5 Frustrations that Derail the Sales Force


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I write a lot about the things that frustrate Presidents, CEO’s, Sales VP’s and Salespeople.  Yesterday, somebody asked what frustrates me so I attempted to tackle that question here. 

I’m very steady and what you see on Monday, you’ll probably get on Tuesday and Wednesday too.  That said, there are things that will make me eat faster or more often, and here is my top 5:

  • People Don’t Follow Through. This refers to people who don’t do what they said they will do.  When it comes to my world, this can include clients, their sales and sales management personnel, my Expert Reseller network, my own salespeople, my staff, vendors, and yes, prospects too.  Please follow through as promised!
  • Salespeople Suck.  When salespeople let sales opportunities that were right there for the taking slip right through their fingers as a result of not being thorough enough I don’t understand how they can be so lackadaisical.  Come on – how can you make those mistakes? 
  • Inverted Pipeline.  When salespeople lose their prospecting momentum and fall out of the habit of scheduling new appointments it drives me nuts.  They’ll have some lean times ahead but it affects more than their success and income. It affects their sales managers, their teams, their company, their morale, and others who work with them and wonder, “How come he gets away with not scheduling the appointments?”
  • Interruptions.  I can control phone calls, email and the calendar but hate walk-in interruptions because even 20 minutes could mean not getting the 20 hours worth of work completed in the available hours I have. I know, I could simply shut my door like most people do but that gives the impression that I’m not in the office – no visibility, no presence, not really there, so why go to the office at all?  Why even have an office?  I could work poolside, gradually work less and less and suddenly, not even have a business!  This is what interruptions do – they cause one to become unfocused.
  • Can’t Find What I’m Looking For. I know where my stuff is but when I’m looking for the real-time data that is supposed to be in the CRM Dashboard, that’s an entirely different story.  Is it really lost, or did someone not put it back where it belongs? How hard is it to update your opportunities every day?

OK, those are mine.  What frustrates you?

Republished with author's permission from original post.


  1. You’ve really hit the one’s that frustrate me squarely on the head Dave! Possibly I’d add the excuses:

    It’s everyone else’s fault, not mine! This is the sales person blaming everything around them for not producing result: Lousy customers, bad territory, the company sucks, and the excuses go on… Somehow you look at the top performers, they never let these things derail them.

    Great post!

  2. Yeah, that one was coming next. And until salespeople take responsibility, nothing can ever change. As long as they can point there finger somewhere other than at themselves, things remain the same. Once they can say, “I wasn’t effective enough”, they’ll have to ask, “So what could I have done differently or more effectively?” and that’s when change can begin to take place.

  3. Dave: I got hooked by the title of your blog, read the blog, then re-read the title and the blog. Then I scratched my head and asked: And management’s role in all of this derailment is . . . ?

    Sure some salespeople blow perfectly good opportunities. Others are lackadaisical when it comes to maintaining pipelines filled with valuable opportunities. But managers who continue to surround themselves with under-performers are probably not up to the job either. It’s just easier to nail the lowly salesperson. Hire. Flush. Repeat. Feels good? I don’t think so.

    In twenty years of sales, I’ve found few sales executives who truly think outside the hire-flush-repeat box. I’ll offer quotes from two that will serve as a model for managers who don’t know how to get out of the swift-kick-in-the-rear school of sales management.

    1. “I truly admire the work that a salesperson has to do.”
    2. “Our company tries to make our salespersons’ jobs as easy as possible.”

    Not a coincidence that the productivity of those sales forces were at the top of their respective industries.

  4. You’re spot on Andy!

    Sales Management enables all of this ineffective behavior.

    They select the wrong people to begin with, don’t set clear expectations, don’t get salespeople to commit to anything other than a number (maybe and sometimes) and then don’t coach to it and hold them accountable.

    In other words, they get frustrated but don’t do anything to correct it.

    I’m sure you’ve seen it. Fix sales management and they’ll be more effective with who they have. Fix their recruiting and selection problem and they’ll have effective people who don’t cause these problems in the first place.

  5. Yes all those, Dave, but I would add the sales person who doesn’t know their product or their competitors and, especially, doesn’t bother to find out what is important to me, the customer. I also get very frustrated by the sales person who sells me verion 1.0 when 1.1 is just about to be released.
    And it’s the same whether buying for business or personally!


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