Why Sales Teams Are Struggling to Perform in 2021

Over the last year, 2 dominant themes have surfaced for most businesses; almost regardless of industry.  First is supply chain issues worldwide and the impact on ordering and logistically receiving raw materials and products.  The second is people, in particular, hiring, developing, and retaining staffing.  The global pressure to find not just employees, but good employees, has become systemic.  According to Forbes, Inc., Deloitte, and CEOs around the world, what everyone needs right now are quality employees.  We are seeing this especially localized in the Sales and Marketing arena.

For a growth-minded Sales and Marketing leader, there has to be a better way than this churn and burn methodology.  Unfortunately, many sales and marketing leaders, and this includes Fortune 100 companies, struggle with what to do.  

The first step in fixing this issue is to recognize what a Sales and Marketing leader needs.  The list is long, but here are a few: 

  • on-board world-class talent and communicators
  • consistent and replicable results
  • quotas hit with both reliability and accountability sustained
  • low turnover and employees that are happy and successful in their positions

If we know these to be true, why is the current approach to achieving these goals not working?  How can these goals be achieved in a market where hiring is the most difficult it has been in the last 40 years?

The answer is to be more effective with what you have and be prepared for when someone who could be effective shows up.  It’s easy to blame a company’s lack of success in sales on the individual sales professional themselves when in reality the majority of the blame needs to lay with the company and their Sales Training.  You hired them and I assume you didn’t just randomly pick someone off the street to bring into your company, so they must have qualities you were looking for…so why are they failing?

I once worked for an individual who we will call John.  John was one who immediately anointed the next great salesperson based solely on interviews.  He would come and tell parts of our sales team that this guy or gal was going to be a rockstar.  They were always sharp, well dressed, well-read, may or may not have had previous experience (made no difference to him), and would hit every characteristic of a “Great Sales Professional”.  He just KNEW.  We would all then watch as this person would go out and often struggle and eventually fail.   How is that possible when they had all the characteristics or attributes of a great sales professional?

It’s because John did not offer any type of effective long-term communication or coaching methodology for his team, or our company.  Unfortunately, there are John’s everywhere, and companies that continue to ignore the solution by continuing to think “just hire more” is the answer. No, today it’s about the company taking responsibility for providing the right tools, methodology, and coaching so their teams can succeed.  If you struggle to believe me, consider this… 

According to Heinz marketing, 3 of the 5 top reasons Sales Professionals Fail in Sales are 

  1. No plan from the company
  2. No company training
  3. No company support

With the right Sales Methodology inserted into your culture, sales professionals and teams can flourish.   

Notice how I said Sales Methodology and not Sales Training. Traditional sales training does not work if you want long-term change and better results. This outdated approach to growing your company is one of the main reasons so many businesses are not hitting the numbers they want and continue to suffer from ridiculous turnover.  Here are the stats…

Xactly just released their 2020 numbers on the current landscape for Sales Turnover across all industries

  • The average salesperson’s tenure:  18 months
  • Percentage of sales rep’s salary it takes to replace them:  150-200%
  • Time to fill an open sale position:  6.2 months
  • Number of reps leaving their jobs in 2 years or less:  44%

How can you be expected to hit the goals we listed above if you don’t honestly look at what environment and methodology you and your company are providing?  You can’t.  It’s time to look at new ways to approach Sales Communication and leave Sales Training in the past.

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