Why This Salesperson Failed to Succeed

Updated: Jan 29

In addition to strategic sales planning, we provide sales recruiting strategies to help our clients optimize growth. I thoroughly enjoy recruiting candidates and it leads to a lot of very interesting conversations.


One of those recent conversations with a "sales candidate" was focused on why he was not successful with his prior company. (A successful track record closing sales is a very important criteria for recruiting ideal candidates).


This particular conversation really surprised me, because I expected to hear a common excuse why the candidate did not have success in their prior role:

"not enough good leads or accounts" or "the company culture was toxic" but instead it was just the opposite:


.......he had too many opportunities that he didn't have time to follow up on them all.


Honestly, I could not recall a salesperson who ever admitted to having "too much" opportunity.


That stopped me in my tracks.


I had to stop & think if I ever felt this same way and I have found myself guilty as the rest of you greedy sales people reading this....


.....Earlier in my sales career I was having a pretty solid run of success and felt bold enough to request more territory - which was the entire state of Indiana....... in addition to my current market of Central & Southern Ohio.


I was very naive to think this was a good idea and was blinded by my own perceived need for more opportunity.


To have taken on more geography, I would literally have had to "cherry pick" the existing accounts in the territory and would not been able to reach all the active clients with any regularity.


This would have resulted in a lot of "unharvested fruit" and me feeling probably just as frustrated and unproductive as my client's candidate.


Maybe he was actually right about his recent struggles.....


Getting back to that conversation - which prompted me to write this article:


As we discussed more about why his previous "sales gig" didn't work out, my questions never lead to him saying that his failure was related to his company, market, or pricing. In fact, it was the contrary. The company was reliable, responsive, and one of the largest in their market.


Demand for his company products was so high, he had too much opportunity to call on.


He continued saying he had so many leads that he was not being productive or efficient - he didn't have enough time for the critical "follow up" needed to win more.


He wasn't performing the necessary follow up on quotes and closing enough deals to hit his targeted "conversion rate" of 50%.


This candidate was left "quoting and hoping" his deals would close successfully on their own, with the minimal follow up his schedule allowed.


He knew he was getting "outsold" by his competition.


He further told me he was not slowing down when in front of his prospects and having the quality conversations needed to win more business, because he had too many prospects to see.


He essentially was running a "milk route".


These factors all resulted in him being very inefficient (his win rate was hovering around 25%) and this contributed to him not hitting his monthly sales quota.


He was working 10+ hours a day just to quote all his opportunities. To make matters worse: he stopped exercising and sharing quality time with his family which lead to his eventual "burnout". His "outlook" declined and he failed at his previous sales role.


The question this poses for many business owners and sales leaders is:


How do you manage your territories, to achieve a maximum level of sales effectiveness?


How do you accomplish this without making your tenured sales people feel compromised with a smaller amount of opportunity and keep them motivated with a positive outlook?


Is there a "territory plan" you can implement to make sure your team is not leaving opportunity behind and left to your competition to harvest?


A strategy that can also help your sales people become more efficient and successful by "working smarter and not harder" and in the process maintain a healthier "work/life" balance?


The best practice I've personally used and now help clients implement is a strategy that uses "score-keeping" to carefully measure conversion rates (win percentage).


Our approach to keeping score first establishes a company "sales process" that ensures opportunities do not magically appear in your pipeline at the proposal or quote stage.


You will quickly learn if your team is not maximizing their opportunity to harvest more business when all their deals are being captured and tracked in your CRM - at the earlier sales stages we call "initial contact", "discovery" and "consultative meeting".


If your team is not using CRM efficiently to help them track opportunities through a complete sales cycle, chances are they are "cherry picking" their market and leaving a lot of fruit for your competition to harvest.


My personal experience is that the tenured sales people almost always sell more and earn more commission with a more focused approach.


They win more because they slow down & become more strategic selling & that not only improves their "win rate" but also leads to them winning bigger, more profitable deals.


We help you establish a sales process that delivers the results and strategy for tracking the activities your team must perform to achieve a higher level of "sales effectiveness".


This planning leads to a happier, healthier life for you and your entire team.


If strategic sales development is something you are interested in learning more about, let's schedule a 15 minute conversation.


We can increase your margins, revenue and help your sales people win more.


Schedule now or


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