I was in a conversation with a friend and sales manager yesterday and we were discussing their fantastic year— including all the changes that have occurred and the great sales growth they have experienced. He shared with me that he felt a little guilty because he let off the gas. The team was hitting on all cylinders and they were beating sales expectations. He eased up a little. Sales faltered for a few months. He felt bad that he failed his sales team because they probably didn’t sell as much as they could have had he stayed focused.

This is a common mistake that sales managers make. They apply the appropriate level of oversight. Hold the team accountable to the right behaviors. Improve their coaching intensity. Activity increases. Sales soar and all is well.

It must be human nature to relax at this point, because I see it happen all the time. Things are going great and the manager eases up. They forget to keep doing what got them there. They start to believe that what they were holding their teams accountable to and the behaviors that were reinforced have somehow now been cemented in and don’t need to be inspected any longer. Well, I don’t really think it is a conscious decision as much as it is a subconscious hope that they don’t have to always be paying attention.


The message is this: Sales managers have to ALWAYS be paying attention to coaching, motivating and holding their salespeople accountable. As tempting as it is to believe that the need to do this decreases over time once you get disciplined about it for a while, allowing you to let up, you can’t. It doesn’t.

I am sure you have heard the phrase, “What gets inspected, get respected.” Well, this is a constant. You must always be paying attention to what is important for sales to grow. So, if you have relaxed your intensity as the manager, it is likely that your salespeople have relaxed their intensity as well.

You know what to do, but in case you need a reminder here you go:

Focus On These Four Elements

1. Goals – Individual goals of the sales team members and their ownership of them.
2. Pipeline – Are there enough deals in the pipeline to predict goal achievement and are sales people moving deals through or off appropriately to reduce Fluffy Pipeline Syndrome?
3. Activity – Are they performing the appropriate level of activities that they agreed to do to get adequate first conversations?
4. Quality of the Sales Conversations – If they are doing enough of the right activities, then turn your focus to coaching and helping them improve their effectiveness in those selling situations.

If you have relaxed, reignite your focus and watch your salespeoples’ focus, activity and sales improve as well.

Thanks to Kyle Knall of Safeguard Security for his help with this article.

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