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One important belief every leader must accept is that everything is their fault. If you are shocked by this statement, allow me to explain.

The salesperson failing to hit their targets belongs to you, the leader. You could provide them with training, development, or coaching, but if they refuse to make the changes, you may have to remove and replace them. This is required of leaders.

Despite this, sales leaders often create obstacles that prevent them from reaching their sales goals. The following list covers the nine main obstacles sales leaders create.

  1. Too Much Required Pipeline Coverage: It’s important to have coverage in your sales pipeline, but once it reaches ludicrous levels, you are making it more difficult for your sales team to hit their targets. The more you require your sales force to create suspect opportunities, the more time you take away from them. As a result, they spend time that should be spent pursuing your dream clients on filling the pipeline with poor opportunities. Wasting time on companies you are not likely to convert prevents your team from working on high-probability deals.
  2. Allowing Low Sales Effectiveness: Activity is important, but only when it is effective. Too many sales leaders prioritize activity to combat low sales effectiveness, but activity doesn’t cause a buyer to buy from your salesperson and your company. The salesperson’s effectiveness and performance cause decision makers to buy from your team.
  3. Leaving the Legacy Approach in Place: It is easy to believe that the way you sold coming up is what your team needs to succeed. But, as the data shows, it is clear buyers want a different conversation. Your contacts lack the confidence and certainty to move forward. None of the older sales approaches are built on providing decision makers with these intangibles. Buyers want more help from the salespeople they engage with an important change initiative.
  4. Lack of Personal and Professional Development: Several people believe that neither B2B Sales nor B2B Buying has changed in the 21st Century. Nothing could be farther from the truth, even if one wishes to do what they have always done. If you are not paying attention to the major changes and trend lines, you may not know that you need to upskill your sales force.
  5. Reliance on Technology: The promise of technology to create efficiency and speed sales reps to the results hasn’t lived up to the hype. The larger the tech stack, the less likely your sales force is able to sell effectively. Much of what masquerades as efficiency is an expense that yields no real impact on results while requiring maintaining all the software they must update and manage.
  6. Too Few One-Up Sales Reps: A salesperson who has greater knowledge and experience than their prospective client. The One-Up account executive has information disparity, allowing them to provide their clients with information and insights that help them better understand what they need to do to improve their results.
  7. Too Little Time with Prospective Clients: We have all been too willing to spend time in front of screens. The pandemic has ended, and if your team isn’t sitting across from the buyers and decision makers in their facility, you will confirm your client’s belief that you are a commodity. It sends the message that you and your sales force can only transact, which limits your ability to be consultative. You are now or will lose deals you might have won had you cared enough to visit with your client in their building.
  8. Ineffective Strategies for Motivating Your Sales Team: Salespeople are not motivated to ensure their sales leader and their company succeed. One must need to know people do things for their own reasons. A good leader would know exactly what motivates each person on their team and would weave that knowledge into the conversations they have with an individual. At the 2022 OutBound Conference, one sales rep quit his job because his sales manager didn’t know that his motivation was his children.
  9. Email and Automation: No one books a meeting by emailing. By allowing your sales force to send emails to ask for a meeting, you are preventing them from using the phone, the best and most effective way to acquire a first meeting. What is worse is the automation of prospecting sequences, something that may die a painful death in 2024. Prepare.

The role of the sales leader has never been more complex or challenging. Whenever something becomes complex, go back to the fundamentals. Salespeople need to book first meetings, create value in the sales conversation, and help the client explore what they need to do to improve their results.

You advise reducing pipeline coverage to 2X instead of 4X. Use the newly free time and effort improving your sales force’s effectiveness, even if you need to reset your team by training, developing, and coaching your sales reps. If you haven’t already replaced the legacy approach, start to explore a modern sales approach, one built on value creation. You will need One-Up salespeople who can lead their clients.

If you can’t connect your investment in a technology to an increase of net new revenue, save your money for something that will provide a return on the investment. If the only promise of technology is efficiency, there are better ways to improve your results.

It is time to go back to face-to-face meetings and spending time with your clients. Let other sales forces pretend that a virtual meeting is as good as meeting in real life. You can do the same, getting to understand each of your salespeople’s motivations and desires.

Leaving this post, list the changes you might need to make to remove the obstacles that prevent you and your team from reaching your sales goals and your sales objectives. If you need help, you can go here.


Post by Anthony Iannarino on November 25, 2023

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. He is the author of four books on the modern sales approach, one book on sales leadership, and his latest book called The Negativity Fast releases on 10.31.23. Anthony posts daily content here at TheSalesBlog.com.
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