5 Sales process mistakes that are killing your close rate

Cory Shrecengost
July 12, 2023
minute read
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Sales is often seen as the art of persuasion, but it's just as much the science of the process. If you've ever felt like your sales process isn't quite hitting the mark, you're not alone. Chances are some common sales mistakes are sabotaging your close rate and making it hard to hit your sales goals.

That’s why we're examining five sales process mistakes that may be undercutting your success and how to fix them. From qualifying to following up leads, you'll learn about how simple tweaks in your process can make a world of difference in your close rate.

Mistake #1: Failure to qualify leads properly

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good your product, service, or salespeople are—if you’re not focusing on the right leads, you might end up wasting hours trying to sell to people that won’t convert. In fact, research shows that 67% of sales fail to close because sales reps are failing to properly qualify leads before starting the sales process.

Qualifying leads properly means ensuring that every lead that comes through your pipeline has a high chance of becoming a sale. While sales is often a numbers game, your efforts will be better put to use if you can first weed out low-quality leads and potential tire kickers.

To qualify leads effectively:

  • Establish a set of qualification criteria that aligns with your ideal customer profile and signals real intent that they need your solution.
  • Train your marketing and salespeople to uncover whether a prospect meets the qualification criteria.
  • Use a CRM system to track and manage lead qualification information.

Mistake #2: Over-reliance on scripts

Having a script is a great way to make sure you don't miss any important points and to ensure consistency in your sales process, but they’re not a great way to have a real conversation. When sales reps depend too heavily on their scripts, they can come across as robotic and disinterested—two qualities that are sure to kill any chance of closing a sale.

If it sounds like your reps are simply saying their lines without engaging your prospects in a meaningful way, then it's time to re-evaluate their approach. The key here is balance: you want your reps to be prepared with the right information and questions, but you also want them to be spontaneous and deviate from the script when appropriate.

This approach helps create an environment where prospects feel heard and understood, making them much more likely to accept the offers you propose.

To avoid over-reliance on scripts:

  • Encourage your sales team to use scripts as a guideline rather than a rigid set of rules.
  • Train salespeople to adapt their scripts based on the specific needs and preferences of each prospect.
  • Foster active listening skills to enable salespeople to better understand and address the concerns of their prospects.

Mistake #3: Not personalizing your offer

No two customers are exactly alike, even if they're in the same industry or location. Each potential customer has their own set of challenges, goals, and preferences that shape their decision-making process so using a one-size-fits-all approach to your offer isn’t always effective.

If you want to increase your chances of converting potential customers into paying customers, go the extra mile of personalizing your pitch to appeal to their unique needs and preferences. This means taking the time to understand who they are, what they need, and how your product or service can help them achieve their goals.

To overcome this issue:

  • Categorize leads based on factors such as industry, location, or pain points.
  • Develop tailored messaging and sales collateral for different audiences.
  • Track and analyze the performance of each lead segment to identify areas for improvement.

Mistake #4: Poor follow-up

Whether you’re following up with leads that you’ve already qualified, or prospects that have expressed an interest in your product, having a strong follow-up strategy is key to a high close rate. It’s not uncommon to miss the occasional follow-up, but if it becomes a bad habit, you could be losing out on potential sales.

A Brevet study showed that an average of five follow-ups are necessary to close 80% of sales. However, 44% of sales reps quit reaching out to prospects after only one follow-up attempt—and that number rises to 94% of sales reps after four follow-ups.

To improve your follow-up process:

  • Develop a follow-up schedule that outlines when and how to contact prospects after each interaction.
  • Use a CRM to set reminders and track follow-up activities.
  • Provide salespeople with resources and training to improve their follow-up communication skills.

Mistake #5: Lack of automation

The idea of automation often sounds complex or even expensive—but this isn’t necessarily true, especially with the cost of not having any automation in your sales process being one of the biggest deal killers. Unfortunately, the average sales rep spends only about 36% of their time actually selling—the rest is spent on non-selling duties, including admin tasks (18%), prospecting (16%), and researching (14%).

While these tasks are necessary, completing them manually isn’t just energy-draining, it also steals precious time away from your salespeople that could be used for making money. When automation tools are added to the sales process, sales productivity increases by 14.5%, and marketing overhead costs shrink by 12.2%.

Consider incorporating the following automation tips into your sales process:

  • Assign leads automatically instead of manually with a round-robin scheduling system, which evenly distributes leads among your salespeople to prevent bottlenecks and improve response times.
  • Implement automated appointment booking tools to enable prospects to schedule meetings with your sales team quickly and conveniently.
  • Use eSignature tools like Dropbox Sign to speed up contract signing and close sales while a deal is hot.

How Dropbox Sign can help you close 33% faster

A deal should never be held up because of a slow contract signing process. Whether it’s forcing customers to sign in-person or emailing contracts back and forth, salespeople risk failing to close if paperwork is too time-consuming or complex to complete.

Sales reps need to make closing deals as simple for customers as possible and a powerful tool to do so is with eSignature. Not only does the use of eSignatures reduce manual work with auto-populated proposals, electronic contracts, and automated reminders, but a tool like Dropbox Sign also boosts completion rates by as much as 26%.

Plus, you don’t have to even leave your CRM to create, send, and track contracts—you can integrate with HubSpot, Salesforce, and plenty of other CRMs to close deals all in one place.

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