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Anthony Iannarino is an international speaker, bestselling author, sales leader, and entrepreneur. He posts daily sales tips and insights to The Sales Blog.

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The Greatest Threat to Your Sales Results

Your strategy for acquiring new clients is not very likely to be the difference between your results and the results you need. Your sales process and your sales methodologies are almost certainly up to the task of acquiring new clients.

Your product, service, or solution is also not what is hindering your sales results. There are an immeasurable number of poor products that sell relatively well, as well as commodities with zero differentiation with revenue in the billions of dollars. The same is true of your service or your solution.

No doubt that one obstacle might be your salesforce. There are only four challenges a sales organization faces here, too little activity, too little effectiveness, both of the preceding two, and poor leadership. And since the first three are all a result of the final factor, that makes lack of leadership the greatest threat to your sales results.

Specifically, the greatest threat to your sales results is some combination of the first two factors, enabled by the final factor.

If there is one thing I would indict sales leaders for, it would be for allowing apathy, complacency, and the lack of real effort against the tasks of creating new opportunities and winning those new opportunities. Creating and winning new opportunities are the outcomes a sales leader and their sales force is responsible for producing.

Selling is not a passive, reactive endeavor. It requires a proactive approach, one based on effective activity designed to produce the outcomes necessary for growth. When a sales force is allowed to sit in a passive, reactive posture, waiting for marketing to produce leads, and waiting for clients to respond to automated messaging, and spending more time in software designed to help with the sales process rather than being face to face with their prospective clients, it is a failure of leadership.

No one wants to be a micromanager. And no one wants to be micromanaged. As a leader, however, you are responsible for setting the priorities, setting the goals, and ensuring that the resources provided to you are applied against those priorities. When some of those resources, including the human resources, decide to spend their time and energy on things different from the priorities, it is not micromanaging to require that time and energy be shifted to what’s most important.

Recently, I learned that there is no word for accountability in Spanish. The word is consistently used here in the United States, but it’s hard to recognize the definition of the word from the actions of those who are responsible for ensuring accountability. The greatest threat to your sales results now is a lack of leadership that allows salespeople to spend their time and energy on things outside of creating, winning, and serving their clients.

Everything is important. But not everything can be most important. There is no way to generate the results you are capable of without doing the work necessary.

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