8 Nightmares that Haunt Salespeople and Marketers

December 13, 2021

I used to be terrified of the Rubix cube as a kid, and prime numbers in mathematics still give me the creeps. Whenever the Daleks appeared on Doctor Who, my friend would hide behind the sofa, peeking out and ducking back.


But there are far scarier things than a cartoon villain or a robot with a plunger if you work in sales. Here's a list of the terrifying nightmares that will keep you awake. Don't worry; it's not for the faint of heart. We'll also walk you through surviving these tragedies in less time than it takes to say "sonic screwdriver."


The darkest dreams of SDRs


The SDR works on the front lines of sales, chasing down leads and delivering them to the closures, usually with the steely-eyed dedication that the Doctor would admire. However, when things go awry, you may find yourself in your own horror story.


1. “Nooooo!” - Repeated Rejection

Everything appears to be fine at first, then things gradually deteriorate. If the phone line goes out, all doors appear to be locked. You're being pursued around by a frightening doll on a tricycle before you realize it. No, I am not interested in playing a game.

Sales is a highly rewarding career with many benefits and opportunities in the future. It can, however, be more difficult than one of Jigsaw's puzzles if you aren't prepared.

As an SDR, you'll see and hear the word "no" far more than you ever imagined. It'll almost always be a courteous "no, thank you." It may be plain rude at times. In either case, hearing "no" all of the time can wear even the most optimistic people down.

You can do two things if you're tired of hearing no.

  • Consider whether you need to alter your approach. Request that your script/template be reviewed by your management or other more experienced SDRs. Then utilize their feedback to pinpoint any areas where you need to improve.
  • Accept rejection as a part of the sales process. No is heard far more often than yes by every salesperson. Successful salesman perceive each rejection as a step closer to the next yes, rather than allowing it to affect them.

In any case, don't be discouraged by the negatives. Instead of focusing on your responses, concentrate on the activities you can influence.

Bonus tip: Figure out what motivates you; it will keep you going when things get tough. This could be an external reason (e.g., a monetary objective, a vacation, or a car), but studies have shown that internal drive is more meaningful and robust.


2. The Gatekeeper's Tales

Gatekeepers often guard access to decision-makers, making it nearly hard to reach them, depending on the industry and the size of the company you're selling to. These people appear to exist solely to make your life as an SDR a misery, much like the Cryptkeeper (but without the cheesy jokes).

A little empathy and understanding, on the other hand, can go a long way. Contrary to popular belief, their role is not to frustrate you; it is to protect the decision-valuable maker's time so that they may focus on their high-value task. You're much more likely to get through them if you grasp what they're trying to accomplish.

Instead of attempting Jedi mind tricks or speaking white lies, make it apparent that you understand their stance, then clarify the specific objective of your call and how long it will take. Show that you care about them, and their time. Then, if you say you'll only require three minutes of their time, make sure you don't go even a second longer.

Another method to stand out is demonstrating that you've done your homework. Sales calls from reps just going through the phone book are nothing new to gatekeepers. These calls are targeted, which means they aren't always relevant to the organization. To make an impact, demonstrate that you've done your homework and that your product/service is directly tied to the company's objectives.

If you're still having trouble getting past the gatekeeper, consider changing your strategy. This could entail utilizing many channels, such as email or social media. You might also try calling at different times, such as early in the morning or late at night, when the gatekeeper is likely to be out of the office, but the decision-maker is expected to be present.


3. Quotas from another realm that are impossible to meet

Always try to sell something. Make a lot of effort. Eat, drink, and sell again. Your employers have clearly stated that you'll be terminated if you do not even meet your quota.

Sure, everyone knows that sales is a numbers game, and having a set of goals to work toward is beneficial. But if those goals are out of reach, you're in for a world of trouble. Even if you can initially keep up with speed, you will eventually burn out faster than The Wicker Man. Worse, the prospect will most likely pick up on it and conclude that you're more concerned about meeting your quota than assisting them.

While this may appear to be more frightening than burnout, the best option is to speak to your sales manager. Instead of ranting at them about their excessive expectations, have a conversation about what metrics are genuinely essential. Make sure you have enough time in the day to make all of your calls and have meaningful interactions with your prospects.


4. Zombie customers that don't respond

Consider the following scenario. You've spent a week designing cool email templates and putting together a fantastic campaign. You press the transmit button, but nothing happens. Or, much worse, you get unfavorable feedback. Even those who seemed hopeful and scheduled a meeting abruptly vanished, skipping the call and vanished into thin air.

You never had a chance, to be honest. They turned out to be dead all along, just like Bruce Willis.

Why? There could be several reasons, each with its own set of solutions:

  • Your campaign was never delivered to the intended recipient. It's possible that spam filters are preventing your prospects from ever seeing your email, even if you created a wonderful campaign and uploaded solid leads. There could be several reasons, each with its own set of solutions:

Spam filters are becoming more sophisticated, so instead of attempting to fool them, concentrate on best practices for sending emails. Utilizing a reputable site, using your real name, and making it easy for prospects to opt out of future emails, etc.

  • The information in your customer profiles is incorrect. Every hero must have a thorough understanding of his adversary. To kill a vampire, you must pierce their heart with a stake. Silver bullets are required by werewolves. Nothing less will suffice.

While I'm not proposing that your prospects are all monsters, you do need to know them better than Van Helsing knows Dracula. When we questioned 16 professionals about the most common mistakes people make when designing buyer personas, one of the most common suggestions is to research your personas rather than come up with ideas on the spur of the moment.

  • Prospects who are not qualified. While erroneous profiles make it difficult to identify who you're communicating with, if your prospects aren't qualified, you may speak with the wrong individual entirely. You wouldn't want to talk about your fantastic new accounting software with the head of marketing; that's simply basic sense.

The most important thing to ask is whether or not your product/service is a solution to one of their concerns. Anything else is a waste of time, and you shouldn't waste your time attempting to persuade them otherwise.

Is their business a suitable fit for them in size, market, and revenue? Is there a budget set aside to meet this requirement? What is their awareness level? If they're not a good fit right now, that's great; cultivate those leads. However, if they are, you can sell them.


5. The unexpected enquiry

We've all been in that situation. When a homicidal lunatic in a hockey mask arrives out of nowhere and attacks you, you're enjoying a peaceful walk around the lake.

Maybe it's just me, though.

You've probably felt the anxiety that occurs when the prospect asks the question in the middle of your presentation. The one you didn't see coming, don't know how to respond to, and who is now threatening to sabotage your prospects of closing the deal. Your voice rises an octave, your heart begins to beat quicker, and you sweat.

You begin mumbling something vague like, "Well, you see, customer satisfaction is a priority, and we prioritize customer satisfaction," all the while avoiding addressing their question. You may believe you've effectively evaded the question, but believe me when I say that the prospect has noticed and is not impressed.

To begin, you should be getting ready for your calls. It may sound hip to show up at the last minute like a rockstar, but your prospects will not appreciate it. You should be familiar with them, the product, and any queries they might have.

They might ask you questions you've never considered, much less prepared an answer for. Even if you've done your homework, there's a high possibility your prospect is reading from a different script than you. They might ask you questions you've never considered, much less prepared an answer for. If this occurs, please recite the following magical, ancient incantation:


To begin with, you're congratulating your prospect, which is always appreciated (as long as it's genuine). I understand that admitting you don't know anything might be intimidating, and there's always the risk that your prospect will label you an idiot before yelling and hanging up. But those kinds of prospects were bound to cause problems in the first place.

Others, on the other hand, will value your candor. On the other hand, you may believe you've gotten away with it, if you make up a response or try to dismiss the topic, but if the prospect finds out, you'll have lost their trust—and trust is priceless.


6. The dark lagoon's data quality

The success of a sales campaign is determined by the data that underpins it. If the data is wrong or incomplete, it doesn't matter how great your campaign is.

Much of this will be determined by the data's source. If you got the list from an unscrupulous fakir who also sells monkey paws, don't be surprised if much (or even all) of the information is incorrect or out of date. When using a scraper, the results are usually better, although there may still be missing information or blatant phony details.

Manually compiling the list is the most time-consuming approach, but it also ensures that the information you have is accurate. Because you should be double-checking the information. Anyhow, you'll likely save time in the long run, avoid embarrassing blunders, and possibly ruin your sender domain's reputation.

You're still not out of the woods. You should still double-check that the data is correct and ready to upload. If you're importing your leads as a CSV, double-check that no columns are mismatched (with First Name saved as Last Name, Website as Company Name, etc.). SDRs should typically devote the majority of their time to list cleaning, normalization, and standardization of all fields.


7. The worst fears of sales managers

The sales manager, who is stationed outside of the trenches, is in charge of directing a team effort. It may appear simple from the outside, but maintaining the sales crew working smoothly is a difficult endeavor that comes with its own set of nightmares.


  • Your sales superstars' lives are being sucked out by burnout

When the majority of the globe was required to begin working from home in 2020, many managers were concerned that no work would be completed. We worked longer hours than we had ever worked before. When employees in the United States moved to working from home instead of the office, they worked an extra three hours each day on average.

Of all, sales is a high-pressure profession at the best of times; before anyone had heard of COVID-19, 26% of salespeople worked weekends on a regular basis, despite the fact that they were unlikely to be reimbursed for the extra hours. The pandemic has further increased this stress by making salespeople feel obligated to work around the clock.


  • Administrative activities that eat up your time 

The Weeping Angels are the most terrifying aliens Doctor Who has ever encountered, even more, terrifying than the Daleks. These scary creatures can send someone back in time, allowing the Weeping Angel to feast on the energy from their unlived lives, despite turning to stone while anyone is looking.

They still don't have anything on administrative work. At first view, these seemingly innocuous professional activities may appear minor and trivial. If you take your gaze away from them for even a second, they'll pounce, devouring every second you have to spare.


  • Getting a dummy on the job 

You're trying to put together a top-notch 'Avengers' team of super salespeople, but you're stuck with Arm-Fall-Off Boy instead of Iron Man and Captain America.

They dressed the part, nailed all of the questions, and even brought cookies to the interview. However, after a few months, their sole accomplishment has been to bring more cookies. We all go through hard patches, but this is more of a flat line than a rough patch. They're destroying your firm from within.

When your sales 'superstar' frequently misses their targets, you must intervene and determine the root problem.

Are they having trouble generating leads or closing them? Attend one of their meetings and listen in on their pitch to see if you can see any problems. Make arrangements for additional training if you see a need.


  • You've lost your concentration

Why do characters in horror movies make such poor choices? They break up at every opportunity, explore every frightening sound on their own, and turn their backs on the monster when they believe they've won.

Hopefully, your choices aren't too horrible, but it's easy to lose focus when your to-do list is overflowing and nothing is going as planned.

Let's tackle that to-do list first. Prioritize your urgent/important duties while delegating or eliminating any non-essential tasks that are draining your mental resources. Remember that your job is to manage, not to sell, so don't try to solve your problems by acting like a salesperson. Define the specific steps you'll need to do, then go over them step by step.


8. Worst nightmares for sales directors

Surely, once you get the director's posh office, all the hard work is done. You don't have any nightmares, do you? With immense power, though, comes increased chances for things to go wrong.

  • Nineteenth-century software

Some teams are reliant on software that should have perished a long time ago, like the Mummy rising from the crypt. Additionally, ancient software, like The Mummy, have their curse. Early users of sales technology had much better lead acceptance than their non-early adopter peers, according to Aberdeen.

You may believe that saving money by utilizing old software is a good thing, but the study reveals that those who use the most up-to-date technology have an advantage. Make sure your organization is using the most up-to-date sales software that is tailored to your specific needs to avoid the Mummy's curse.


What can be done to avert this nightmare? When attempting to anticipate demand for specific campaigns, develop a model based on previous averages and construct projections based on similar data. It's also never a bad idea to be conservative!


What's the worst marketing nightmare you've ever had? What is it that you are most afraid of?


- Blog written by Meghana Dalal

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