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9 Reasons Your Sales Team Will Fail in 2019


You have laid the groundwork for a great 2019. Your corporate/company did a retreat and you came up with a game plan to achieve your company goals. You took the time to have a meeting with your business development team and laid out what their goals/objectives are for the year. You gave a great speech and you were very motivational and inspiring. You really feel like this is the year that your team gets the job done.

As you reflect on 2018, you had a great year, maybe only a good year. What would make 2019 a fantastic year?

Would having your team motivated and committed to achieving their goals be sufficient?

Here are some reasons that we at Lift/Sandler have found that will prevent your team from being fantastic like they should and could be:

1. Your selection process- You don’t have a system in place to effectively select the right candidates. Given the low unemployment rates right now, hiring is a high priority for everyone and this causes people to rush their hiring process, if they have one, and make a bad selection. The person may be a good person and may deserve a seat on your bus, just not your sales bus. We coach companies how to do this effectively or do it for them.

2. Your goals- your company goals automatically become the salesperson’s goals. This does not give the salesperson any ownership or emotional connection to the goals that they have been given. There is a better approach to this and it can be very rewarding, however, it does take more work on the leadership part. When the going gets tough, when they face rejection, what will motivate them to keep on pushing through that negativity? There is the 10% that will figure it out and make it happen. The rest I suppose you have turned over year after year, that does sound expensive. Have your team get crystal clear on their short-term goals/desires, and their longer-term goals/desires. Fully understand where they want to go and help them get

there. Have them put together what they want to do for the year and see how that aligns with your corporate objectives. My experience has shown that they always come up with larger goals if they are their own and they own them.

3. No specific cookbook – you don’t have your team following a specific prospecting plan that has been developed through trial and error. You are not tracking enough matrix to fully understand what it takes daily to achieve the results necessary. We tend to be overly optimistic about how good we are and thus we don’t do enough to get the results. Don’t expect newer sales associates to know what it takes to get the results, you may have to dictate those activities in the beginning. If you are a new business with a new team, then you are starting from scratch and how you track and measure becomes paramount to building a lasting sales process for the future.

4. Trainer – Coach – Supervisor – Mentor – How much time should you be spending in each role as a leader? Most leaders we come across confuse the different roles. Training is very different from coaching. Supervising is different than mentoring. Focusing on what each individual needs is the key to knowing where to spend your time effectively.

5. Too infrequent meetings – I know you are thinking the last thing I need is more meetings. However, when it comes to your sales team, they need that time and you need that time to keep them on track as well. They don’t have to be that long, supervisor meetings are 5-10 minutes. Did you do the job or not. Training and coaching can take more time and should be scheduled as such. Quite a few leaders think their sales team is like them when they were selling and nothing could be further from the truth. Most likely hardly any of them will be like the leader, thus individual coaching- mentoring- training is best.

6. You focus too much on results – the reasons stated above, quite a few leaders don’t have the patience to truly mentor and train effectively and expect salespeople to “get it” faster. While that can work for the 10%, you will be missing out on some very talented people who would excel with the right leadership from you. If you only focus on results, you are missing the whole process. Have your team follow a process, evaluate them on the process. If the process does not get the results, then you don’t have a results issue, you have a process issue.

7. You aren’t celebrating failure – in sales, we face a lot of rejection, a lot of negativity, and if we only focus on results, we tend to forget what it takes to get the results and celebrate those failures. Celebrate the rejections. Celebrate every NO they get because they are then one more NO closer to a yes.

8. You are using the year as a measurement- it has been proven over and over that people can only go hard for short periods of time. By short periods I mean a quarter at a time. So having goals broken down into quarterly goals and then taking a week to assess the activity to results, reviewing your key performance indicators and adjusting either the activity or reducing/increasing goals for the next quarter. That way your year will not get away from you.

9. You don’t have a Leadership cookbook- just as you would have your sales team have a cookbook for prospecting and doing their job, you as the leader should have a leadership/management cookbook to handle your team.

To be an effective sales leader or owner of a company who has salespeople, there are a lot of hats to wear and coming up with your own leadership cookbook will save you time and frustration in leading a team of sales people.

At Lift Consulting, we specialize in finding your blind spots in your sales leadership role, which once identified and corrected, will make you a more effective sales leader, thus your sales team will get better too.

Please reach out to us to see if there is a fit to work together.

Steve Aune

Steve Aune

Steve Aune is an Executive Coach who's focus is helping leaders of organizations excel. Steve brings a unique perspective to each client engagement with his vast experience and business acumen.