Regional Sales Manager A: “How are your sales numbers for this quarter?”

Area Sales Manager B: “Sales are in the toilet, but we made some staffing changes and fingers crossed Q2 will better..”

Regional Manager A: “Can’t wait for those Q2 sales figures!”

Sound familiar? 

Sales leadership is a tough role. If your story is like most sales leaders, you were a hard-charging, high-performing sales rep offered the chance to jump into sales management – and set your career trajectory on an up-and-to-the-right path. Or, so you thought. 

You probably came into this job thinking you were going to inspire, shake things up, and drive revenue better than any sales manager you yourself had ever had. Of course, now you know – the job looks a lot easier than it really is. 

And the most difficult part of the job? When you wrap up a quarter and realize your team: 

  • Decreased win rates
  • Increased length of sales cycles
  • Drove up the cost per acquisition
  • Trashed the average sale value

And of course, didn’t meet revenue goals – which puts your job, and maybe even your career on the line. That stings.

Now you are kicking yourself. You waited for an individual sales rep – or an entire team’s sales goal results in order to judge if they were effective – and you waited too long. It’s too late. Revenue is lost and the pressure is on from above to fire and hire anew. 

But before you overreact to missed sales projections, keep in mind what they do and don’t tell you. 

YES, those missed sales goals mean that something in your sales organization’s process is off. BUT, they do not let you know what (or who) went wrong on the road from prospecting to attempting to close a sale. That’s because goals related to revenue attainment are an end-stage metric – a lagging indicator. 

So before you get thrown back into that old cycle of hiring, firing and stressing, take a moment to consider how you can turn those sales results from a lagging indicator into a leading indicator that can help set your team on a trajectory for a better next quarter.

The Key to Turning Around a Bad Sales Quarter

Bad quarters are demoralizing. Your challenge as a sales leader is to maintain a growth mindset and not be afraid to enact change.

“People with a growth mindset believe that their ability is changeable and that they can improve with effort. Failure is not threatening to them because that is a part of learning and working hard to accomplish something.” – C.S. Dweck

Here’s the plan to make last quarter’s lagging indicator become the leading indicator for the next sales period:

  1. Assess: Take stock of your team. Understand their abilities and each rep’s level of Selling Intelligence.
  2. Prescribe: Put a Prescriptive Development plan in place.
  3. Replace: Swap the wrong people with the right people, and this time get a better idea of their selling abilities and overall fit before you hire them.
  4. Measure: Is each rep gaining selling skills? Are you tackling sales deficiencies? Use Prescriptive Development metrics to continually gauge your success.

Sound easy? It’s not. But you can do it.

Remember, you aren’t the only one who feels the sting of missed sales goals. They are feeling it in their morale – and their bank account. As a sales leader, your job is getting a sales team re-focused and whipped into shape. 

Assure them that a new day has dawned, one with a fresh approach and focus on a whole new set of metrics – metrics that are unique to each rep on your team.

And let your reps know that the Prescriptive Development approach to turning around sales is not sales training. Sales training sucks for a lot of reasons. But Prescriptive Development, also known as Personalized Development, is unique, and it’s the key to discovering – and fixing – that certain something your team is missing on the path to a sale.

Doubling down on investing in your team through Prescriptive Development will lift morale – and sales results. Plus, with a solid line of sight into each member of your sales team – the sales goal results won’t be a surprise. Please, share your thoughts and experiences.