8 Q1 Observations of Today’s Sales Organizations

by Amy Kohl

It’s clear to me that the landscape of sales is ever-evolving, yet the foundational truths that underpin successful sales strategies remain constant. Our unique tactical and math-based approach continues to distinguish our place in the market. Reflecting on Q1 observations amongst the 100 different sales organizations we collaborated with, several observations emerge, reinforcing the importance of top funnel strategy, executive influence, and sales execution.

Let's dive into my 8 Q1 observations I want to highlight in this blog. 

#1 Embrace Pain Points

I’ve heard a ton of personalities talk about this on LinkedIn lately, and they’re right - “money follows pain”. The conventional approach of selling benefits is becoming less effective. Instead, focusing on identifying and alleviating your customer's pain points can significantly enhance your at-bats and win rates. Offering solutions to problems rather than the benefits of your product suggests the immediate needs of your prospects. If you truly are alleviating the pain of your prospects, be direct about that and emphasize you're the partner they want…leading me to #2.

#2 Who & When > What

In sales, engaging with the right individual is more critical than the intricacies of your sales technique. I see this every day...the pattern of meaningful, relevant touch points to the members of the buying team is what moves the needle - not your meticulously crafted, 400-word single email to your assumed signer. Which you also won’t bump for at least 2 weeks so you don't come off desperate.  

You can have a less polished approach if you’re genuinely targeting to the decision-makers about a pain you know you can solve.  Your chances of success are infinitely higher. Conversely, the most refined sales pitch will fall flat if directed at the wrong person or without the right cadence of touchpoints. This emphasizes the need for strategic targeting to build consensus early with appropriate nurture patterns to build measurable momentum within these prospect accounts.

#3 Cold Emails That Resonate

The most impactful cold emails are those that mirror the internal dialogues of your prospects, focusing on their challenges rather than your product. This approach not only garners attention but also establishes a connection by demonstrating empathy and understanding of their specific pain points. Use the  Buyer Persona GPT for Sales to build content around the key initiatives and phrases your prospects are likely using in their day-to-day. What used to take extensive research or industry tenure is now available with the right prompts. And, if you’re good at measuring success within your cold emails, you can quickly dial in what resonates most by response rates and meetings. 

#4 The Velocity of Follow-Up. Urgency is a strength, not desperation.

In sales, timing is everything. The agility with which you follow up on leads sets you apart. My goal is immediate follow up when I am introduced via email to a potential prospect - this shows my referrer that I am attentive to their relationships and value their consideration, but it also displays the communication response times they can expect as a customer. 

Intentional delays, in my opinion, are a cop-out and dishonest mindset. If you’re genuinely solving problems and building partnerships, you don’t operate with a mindset like that.  Moving quickly shows your commitment and interest in providing solutions, challenging the notion that rapid follow-up conveys desperation. In reality, speed sells.

#5 Selectivity of Enterprise Deals

The secret to mastering enterprise deals lies in selective pursuit. Focusing on a handful of opportunities where you have a competitive edge and investing your efforts to win those deals will lead to greater success – as long as there’s deal flow from marketing / SDR supplementing the closers pipeline with at-bats of mid-market deals. This is the magic marriage we have with the closers we support with the AK Ops program.  Closers can not effectively work 30 enterprise accounts. It must be tight and selective to be effective.

#6 Business Acumen Enhances “Sales” to “Partnerships”

Developing a strong foundation of business acumen can dramatically enhance the effectiveness of your sales techniques. This depth of understanding transforms hollow, superficial interactions into meaningful problem-solving conversations. This is the difference of selling something and building a partnership. This will improve the trust and alignment throughout the entire sales process and sets the foundation for stronger partnership.

#7 Emotion Drives Decisions

While ROI is necessary for justifying a purchase, the emotional connection is what truly motivates a decision. Hence why #1 and #6 are so important - you’re legitimately solving pain and you know what the hell you’re talking about so you’re trustworthy. 

If there is no emotional tie to solving the pain and you’re unable to connect with the buyer to establish this to truly be a goal of theirs, then it’s in the closers best interest to withdraw. Understanding when to withdraw from a deal can be as valuable as winning. Identifying unwinnable scenarios early allows for more efficient allocation of resources and time.

Great sales calls and emails start with meticulous planning and the right tone of voice. The power of words to trigger emotional responses and drive action is a skill that all salespeople want to cultivate. Negotiations and discussions around pricing benefit from a confident and unflustered approach. This is a major challenge for closers - and that same notion of appearing desperate sneaks back up. Deals stall or don’t close at all, simply because that notion of desperation creeps up again… and overrides our confidence to be assertive even when we know we can solve their pain.

#8 Chasing Bottlenecks

I always say we are always chasing bottlenecks in our partnerships. Folks come to us for more at-bats, then we achieve that. Then the qualified pipeline grows and deals start stalling – so we direct our attention to rev ops and insights to direct leadership to the coaching opportunities of their closers or the deals in need of their intervention. And while these 8 observations from Q1 are certainly originated from our work with closers, I am excited to see the needle move and collaboration grow with our sales teams. 

Click here to connect and learn more!