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3 Reasons Why B2B Sales Reps Strike Out on the Phone

2 min readMay 12, 2016

When you get on the phone with prospects, you are the front-line emissary for your brands. With the right knowledge and attitude, your prospects will see you as an ally who is helping them solve problems. But far too often, sales reps and SDRs strike out during sales calls. Why do they strike out? Usually it comes down to the fact that they aren’t adequately prepared.

Strike outSure, preparing for a sales call takes a bit more time than calling cold. But it’s worth it. You can source more opportunities from fewer calls. And have far fewer of those bad calls that alienate prospects and make your brand look bad.

I’ve made and taken my fair share of sales calls. And here are the top 3 reasons that I’ve seeing sales reps strike out during calls.

They Don’t Understand What They’re Selling

You need to know what you’re selling. This should be the first rule of sales.

B2B sales reps should always know:

  • A product’s feature set
  • All possible integration points (for SaaS products)
  • Technical requirements
  • What problems it solves
  • How solutions can help prospects in varying roles
  • Product roadmap (for the next 6 months)

If reps are selling complex products or selling to various personas, then it’s perfectly fair for reps to use cheat sheets. As an example, buyer persona cards can help you tailor-fit messaging to various roles.

They Don’t Know the Competition

Reps not only need a thorough understanding of their own offerings. It’s likewise important to understand what the competition is selling. Reps should be aware of the ways that their solution can exceed various competitors. If a competitor is beating you in a certain area, reps should know how to mitigate those weaknesses. As an example, if a certain company has a lower price point, reps should focus on the additional features they offer that the competitor doesn’t.

This is a great opportunity for Sales and Marketing to work together. By enabling sales reps with a list of competitors and intelligent talking points around each competitor, Marketing can greatly increase the win rate on competitive deals.

They Don’t Understand Prospects’ Marketplace

The best sales reps understand something about their prospects’ marketplace. They know industry-specific use cases, terms and key competitors. When reps can speak their prospects’ language, it’s going to yield much better results.

As an example, some of our customers in the healthcare industry are using our call routing engine to help route patients’ calls to the best available medical specialists. But the same product is being used by real estate companies to route calls to the agent that handles a particular property. The product is virtually the same, but we wouldn’t sell it the same way to a real estate agent that would to a healthcare provider.

Looking for some more ways to help your sales team have successful sales calls? Look no further than our call evaluation checklist!