46794699_s.jpgAccording to the CSO Insights 2016 Sales Performance Optimization Study, on average, only 57.1 percent of the nation’s sales reps hit their sales quotas each year! This stat is a bit alarming. 

As a sales leader, it’s important to understand not only which sales reps are failing, but why they are failing. Poor performance could be due to a lack of motivation, coaching, accountability or trust.

Take a look at each of these areas and analyze your performance as a leader:


A motivated sales team drives the success of a company. The relationships they build with customers help develop the foundation of the organization — not just in terms of sales, but in overall reputation and growth. A sales team that is not motivated will slowly erode that foundation, making it harder to hit goals and move into new markets. 

When leaders feel their team is lacking motivation, they typically try to solve the problem with money; but research suggests that most people, regardless of generation, want to be connected to something greater — a purpose that is larger than just a paycheck. Take time with each person on your team to understand what is “emotionally important” to each of them. With this information, you can tailor your efforts to the individual.

Sales Coaching

Telling your sales team that they have to sell more isn’t the same as coaching. Coaching is about helping your salespeople grow. It’s also one of the most effective ways to optimize performance and meet or exceed quotas.

Set aside time to ride with your rep to their appointments, ask them questions about how they’re preparing for a sales call, provide timely feedback on what they did right, and help them to continually improve. When you coach your sales team, you empower them to utilize critical thinking skills, solve complex problems and collaborate. Don’t wait until a salesperson misses their quota to start coaching. 


You may be surprised to hear this, but employees actually want to be held accountable for their work. Why? Because accountability means responsibility, and responsibility leads to several intrinsic motivators like purpose and accomplishment. When you hold your team accountable (without micromanaging them) you will notice the members of your team stepping up to protect the interests of the organization and making efforts to continuously improve performance. 

The easiest way to hold your team accountable is to be transparent with your expectations. Define areas of accountability in your sales process and sales meetings. Doing so can have a tremendous impact on the performance of your sales team.


When trust is absent, relationships are characterized by an adversarial attitude: me vs. you; us vs. them. The most successful organizations are those that know how to create a climate of trust and goodwill among their team.

When you trust your sales team, they’ll trust you. When trust is high, teams perform at high levels and accomplish short-term objectives and attain long-range financial goals. An environment built on trust is a direct result of great leadership. 


Jeff Ruby

Jeff Ruby

Founder of RedRock Leadership

During the course of his professional career, he has worked in organizations ranging in size from a sole practitioner to Fortune 500. Included in his experience are roles in starting and selling companies, sales and sales management, training and development and executive coaching.

RedRock Leadership is a sales training and leadership development company committed to growing companies by growing individuals through on-going training infused with the competencies of emotional intelligence.