Sales Performance * Part 4/5 * Why Sales Leaders struggle

In our second to last installment of Why Sales Teams Struggle, we’ll go into two more reasons why sales teams and sales leaders under-perform.

7.   Letting the “Pinocchio effect” run your sales meetings.

In sales, especially within companies with direct sales forces like ingredient suppliers or co-manufacturers in the food industry, you either have a YES, a NO, or a CLEAR FUTURE.

If those 4 words tell the whole story, then why do sales people embellish their pipelines and why does management accept it?

Get on the same page, and get on the same page now; otherwise, your sales pipeline is inaccurate at best, complete fiction at its worst.  With longer sales cycles, this embellishment can dramatically impact a company’s forecast and throw off all the segments of the business that are relying on new, clean revenue.

When tracking the behavior of recently placed hires, ask specific questions about # of calls, # of face to face calls, proposals submitted, and revenue generated.  If there’s any “gray area” in these discussions, it occurs because a) the sales person hasn’t closed effectively on a commitment(yes, no, a clear future) and b) the manager accepts the answer.

Companies that have a handle on their sales metrics can answer these questions within a moment’s notice, because they hold themselves accountable for managing the pipeline and the activity of the sales force.

8.   Neglecting to develop the salesperson’s skills and knowledge

Our best clients have an external, on-going sales specific training program instituted for its new hires and existing sales force.

Management is involved as well, influencing all involved and eliminating any obstacles or resistance as it arises.

Companies invest in training to ensure that “trainable” and “high desire” candidates will flourish within their sales model.

As we’ve talked about in earlier posts, no sales person is perfect. Take responsibility for providing them on-going, sales specific training to work on those weaknesses and to help magnify their strengths.


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