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The Wrong Team | Top Factors That Stop Sales Growth

Updated May 2022

CEOs and owners are often brilliant people that come up with great strategies for growing their businesses. But for some reason, sometimes the strategy doesn't work. It could be a flawed strategy or poor execution, but it could also be that they have the wrong team in place.

The Right Team

Your team is the lifeblood of your organization, and its effectiveness depends on how well the team members work together. If you've got the best people in the correct positions, they will tell you what is needed and how to get there. If you don't, chances are you won't meet goals or grow.

According to Team Stage, "97% of workers and employers believe that the lack of team alignment influences the success of a task or project." Similarly, the team can become unstoppable when everyone knows their goals and tasks and is clear on how to accomplish them.

Questions you Need to Ask

The biggest issue for any company tends to be around how well the team is performing. Ask yourself these questions to know if you have the right people on board with you.

  • What skills do your sales team members have to execute your strategy?
  • Do you think all the members of your sales team possess these skills?
  • Do you have a good track record of bringing in people with the right skills that succeed in your business?

If your answer to any of these is "No" or "I don't know," then you should probably examine this area a little deeper.

Salespeople can be the hardest working, most motivated, well-intentioned, and loyal people. However, if they don't know HOW to do what you need them to do, then you might not have the right people for your team.

The hardest part about realizing that an individual is no longer a fit is that at some point they had been the right person for your team. But the company's needs may have progressed, and this person may not align with the company strategy any longer.

Define Expectations

So how do you figure out if you have the right team or the wrong team? To start with, you need to define what your team should be good at doing.

Every salesperson has a different approach to meeting expectations. Gallup's teamwork survey indicates that team member independence pays off. Employees who know what they are supposed to accomplish and are allowed to work freely are six times more likely to be engaged in doing their jobs.

Your job is to clearly define what they need to be good at doing:

  • Is it finding new accounts?
  • Is it retaining and growing existing ones?
  • Or is it both? If both, what is essential to the business now?

Define it Further

Now, break it down even more. Setting expectations for your employees is an essential responsibility that many business owners may gloss over or struggle to do well. Clear expectations benefit not only your team but also the company. For example, if you need your salespeople to land new accounts, further define what that means within your organization.

Ask the following questions:

  • Do they need to be good at developing their leads, or will they follow up on leads you provide?
  • Does the sales team need to be good face-to-face or good at phone skills?
  • Do they need to be good at differentiating because the market has become more competitive?
  • Do you sell to multiple decision-makers within an account, which means they need to know how to navigate the organization?
  • Are you the premium provider that commands a higher price? If so, do you need someone who knows how to build value throughout the process?
  • Do they need good technical skills to explain your product or service?

The idea is to nail down all the things they need to be good at performing.

Rank the List

After defining your list of expectations and tasks, you'll want to rank them. Most salespeople aren't good at everything. Of all the things they need to be good at, what are the four to five most important?

Compare your people against the list:

  • How do they rank in each area?
  • Are there holes you need to address?

Make your action plan to close those gaps:

  • In some cases, you can develop the right skills through training/coaching/mentoring.
  • In other cases, it may mean replacing people, which can be difficult.

The bottom line is that your plan and strategy requires specific competencies to execute. If your team doesn't have them, you may have a problem.

In the End

If you have the wrong team in place, that could negatively influence your company's growth. Defining what you need your team to do, ranking that list, finding and addressing the gaps, and setting clear direction will help your company grow and thrive.

About Gary Braun

Gary is a founder and co-owner of Pivotal Advisors. He has worked for 20+ years as a salesperson and sales leader. Gary has been a guest speaker for many groups such as Vistage, Allied Executives, CEO Roundtable, Sales Management Association, and more. If you want to find out more about Gary check out his profile here.
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