Ineffective Sales Leaders Can Cause Lasting Damage

Posted by Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer on Mon, Jan 30, 2017


Success in a sales force requires having strong talent up and down the organization. A weak salesperson will weaken a sales territory, a bad sales manager will damage their team and dampen results in their region, and a poor sales leader will eventually ruin the entire sales force. For even the most seasoned among us, it can be difficult to recognize the signs of a poor sales leader and the possible damage the person can do—especially when they appear to do some good early on.


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Driving Sales Success This Quarter, This Year, And Beyond

Posted by Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer on Mon, Dec 05, 2016


Most sales forces focus a good deal of their attention on the short term—on bringing in today’s sales or making this quarter’s numbers. It’s understandable: The sales team wants to be successful. Quarterly goal attainment is a visible measure of success, and often a determinant of incentive pay. Analysts and investors track company performance against quarterly goals, so company executives push the sales team to deliver on the company’s promise to the investment community. Sales leaders divide the national sales goal among sales managers, who allocate their portion of the goal to their salespeople.


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Wells Fargo and the Slippery Slope of Sales Incentives

Posted by Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer on Fri, Sep 23, 2016


In early September, Wells Fargo agreed to pay a $185 million fine and return $5 million in fees wrongly charged to customers. The settlement stems from the bank’s employees allegedly opening more than two million bank and credit card accounts without customers’ permission. The CEO of Wells Fargo, John Stumpf, apologized in front of a congressional panel Tuesday, saying in a statement, “I accept full responsibility for all unethical sales practices.”


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Can Your Sales Team Actually Achieve Their Stretch Goals?

Posted by Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer on Wed, Jul 13, 2016


Sales leaders have a deep-seated belief in using stretch goals to challenge a sales force. Stretch goals are correctly credited with guiding effort, promoting innovative thinking, energizing salespeople, and boosting persistence. Many successful companies have lived the virtuous cycle: Sales leaders set a stretch goal, the sales force surpasses it, and sales force morale and confidence gets a boost. But we’ve also seen, with increasing frequency in the last decade, companies set stretch goals that are impossible to achieve. What masquerades as a stretch goal is really wishful thinking or misguided sales goal padding.


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Great Sales People Are Born, But Great Sales Forces Are Made

Posted by Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer on Thu, May 26, 2016

In sales, where charisma and extroversion can be advantages, some people attribute success more to inborn personality traits than to skills that can be coached or taught. Yet the fact that companies in the U.S. alone spend more than $20 billion annually (by conservative estimates) to train salespeople on products, selling skills, and territory management, demonstrates the widespread belief that you can help “make” salespeople great.


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