June 18

2 Reasons Sales Teams Miss Quota—And It’s Not What You Think


Corporate America talks a lot about the power of teamwork. It hangs posters on the wall featuring people rowing in unison and the word “SUCCESS” imprinted on the picture.

Pithy quotes are shared during meetings from high achievers such as Michael Jordan.

“There is no ‘I’ in ‘team.’”

The intent is good but, in many sales organizations, the rhetoric posted on the walls never hits the halls.  Those pithy quotes are just quotes that are not followed up with action.  

Sales organizations are comprised of competitive salespeople.  Except many are competing with the wrong competitor. 

Members of their own team!

They forget that the competition is outside the building, not inside the building. Internal competition creates an, “I’m hitting quota” culture rather than a, “We’re hitting quota” sales culture.  The result is limited sharing of best practices, mentoring and slower sales growth.

Here are two reasons for misplaced competitiveness. 

#1:  Sales structure. Sales organizations often lack defined sales assignments. The sales department looks like a scene out of the Wild West. Each salesperson mounts their horse to go out and claim as many prospects as they can. They may recognize they don’t have the time to pursue all these opportunities but FOMO sets in. They want any and all prospects identified in the CRM system as “mine.” 

The best sales organizations carve out sales assignments for each salesperson. These assignments are defined by geography, industry or size of targeted opportunity. With this clarity, salespeople quit competing with their team members. They are comfortable sharing how they are landing new business because they aren’t worried about someone taking their potential opportunity. Sales assignments are a key step in creating a, “We’re hitting quota” sales culture rather than an, “I’m hitting quota” sales culture.

#2:  Ineffective hiring process. The second reason for lack of teamwork is because sales managers hire  salespeople that don’t play well with others. They lack interpersonal skills. This occurs because sales managers still buy into the myth that top salespeople are self-centered, high-maintenance and lone rangers. 

It’s time to eliminate that unproductive hiring myth.

I work with top producers every day. They are nice people. They possess the emotional intelligence skills of self-regard and independence. They are confident in their skills and recognize they can share every best practice, tool and technique without fear of not being the top sales dog.


Because success is always dependent on salespeople executing knowledge, habits and skills on a daily basis. Success takes discipline, desire and hard work.

These emotionally intelligent top producers also see the big picture. Sure, it’s great if they are achieving quota and winning awards. But if everyone on the team isn’t doing well, then the company doesn’t do well.

One or two top producers can’t scale a business.

It takes a sales village to win and retain business.

A profitable and growing company is able to invest in more resources, such as marketing, customer service and new products. Such investments help salespeople attract and retain more clients. 

Sales managers: Establish one more key performance metric for your sales team: Make it a requirement to meet with and develop a relationship with each other and other employees in other divisions.

Get your sales team working on a “We’re hitting quota” mindset.  Remember, the competition is outside the building, not inside the building.

Good Selling!


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