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Sales Goal Sabotage: The 5 Most Deadly Sales Management Mistakes

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Tony Watson, CSL PRESIDENT Serving All of WNY, NYTony Watson, Certified Sales Leader
As an Outsourced VP of Sales, I help businesses achieve breakthrough Sales Growth, Accountability and Execution.

Want to kill sales opportunities? Want to make it impossible for your sales team to achieve individual, team and company sales goals? Want to fall behind your competitors and put your company on a “death watch?” Of course not. In fact, I’m pretty sure you’d prefer to create sales opportunities. You’d rather help your sales team meet quotas that align with bigger-picture sales goals. And you’d like to help your organization outpace the competition.

And yet far too many sales managers and executives make the same costly selling mistakes over and over. Which mistakes am I talking about? At Sales Xceleration, we’ve found – based on more than 900 completed Sales Agility Assessments – that these 5 sales mistakes are among the most dangerous for sales success:

Mistake #1: No Goal Alignment
Nearly 2 in 3 Sales Agility Assessment respondents (65%) indicated they don’t align the sales rep’s quota to overall company goals. This can create confusion when prioritizing sales efforts. It also makes it difficult for the sales rep to see how their efforts contribute to overall company success.

Fixing the Mistake:

DON’T present individual and team quotas in a vacuum. DON’T assume your sales reps have a clear understanding of the big-picture company growth and revenue goals. If you don’t pay them to be concerned with your company’s objectives, they won’t care to the degree you would like.

DO establish SMART individual sales goals (i.e., goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely). And DO draw and communicate clear connections to bigger goals at the team and company levels.

Mistake #2: Ignorance of Competitors and Differentiators
A full 75% of Sales Agility Assessment respondents indicated they don’t know their competition well enough to differentiate themselves effectively. This makes it hard to sell if you don’t understand what you’re up against!

Fixing the Mistake:

DON’T assume your sales reps are equipped to differentiate your company’s solutions from your competitor’s. DON’T expect them to represent your company well if they don’t know what sets you apart.

DO provide communications, tools and training necessary for your sales reps to make a clear and compelling case why customers should buy from you. Make sure they know and fully articulate your value proposition. After all, if your reps don’t know why your solution is best, your customers won’t either.

Mistake #3: Inadvertently Setting Up Turf Wars
Nearly 2 in 3 Sales Agility Assessment respondents (65%) indicated they don’t have separate and distinct sales territories to ensure the maximization of revenue and elimination of customer conflict. Lack of clear territories can create chaos within your sales team culture. What’s more, it can tarnish not only your team’s chances for success, but also can tarnish your company’s reputation in your marketplace.

Fixing the Mistake:

DON’T assume boundaries are understood. DON’T assume customer targeting criteria are clear from one sales rep to the next. And DON’T underestimate the cost to your organization (in redundant effort and reputational risk) when multiple reps pursue the same customer or niche market.

DO establish clear territories – geographic or by customer type – that eliminate overlap. DO establish sales strategies and processes that maximize ROI on each rep’s targeted efforts.

Mistake #4: Lack of Commitment to Initial and Ongoing Training
Nearly 3 in 4 Sales Agility Assessment respondents (74%) indicated they don’t provide initial or ongoing training to ensure their sales reps have the knowledge they need to do their jobs well. If your company is among that proactive 26% that does provide such training, you’ve got an edge on the competition. If not, you’ve got an opportunity to improve and gain market share.

Fixing the Mistake:

DON’T undervalue the importance of frequent sales training that equips sales team members to succeed. DON’T assume your entire sales team needs the exact same training.

DO make sales training a priority, not just when onboarding a new sales team member, but throughout their career in your organization. This will enable continuous performance improvement and empower sales reps to consistently deliver excellent results. DO customize your training to fit the individual needs of each sales team member.

Mistake #5: Inadequate and Ineffective Preparation
On a related note, more than 6 in 10 Sales Agility Assessment respondents (63%) indicated they don’t know if the sales training they DO provide effectively and properly prepares their sales reps for success. Even more important is a well-trained sales leader. Too often we see successful sales reps get promoted to manager, but they don’t receive any leadership training to support their new role.

Fixing the Mistake:

DON’T underestimate the importance of effective sales training to the success of your sales team.

DO make sure your training programs cover essential components to equip sales reps to act with confidence and competence every day and with every customer. And DO make sales training measurement a priority. Also, DO understand that creating effective training to optimize sales performance is important at every level of the sales organization.

The Bottom Line:

The best sales strategies require a solid sales infrastructure. They also require aligning sales quotas with company objectives, understanding your competitors, and providing effective and ongoing training. In fact, we’ve found companies that do this have a greater than 300 times better chance of achieving their sales goals!

But if your company is among the 63 to 75% who continue to sabotage sales goals by making these deadly sales management mistakes, we can help.

Comment your experience with Sales Goal Sabotage, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

For help driving sales, contact me below or send a DM:

Tony Watson, CSL | PRESIDENT | 716-508-0046 | [email protected]

Serving All of WNY, NY