Sales Management Execection Gaps

Why are the sales managers tolerating below average quota attainment?


Why are the sales managers tolerating below average pipeline?


Why are the sales managers tolerating sales reps not running our sales process?


This lack of execution impacts you, Mr or Mrs VP of Sales in 3 ways:


  • Miss your in year revenue quota which causes you financial pain
  • Your executive peers miss their growth bonus and blame you. Causes you political pain as you walk the halls.
  • Your boss misses his growth bonus from the board. Causes you career pain; why would he want to promote you if he can’t rely on you?


Execution gaps need to be closed. How do you choose which ones to go after? We find prioritization of 1 single execution gap (people or a single performance condition) and a relentless effort to drive it will produce greater in year revenue quota impact.


How to Decide which Execution Gap to Tackle? (People or Performance Condition)

Below is one symptom for each you may be dealing with a potential gap closing idea for each.


Execution Gap 1 (People)—Sales Manager Tolerating Below Average Quota Attainment

Solution— Replace the bottom 10% Sales Managers by July 15. Complete a stack rank with your sales managers. And then stop coming up with all the reasons why you can’t.  They will thank you. Put them back in a sales territory and let them thrive. Our research continues to show the bottom 10% of sales managers are actually great sales reps; they are miscast. I can see you nodding as you read this but worrying what HR will say. This takes some managerial finesse but I am sure you have reams of evidence and if you take a compassionate tone, the underperformer will end up thanking you. Then, keep the job open for 90 days, have the regional sales manager dig into that team; guarantee you performance will increase and some skeletons will come out of the closet.  You get an environmental benefit from this move; the balance of the sales management team recognizes that underperformance is not tolerated. They will begin executing better. Sales people are inherently worried their job is on the line which is what keeps them hungry; stay true to this tenet.


Execution Gap 2 (Performance Condition)—Tolerating Below Average Pipeline

Solution—Implement a disciplined Sales Management cadence. The single reason why low pipeline happens is sales managers are not paying attention to it on a regular basis. Things happen slowly, then suddenly. All of a sudden you realize the only discussions your managers have been having with their reps are late stage opportunities. Starting in July, drive a weekly or bi weekly cadence into your sales management team. A critical component of this is the 1 on 1 between the sales manager and rep. 5 items to cover:


  1. Mid and late stage pipeline is reviewed
  2. Amount of net new pipeline created since last meeting
  3. Developmental items from time spent observing them in field
  4. Longer term development issues for career path
  5. Internal struggles/challenges the rep needs help with


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Matt Sharrers

Studies and works with the top 1% of B2B sales and marketing leaders who generate above average revenue growth for their companies.

Matt is arguably one of the industry’s most connected, and physically fit, sales leaders. He “lives in the field.” As a result, he is the foremost expert in the art of separating fact from fiction as it relates to revenue growth best practices. Because of Matt’s unique access to the best sales talent, private equity investors tend to turn to him first when they need to hire remarkable leaders to unlock trapped growth inside of their portfolio companies. Matt’s recent engagements include work commissioned by private equity leaders Permira, TPG, Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman.


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