Why Great Salespeople Fail


Sales results are about two things: Sales performance and sales productivity.

In order for us to get performance (the right wins) and productivity (the amount of wins to meet plan) it starts with hiring the right people.

But it doesn't end there. Too often I see an organization's revenues come in based on the relationships and success formulas of the individual salespeople; and most often, when we allow that to happen, we are not getting the customers we want, not selling the products we want at the price/yield we planned for.

In order to get sales performance and productivity, like anything else, we need to have a disciplined process in place:

- A management culture that trains our salespeople on the products and trains them on how to sell them.
- Regular, tactical coaching. The process involves joint sales calls with immediate feedback.
- The process needs to define which customers are good customers and which are not. Point your salespeople at the business you want. If you don't, they will gravitate to the sales they can make as opposed to work for the sales you need them to make.
- Manage, track and measure. A good, intuitive CRM system is critical. Salespeople manage their sales efforts, they collaborate with internal and external stakeholders. Management assesses and measures as to the key metrics of success, be they revenue targets, customer targets, product targets, Yield targets.

I haven't written much about the salespeople themselves, have I?

The bottom line is that when sales results don't come, don't look at the salespeople first. Make sure that your sales management process, system and culture are conducive.

Great sales people get great results when management has a good understanding of what they want to sell, for how much and to whom.

Great sales people get great results when they are given clear marching orders, when they are trained to sell, and coached to improve.

The onus is first and foremost on management.