I write a lot about self-empowerment and the impact of your attitude upon your results, and about accountability.  If you’ve read my blogs for any length of time you know that I put much of the onus for success on the sale professionals themselves.

But the need for accountability doesn’t stop there, in fact, it should begin much higher up in the organization. These nine deficiencies are key reasons for poor sales results:

1. Too little prospecting

One of the primary areas where sales organizations do too little is prospecting. They leave salespeople to their own devices, with no direction, no goals and no activity. Some of their salespeople no longer believe the phone is an effective tool, even while their competitors are dialing their prospects — and their existing clients. Prospecting is the lifeblood of a sales organization.

2. Too few opportunities

The natural, expected and certain outcome of too little prospecting is too few opportunities. A shallow pipeline or one full of non-opportunities is a recipe for failure. An opportunity-starved sales organization is a shrinking sales organization. Salespeople and sales organizations create opportunities.

3. Too few won deals 

Too little prospecting and too few opportunities leads to too few won deals. You aren’t going to grow or succeed without winning new deals. An organization that isn’t good at prospecting or creating opportunities is one that also isn’t very good at winning. They don’t get to play enough to be good at the game. You must win deals.

4. Too few orders

Too few deals, too few orders. If you aren’t selling, they aren’t buying. You need clients to place orders.

5. Too little accountability 

Why is there too little prospecting, too few opportunities, too few lost deals and too few orders? Too little accountability. We look at reports instead of taking reports. We allow people to work from home and we leave them alone. We find work to keep us busy so we don’t have to see what isn’t being done. Results improve when people are accountable for producing them.

6. Too little leadership 

Why no accountability? Too little leadership? A leader ensures that the actions necessary to generate results are being effectively taken. Without leadership, people and organizations drift. A sales force must be led if it is to succeed.

7. Too little purpose 

The leader provides an organization with purpose. A leader frames the work so that the people she leads understand why it is meaningful work and how its makes a difference. Quarterly earnings and shareholder value aren’t inspiring to anyone but the few people who stand to gain by those metrics. You get the outcomes when you put people first. Give me a reason to believe.

8. Too little joy 

If there is no joy in work, then you are not going to produce the results of which you are capable. As a leader, you will never help an organization reach its full potential if work is a place that people go to have their souls crushed out of them. Any human endeavor can be infused with joy or fear. Make work play.

9. Too little coaching

Too much managing. Too much telling. Nowhere near enough building empowered individual actors. No evidence of people being notched up and given greater challenges as they grow. Massive neglect of high potentials, and those who are struggling. Everyone deserves a coach because everyone needs one.

The best sales professional in the world will find it difficult to succeed if these nine deficiencies exist in their organization. In the end, it is about leadership and making sure that your sales team doesn’t have to swim upstream because of their own organization’s deficiencies.

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