Why Salespeople Fail

When I am asked to diagnose why an individual or even an entire team are not performing at optimum levels, I usually ask just four very straightforward questions:

  • Are they visiting/talking to enough clients/prospects? In other words are they pro-active and are their activity levels high? I call this CCT as a percentage of TWT (Customer Contact Time as a percentage of Total Working Time)
  • Are they talking to the right people within those client/prospect organisations? Are they able to penetrate the formal DMU (Decision Making Unit) and reach the MAN? (The person or people with the Money, Authority and Need)
  • Are they saying/doing the right things? This really means – how strong are their selling skills?
  • And finally, how is their attitude – that small thing that makes such a big difference.

From these four questions, I usually discover the answer but actually, it can sometimes be a little more complex and I refer to the “Eight Reasons Why Salespeople Fail

  1. Wrong or no selection process – The wrong person for the position.
  2. Wrong or no training – Insufficiently developed.
  3. Wrong or no planning – Expected to do all of their own planning.
  4. Wrong or no supervision – Left without competent supervision.
  5. Wrong or no motivation – Not properly motivated to meet objectives.
  6. Wrong or no stimulation – Not stimulated by appropriate incentives.
  7. Wrong or no evaluation – Not regularly appraised against a set of agreed objectives.
  8. Wrong or no executive action – Not adequately supported by a competent manager.

If you are a sales manager, consider your part in this equation. According to these criteria, do you feel your current team is poised for success? Hopefully you can say yes! If not, this list will hopefully draw attention to how you can help your team exercise their potential.