple channels, the prerequisite is also that you are relevant and have quality data/insights to offer.

“According to Forrester, 89% of sales meetings fail due to poor content and poor quality, and 75% fail to get the next meeting, as well as involving the right stakeholders.”

Another previous analysis by Edelman showed that decision-makers have greater trust in suppliers who excel with highly relevant content. In fact, 48% of decision-makers cite this as a reason to enter into a partnership. 47% of decision-makers are willing to pay a higher price to do business with an organization that can deliver relevance and meet expectations. Unfortunately, 85% of decision-makers say that suppliers in the market underperform in this area.

One last good advice that many can relate to is to hold on and ensure continuity. In Sales Prospecting, plans and initiatives are often made, but even if sales management has good intentions, it does not always work, or motivation fades. Often, sales managers and salespeople start with great enthusiasm and high energy, and after some time, those same individuals lose focus, energy, and motivation. Part of Sales Prospecting is precisely how to maintain motivation, high self-discipline, and ensure continuity.

So, what could be a next step for you?

Hopefully, the above is an inspiration for you to develop your approach. The best and most important first step is to uncover your baseline, i.e., where are you today? Where do you stand poorly, and what are your opportunities? Seen through the eyes of your employees.

At InsightsRadar, we have developed a “Sales Prospecting GAP Assessment” that provides you with the necessary data and insights to identify the weak links in your chain, the most obvious potentials, and where there is a lack of consensus.

Our Sales Prospecting concept consists of:

  1. Prospecting GAP Assessment (7 categories, 29 measurement points, takes 15 minutes from each participant)
  2. E-Learning that updates everyone with new “prospecting knowledge” and ensures you are on the same page and speaking the same language
  3. Recommendations and initiatives (delivered in a 2-hour meeting/workshop)
  4. Possible follow-up measurement after 3-6 months (are you sticking to it, or are you back to old patterns).

There are always opportunities for improvement, and a business case that demonstrates it can be recouped quickly.