3 Questions to Ask to Break Out of a Narrow Sales Mindset


When companies want more leads and more sales, what do they do? They do more. Often it’s more of what succeeded before, without people truly understanding what worked and what didn’t. So they do more of the same marketing and sales. They launch more of the same services and more of the same products. They smile and dial more, send another email, schedule another rep visit, pour more money into online ads, and wonder why this Sales Mindset isn’t paying off.

Doing more of everything and working harder on the status quo doesn’t guarantee increased revenue. Between the law of diminishing returns and evolving consumer demands, you need to break out of the old and narrow Sales Mindset to improve processes.

This means identifying the strategies and processes that work and don’t work for your company. Take an unbiased look at your internal processes and turn what you learn into new ideas and experiments. If it seems painful, relish the fact that you have far more control over an internal creativity vacuum than a deserted marketplace.

Working smarter starts with having a different, more agile Sales Mindset. To help you achieve that for your sales department, ask yourself the following questions. 

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#1 Are My Sales Processes Pushing Me Up or Holding Me Down?

You probably want driven, entrepreneurial, out-of-the-box thinkers for your sales team. But come interview time, you worry and wonder, “Is this person too aggressive? Can they collaborate? Or will they be too disruptive?” Then you end up hiring the same types of sales reps — those who simply toe the line on long-established sales processes. 

Sure, your company’s sales playbook may have enabled you to milk sales out of average reps. But if you overvalue sticking to the script, you miss out on crazy new ideas that lead you to untapped sales opportunities and showstopping gains. Without the “disruptive” go-getters who challenge the status quo, you’ll never have a forward-thinking mindset. You’ll squander the opportunity to redefine what you know and eliminate what you don’t know. 

Imagine if Steve Jobs didn’t pursue his crazy ideas or Elon Musk just stuck to tried-and-tested approaches. Your leads, just like iPhone and Tesla users, are hungry for something different. Give it to them. 

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#2 Are My Sales and Marketing Teams Integrated Enough? 

Sales says, “We need more leads.” Marketing replies, “We gave you more than enough qualified leads last month!” 

Does this sound familiar to you? It’s a classic marketing and Sales Mindset. Defining a quality lead using this model is prone to integration and attribution errors as well as data problems. 

Worse yet, it siloes the two departments, making it marketing’s job to generate leads and lob them over to sales, who tries to convert those leads into customers. It’s another issue of “more is better.” The more leads you pour into the sales funnel, the more that comes out of the bottom, right?

Instead of a top-down approach, it’s better to re-engineer your sales process by mapping the different paths that your best customers took before purchasing. After all, 68% of B2B buyers prefer to be the one to call sellers, rather than the other way around. 

When you understand the paths that worked, you can invest more in that channel and its processes. Zeroing in on a specific lead journey is also a great way to discover and address friction points, roadblocks, and bottlenecks along those paths. 

When sales and marketing ignore this and take a turn-and-burn mindset, they lower their conversion rates. Let’s see what this looks like in an all-too-common example.

A company is getting traction with leads coming in from a $10,000 monthly Google Ads budget. So sales and marketing get together and decide to double the budget with the expectation that results will double, or go even higher. Three months go by, and it’s not the sales boom everyone is expecting. Some teams will take it as a loss and lower the budget, others will drill down into the details.

With enough scrutiny, you may discover that Ads campaigns linking to your blog have high sales conversions rates after the budget increase, while campaigns that are linked to service pages are the ones that flounder. So from a big-picture view, Ads aren’t worth it. But an Ads campaign specific to your blog works like gangbusters.

This marketing insight is invaluable for your sales team. If these high-conversion leads come from a blog, they are likely people looking for answers. So if a salesperson calls them up to offer answers rather than a pitch, you can increase sales even further without increasing ad spend. 

Google Ads is wonderful because of all the data it provides. By putting their heads together, sales and marketing teams have tons of ammo to optimize for a specific goal.

Learn How to Set Up Effective Google Remarketing Ads

A Note on Google Ads

Google Ads campaigns operate on a pay-per-click model, so you only pay whenever someone clicks on your ad. If you are unhappy with leads generated by your Google Ads campaign, it may mean one of three things:

Google Ads campaigns operate on a pay-per-click model, so you only pay whenever someone clicks on your ad. If you are unhappy with leads generated by your Google Ads campaign, it may mean one of three things:

  1. Content problem – Your content was so uncompelling that the person who clicked your ad didn’t pursue your company anymore.
  2. Keyword problem – The person who clicked the ad found your content irrelevant to their search.
  3. Target problem – The wrong audience clicked on your ad. 

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#3 Are the Top Management’s Decisions Problematic?

Imagine that you, along with other members of the company’s top management, decide that the only way to grow is to target large businesses (i.e., companies with over 1,000 employees). Management wants to land these big whales with long sales cycles and high returns. Everyone in the company then shifts gears and gnash their teeth. Slowly, the sales roll in. 

But at the end of year one, the sales figures take a shallow dive. You discover the cause: your growth with large businesses is offset by your losses with small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Top management then says, “We expected that.” 

Year two rolls by and other players are now gobbling up the mid-market like a vacuum, while others are starting to make some inroads in the enterprise sphere. Top management says, “We expected that.” 

Year three comes along and the sales are at an all-time low. Finger-pointing is prolific, but the original members of top management are now gone. 

Sometimes, the hardest thing to do in leadership is to realize that your idea was bad. That’s why it’s important that feedback moves uphill and that top management becomes receptive to that. This is a lesson that Boeing is learning painfully with its 737 MAX crisis. 

In contrast, Marvel has done a terrific job of shifting its Sales Mindset. After a tumultuous change in leadership and a drastic shift in sales strategy from comics to movies, the company was able to move from bankruptcy to one of Hollywood’s biggest brands. 

Find out How Marketing Can Help Consultative Sales People Close More Deals


As you reflect on what your goals and sales targets are for the next six months or year, explore the answers to the questions above. Get as many employees involved in the process to get everyone rowing in the same direction, at the same time, and with a better Sales Mindset


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