06.06.20164 min read

3 Mistakes B2B Sales Leaders Make that Hurt Performance

Much is written about how the role of the B2B marketers changed over the years due to the shift in the buying process. And while this is true, I see very little being written or spoken about the role of B2B sales and how their roles have changed. Perhaps this is just me not being as deeply ingrained in the B2B sales world, but by and large, I have not seen much in the way of the changing role of sales in the B2B process. Furthermore, when I speak to prospects and engage with customers, I find that sales believes the changes are needed on the marketing side, but that there is little that they need to do to adapt. They could not be more wrong.

As I continue to interact with many on the marketing side and am now also spending more time with those in sales leadership, I have seen some consistent themes that run across a good number (not all) of sales organizations. These mistakes must be corrected if B2B sales organizations are going to have any measure of success.

Create work to keep sales teams busy

I was on a call not too long ago with a client who said that they were going to start pulling industry lists from their house database and have their inside sales team begin a “call blitz.” Without getting into the specifics, I asked my client why they were taking this approach when the whole goal of us working together was to create a buyer-centric, perpetual demand generation program. The answer I received was, “We need to keep them busy.” This is not the first time I have heard this plan for an inside sales team.

Simply creating work to keep a sales team busy is like running to the river to get water in a bucket rather than fixing the plumbing. It is a short-term fix that often supplies little in the way of results. The reality is that inside sales people, who are very well paid, should not be the “fix” for demand generation. They should be poised to either truly sell via the phone or to qualify leads that have indicated via their behavior (and corresponding demographic data) that they are at a point in their buying process that they want to have a discussion. Simply creating work to keep inside sales people busy is not only productivity problem, it is a sign that your demand generation engine is broken.

They measure the wrong things

I spoke this morning with a colleague who is in a fairly new role in his company and was telling me that the one key metric that their inside sales team is measured on is “call volume.” In his new role, he is attempting to move past this way of thinking and stress that quality far surpasses quantity, but he is experiencing resistance.

To be frank, measuring the volume of calls is one of the worst metrics any sales team could measure. When a buyer is in their buying process and ready to take a call, they often have many, in-depth questions. Buyers want to understand how the company’s solutions or services will benefit them, and want be sure their specific needs and challenges will be met. Calls of this nature can take 20–30 minutes or even longer and when done as part of a strategic demand generation program, will lead to a higher closed-won conversion rate, leading to increases in revenue. This is really what demand generation is about, quality over quantity. Call volume doesn’t matter.

They insist on sticking to their sales process

Not long ago I was meeting with a client and whiteboarding the buying journey. During this session, the vice president of sales interrupted and stated, “I am not too concerned with the buying process. We have a sales process that will disrupt that and we will engage them when we need to.”


It was clear from his statement that he had no clue that the buyers do not care about an internal sales process. In fact, buyers determine when they are ready to engage with sales and buyers are no longer dependent on sales people to research and determine the right time for them to buy.

While there is a need to establish a lead management process and sales people should have a process they follow for the management of pipeline and revenue, too many sales leaders are in the dark about aligning their sales process to that of their buyers. As result, the unfortunate reality is that they are not converting potential buyers to customers at the rate they could be.

Demand generation is not only a marketing activity. To be effective, both sales and marketing must be active participants in the process and this means changing the way many sales organizations and sales leaders approach their buyers.

This article was written by Carlos Hidalgo from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Was this post helpful?
Created with Sketch.
Infusionsoft cornerstone spinner
close button
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter!

5 Reasons to Subscribe:

1. Weekly tips to dominate sales and marketing

At our core, we're focused on helping you become a sales and marketing machine. We tap into the genius of the best salesfolks and marketers out there to give you daily tips to grow your leads, make more sales, and keep more customers.

2. Expert small business resources that cost you zero dollars

Want to go deep? We have you covered with free guides, webinars, and tools on a range of topics from marketing automation, CRM, and digital marketing to building sales and marketing strategies from the ground up. All for free. All for you.

3. We're focused 100 percent on small business success

We exist for one reason: helping small businesses succeed. We give you the ideas and insights you need to blow the competition out of the water. We serve business owners who are hungry to put in the hard work to grow their business and own the market.

4. We do the work for you

Running a small business is a 110 percent endeavor. You don't have time to surf Internet for the best small business insights and ideas out there. We'll do that for you with the best original content from our team and from industry experts and small business owners.

5. But wait, there's more!

Small business success means more than just sales and marketing, so we also hit on a range of topics to help your small business thrive, including personal and business growth, customer service, and business management.

6. Righteous GIFs

OK, we said five reasons, but we like to overdeliver...and GIFs. We really like GIFs. You're bound to see some righteous ones.

GIF of Ferris Bueler principal's assistant

P.S. We'll never give out your information. We'll only use it to send you awesome content and resources, if you're cool with that.