Attention Sales Leadership... Are You Setting Your Team Up For Failure?

sales leaders sales professionals Sep 13, 2020

“I’d say handling people is the most important thing you can do as a coach. I’ve found every time I’ve gotten into trouble with a player, it’s because I wasn’t talking to him enough.” - Lou Holtz

Sales are the engine. Sales drives profits, growth and success.

Just like any engine, your team needs maintenance on a routine basis in order to keep them humming along nicely.

Any mechanic can tell you that the best-maintained engine can break down due to the unexpected failure of individual parts.

I will ask you to think about the following:

  • When is the last time you did routine maintenance within your team?
  • When is the last time you gave your team a sales health check-up?

The sales health of your team has a direct bearing on the health of their sales pipeline



It's fair to say, many in sales fail to close every sales opportunity. A consistent batting average of .300 in baseball and a player sets themself up for a huge payday. Ironic isn't it, they fail to hit the ball 70% of the time?

  • How many on your team fail 70% or more of the time to close their targeted opportunities?
  • How many on your team have holes throughout their sales funnel?
  • How many on your team carry the same opportunities every month on their funnel report?

The lack of opportunities can be pin-pointed back to one thing - prospecting!

I'm sad to say, many in sales have developed the dreaded disease called Lackitis Prospectitus
These dreaded disease attacks 1 out of every 2 on your sales team. Lackitis Prospectitus doesn't happen overnight. It is a slow growing, self-induced disease. Through years of scientific research, I have pinpointed the root cause, identified the culprit and even created a name for the culprit.

Allow me to introduce you to... Managementus Enablementus - otherwise known as enablement by management

When your salespeople spend a majority of their time baby-sitting the client base, moaning and groaning about how busy they are, not paying attention to new business opportunities, cross-selling opportunities or referral opportunities because of all the "stuff" they are doing while subsequently being rewarded extravagant President's Club trips, I call this Managementus Enablementus.

My sales leader friends, you're the reason why many on your team fail to close more new business!

Sales leadership, you have hypnotized yourself into believing what you are not doing doesn't work.


Article upon article on sales tells us how it's harder than ever to sell. Let's layer into this the turbulent, troublesome and chaotic time of the present (COVID19); and where does this leave you and your team?

How many on your team are 'at' or 'above' their plan number year-to-date?

With the course of recent events, more and more opportunities are ending up in “no decision” status than ever before.

I am concerned, many of you have been bitten by your sales sins of the past. You have let complacency, your ego and yes fear set in. You have allowed it to get the best of you!

The way it is now is the not the way it will be
When is the last time you examined the way your team engages with their clients?

Is it conceivable they could sell smarter and more effectively than they are today?

The status quo, it's not working and it’s getting worse! Fight back and look for better ways to improve your sales results. Rather than lamenting, bitching and moaning - do something about it! It is not 1999 any longer!


Your mindset plays such a critical role in your ability to succeed or fail. If you’re afraid to fail, you’ll stop yourself from trying new things. You will miss out on having the opportunity to broaden your skill set as well as trying a wide variety of new experiences to help your team grow.

Ask yourself:

What can I gain, what do I want to learn, and what opportunities will be lost if I prevent myself from taking new actions?

How will this affect my sales team?


Are you feeding your mind through education or by uncovering new ideas and trends within your specific industry?

You must continuously be adopting new competencies and skill sets. In turn, it is your responsibility to pass on these new skill sets to your team in order for them to become better.

Imagine the head coach on any professional sports team... if they aren't enhancing the level of their teams' play, what usually happens to them? Need I answer?

Being open to new ideas does not come easy. In fact, change plays mind tricks but without the right mindset, learning will not occur. Your team will not grow!

"I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying."

Michael Jordan
You must develop the mind of a champion. You must adopt and develop a growth mindset, or you are setting your team up for failure.

A growth mindset is based on the belief you can cultivate your team's ability to learn. It’s not about getting things right the first time, it’s about learning over time. You must realize, in order for your team to succeed within this highly connected, rapidly changing business world, you must adopt a new mindset.


The gap between relevance and obsolescence is growing wider every day. If your salespeople are to remain relevant, they must adapt to change. They must do so before "change" beckons the call. This means you must adapt to change yourself.

In order for your salespeople to remain relevant, they must adapt and self-educate themselves with emerging trends inside their industry; to anticipate new direction and foresee the writing on the wall which demands innovation.

Coach your salespeople to stay relevant and adapt to the rapidly changing environment by:

Welcoming and learning from failure
Asking for help and soliciting feedback
Becoming voracious learners
Becoming focused on the process of growth
Becoming extremely accountable to themselves
Checking their ego at the door
"If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less."

General Eric Shinseki


Reality, like it or not, the presence of all types of social whether it is social media, social selling or social networks is here to stay.

Take the crisis filled times of the present, if anything it's becoming a bit more mainstream and all the more encompassing. It layers in quite nicely with traditional sales approaches.

Social networks offer an excellent opportunity for your team to demonstrate their expertise.

Stop rolling your eyes! Yes, I know it is a tricky endeavor as you all try to manage your time and patience levels. However, failure to cultivate social networks will become a recipe for disaster within your team.

You are directly responsible to ensure all of your salespeople meet or exceed quota!
Social allows your salespeople to expand their reach exponentially by using technology allowing them to socialize on a grander scale.

Coach your team to develop the mindset and skill set as they tap into their social networks to help grow their business.

This allows your team to:

Discover where their clients hang out online
Discover opportunities to listen, listen and continue to actively listen to what is being said online - dial up the social phone!
Reach out, start conversations, build relationships geared towards moving to an offline conversation
Social intelligence is the key to unlocking conversations


Are you accepting a failure to adopt and adapt growth mindset, thus settling for status quo?

A status quo mindset, it's a sales death sentence.
Set aside and squash “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mindset. This would be acceptable if your current sales conversion rates for profitable new business was 2-3X higher year over year.

What will you do about it?

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