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Sales Socialism never works.

For months I wondered where all the great sales leads were for my Team. Our Colleagues over on the other side of the business that generated the leads were telling us they were in overdrive; business was never so good. So, then where were all the leads? I have said this before in sales leadership we have a lot of the fox guarding the henhouse but not a lot of people looking at the fox, and that can be a problem. When leads that once flowed stop, well even the hens notice that.

Another reality of the sales profession is dealing with salespeople who are just not cutting it. It is a tough profession, that of high risk and high reward. It is a role of immense flexibility but with an understanding that getting the job done successfully is paramount for all, or is it? We know sales is hard, sales leadership is even harder because here you must make correct decisions on people’s performance, good and bad. I have always been open with folks that worked for me about the profession and the difficult decisions that sometimes need to be made. It is, and should never be personal, the bond between salesperson and sales leader should be deep but more importantly it should be realistic. Why? Because even on the toughest days a realistic, communicative relationship endures particularly when you deliver bad news.

There are many reasons why someone may flounder in sales. Some of those are external, where forces you have little control over can, infiltrate your salesperson and cause a decline. Divorce, Family, substance abuse are a few that you may have to deal with. There may even be some resources at your disposal so as to offer help to the individual, that they need. There can be internal reasons why someone is also floundering. The Job may have changed, and the skill sets required are not there any longer. They may have become complacent; they may even have gotten away with mediocrity and take it as the norm, or they may just have a leader that does not hold them accountable for their actions. Now this is not to say that someone who has fallen cannot get back up. Sure, they can, but they must demonstrate the willingness to do so with their actions and behavior’s. Everyone has a bit of bad luck in sales every now and again, no one who is working to the best of their ability has bad luck all the time.

As leaders we have to be conscious of helping people to a point to re-engage. There are a variety of ways to do this that include working with the individual to see what their mindset is and review their plan for success. Are they working their pipeline diligently and what have they done with leads they have been given? This is important because you cannot continue to give leads to a salesperson that is not working them effectively at the expense of another who would. You cannot think that by heaping more leads on a poor performer that suddenly they will find their stride, they won’t. You have to uncover the root issue and deal with it. The poor performer will not only work themselves out the door, but they will drag top performers down if not addressed. The more you appease a poor performer, the more difficult it will be to move them out when you have to.

In the sales ranks of every organization, there are winners and losers. Someone by definition gets to come in first and by nature of the role usually makes more money than the person that comes in last. No body wants to be last, but someone has to be. And as a result, sales organizations turn over people all the time who fall below their goals. And if they don’t, a huge red flag should go up as to why not. If you’re not feeding your best salespeople the very best leads but instead giving them to underperformers in the hope that it might get them to goal, you are killing your organization.

Hope is not a strategy; it is an emotion that usually does not come to fruition. Avoid appeasing underperformers and neglecting overperformers otherwise you are just practicing Sales Socialism and that never works.

Roger McNamara Bio:

Roger is a 25+-year veteran of the Payments Industry, most recently as the Director of Business Development with American Express in the US. He has worked on the largest Acquisition targets for acceptance across multiple Industries and across the globe that include : Airlines, Communications, Technology, Cruise Lines, Entertainment, Fractional Jet, Freight, Government, Healthcare, Insurance, Oil & Gas, Residential Rent, Restaurants, QSR’s, Retail, Services, Supermarkets, Travel, Vehicle Sales, B2B and Wholesale. Over that time, he has sold more than $200 Billion worth of Card processing and became an expert in Bankcard Interchange and Discount Rates, how they are calculated and what merchant pay to accept Credit and how this is dramatically different from what they believe they pay. He is an expert in Merchant Statement analysis and payment processing and the rules and regulations associated with payments and the associations. Roger has also developed the insight for Merchant Services Salesforces and salesforces in general to be able to better position their products and gain share particularly in B2B. Let him show you how you can too. He can be reached at

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