• Gert Scholts

How to turn under performance into high sales growth

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

If your sales team have reached their quota so far this year, congratulations are in order. You and your team belong to the approx. 45% or so who have successfully found a path to high sales growth.

Whatever you are doing to recruit, train and motivate your people, keep on doing it, do more and make it better. You are on track!

stats showing how skills, knowledge and attitudes add to more sales

If you and your team belong to the other 55%, stay positive and read on. Your journey to fix for your team’s sales performance starts here.

Sales performance is directly related to salespeople’s ability to do the job and their attitude doing the job

I break it down in three strategic areas:

  1. Skills level

  2. Knowledge level

  3. Motivation level

They all need to be 100% in order to get the best sales performance.

The better equipped sales people are, the more likely they are successful reaching their sales targets.

Lack of sales skills

Poor sales skills are major obstacles to sales performance.

No matter the quality, size, price or other features of your product, salespeople need to be the best they can be in Prospecting, Fact-finding*, Presenting and Closing. If only one of these skills is failing them, they will under perform significantly. Even sales people who are fed leads through demand generation, will need prospecting skills to develop referrals and recommendations.

*According to the TAS group up to 40% of sales people do not understand the need to establish customer pain and gain points.


  • Coaching. Get each team member to score themselves on each sales skill using a scale of 1 to 10. The lowest scores are the areas where we should focus our development effort through coaching and training.

  • Sales process improvement. Work with your team building or reviewing your **sales play book or sales process. There are always improvements we can make.

  • Use shadowing as a technique to build sales skills.

** My experience is that less than 50% salespeople do not use a sales play book or do not have a sales process

Lack of sales knowledge

A lack of knowledge is a major contributor to missing sales targets.

There is an old saying ‘knowledge gives confidence’. This certainly is true in the sales profession where salespeople must be ready to answer many different customer questions. ***A salesperson is an expert and problem solver in the eyes of customers. They need to trust the salesperson before they make a purchase.

***According to Gartner research, sales people who assist buyers to make buying decisions are most likely to win the deal.


  • Expertise. Invite product managers/industry experts to join your sales team meetings and run regular products and process knowledge sessions

  • Gamification. Devise a product knowledge quiz for the team.

  • Recruitment. Improve the product knowledge element in you boarding process by using salespeople to run a product session

Poor sales motivation

A lack of motivation badly affects sales performance and can affect other team members too.

Sales team motivation is perhaps best measured in how well the team is applying the skills and knowledge learned. To capture this, apply a simple activity-based and quality driven measurements; Key Performance Indicators

Salespeople who repeatedly do not complete CRM, miss key performance indicators and under perform in sales results, may just not appreciate the considerable commitment needed for real success.


  • 121s. Schedule and run regular 121 sessions with your team members.

  • Root cause analysis. Find out from your under performing salespeople what motivates them in the job and find ways to link that motivation to the required performance. Perhaps a re-mix of the commission scheme is needed.

  • Coaching. Coach or hire a sales coach to address the motivational, skill or knowledge issues.

During my work as sales coach I learn that in sales, everybody deserves a fair shot. A lack of form is a phase we have all gone through.

Yet, if under performance is due to incompetence and there is no reasonable way forward, it is perhaps best to cut losses early.

Feel free to get in touch for advice and no nonsense sales coaching and support achieving high sales growth.

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