16 Killer Strategies to Improve Underperformance

As a sales development leader (SDL), it’s imperative for you to ensure that your team of reps shine through their deliverables consistently. A weak spot in your sales team may be a deterrent to your overall team performance impacting your KPIs. 

Tracking your team’s performance is not an easy task as a  sales leader amid 

  • identifying hot deals at an early stage and high-value deal prioritization, 
  • pipeline tracking, 
  • verifying quality leads, 
  • monitoring reps daily activities such as number of outreaches they make, number of replies they are managing to name a few. 

You must be knowing that most of your sales reps spend only 39% of their time actually selling. The remaining 61% is consumed by prospecting and data validation, significantly impacting productivity

This contradicts the goal of improving sales performance.

Under such a grim scenario, improving sales productivity can be challenging. 

In this post, we’ll discuss some strategies that can pull up your team’s overall performance and put you in the spotlight as a successful sales leader. 

So, get yourself a dose of caffeine and stay stimulated for what’s coming up!

What is sales performance

To put it in simple terms, sales performance is the measuring of sales activity against targets and quotas. 

While every business desires strong sales performance, achieving it can be challenging. 

Consistency is crucial; a top-performing sales team consistently meets or surpasses goals over time, irrespective of market conditions. 

Improving efficiency involves optimizing time usage with structured and purposeful daily routines focused on end objectives.

Factor affecting sales performance

How well your sales enablement efforts, like managing content or providing sales training, work can have a big impact on the bottom line. 

It affects how well your team sells, how customers feel about your company, how well different functions (sales, customer success, marketing, IT) of your company work together, and even what it’s like to work at your company. 

Basically, it’s all about whether your team knows what they’re doing when they talk to customers.

Some internal factors such as recruitment standards, company culture, sales staff training, availability of automation and technology, product quality, customer experience, capital availability, and supply chain play crucial roles.

External influences on sales performance include the political or economic climate, competitive landscape, laws and regulations, fluctuations in consumer preferences, and technological innovations.

Key pillars of sales performance

When it comes to helping sales teams thrive, we’ve found a few key principles that really make a difference in boosting productivity and managing performance.

Consistency: Establishing a unified sales framework ensures consistency across the team, even while allowing individual styles to flourish within a standardized process.

Focus: Amid increasing distractions, prioritizing tasks and minimizing disruptions is key. Dedicate focus time to tackle important activities without interruption.

Continuous improvement: Embrace change and innovation to avoid stagnation. Sales landscapes evolve rapidly, and adapting to new strategies and technologies is essential for sustained success.

Pressure reduction: High-pressure environments can hinder performance. Reviewing and adjusting sales targets to strike a balance between challenge and achievability can motivate sales reps and foster a healthier work environment.

Strategies to improve underperformance

If your sales team is underperforming, it’s essential for you as a leader to diagnose the root causes. 

This involves identifying specific areas of weakness, whether it’s in lead generation, conversion rates, or customer retention. 

Once you’ve pinpointed the issues, provide targeted training, coaching, or resources to support your sales reps in improving their skills and knowledge. 

Set clear and achievable goals for your team, and regularly communicate expectations while offering feedback on their progress. Be flexible with your strategies, adapting and adjusting them as needed based on performance insights. 

Motivate your team with incentives, recognition, and rewards to keep them engaged and focused on their objectives. Continuously monitor key performance metrics to track progress and identify areas for further improvement. 

With a proactive approach to addressing sales underperformance, you can work towards achieving your sales targets and fostering a high-performing team.

We’ll list out 16 such strategies to fix underperformance in your team. 

Here you go: 

1. Hire the right set of people with the right skillset

Primarily, hiring is crucial. While businesses typically focus on recruiting top talent for sales roles, it’s vital to understand that effective training is key to shaping top performers. 

When hiring your team, prioritize traits that align with being receptive to training and coaching, such as high emotional intelligence, a positive attitude, and a collaborative nature. While crafting your ideal candidate profile, remain flexible as some applicants may exceed expectations.

2. Training and coaching

Training and nurturing your sales team is important to refine their skills and enhance performance. 

Provide your reps with thorough product knowledge, effective communication strategies, negotiation skills, and methods to address objections. 

Regularly invest in training sessions, workshops, and coaching to ensure your salesforce remains abreast of industry trends and best practices.

A well-trained team exudes confidence, adaptability, and proficiency in delivering persuasive sales presentations. 

Consequently, they can cultivate robust customer relationships, adeptly tackle customer concerns, and close deals with greater efficiency, ultimately boosting sales performance and fostering business expansion.

3. Coach your coaches

It’s crucial to understand that sales training doesn’t just impact sales reps—it also plays a significant role in shaping the effectiveness of sales managers. 

Misconception often prevails that exceptional salespeople automatically make great managers, but that’s not always the case. Just like reps, frontline managers need dedicated investment and support to excel in their roles.

When it comes to investing in sales coaching, it’s essential to establish clear performance standards for sales reps. 

This ensures that coaches have a solid framework to evaluate rep performance against. By providing targeted guidance and support, coaches can help reps navigate challenges and achieve their goals more effectively. 

This approach enables coaches to identify areas where reps may need additional support and offer guidance tailored to their individual needs.

4. Use sales tools and software to improve underperformance

Repetitive tasks often consume valuable time that could be better spent on more strategic activities. 

These tasks, such as sending follow-up emails, scheduling meetings, and updating CRM records, are essential but can be time-consuming when done manually. 

However, with the right sales automation tools, these tasks can be streamlined and automated, freeing up valuable time for sales professionals to focus on building relationships with prospects and closing deals. 

Sales automation platforms offer features like email sequencing, CRM integration, and workflow automation, enabling sales teams to scale up their outreach efforts efficiently. 

Underperformance can also be caused by poor time management. Implementing a clock in and out app within your team, creates accountability for employees and drives productivity by encouraging them to make better use of their time. It will also help sales leaders to track their team’s performance in order to assess who is least productive or slacking off.

5. Invest in a sales engagement platform

A sales engagement platform offers a comprehensive solution to address sales team underperformance. 

By enhancing communication through multiple channels, scaling through automation, providing data-driven insights, and enabling personalized engagement with prospects, these platforms empower sales teams to boost their productivity and effectiveness. 

With clear communication, streamlined workflows, actionable insights, and personalized interactions, sales reps can overcome challenges, identify opportunities, and drive better results, ultimately leading to improved sales team performance.

6. Make an effective sales structure

Is your sales team set up for success? If not, you might be missing out on valuable opportunities to grow your business. A well-designed sales structure can work wonders:

  • It gets everyone on the same page with your business objectives.
  • It encourages better teamwork and communication among your salespeople.
  • It streamlines your sales process, making it more efficient.
  • It gives your customers a clearer picture of what you offer.

So, when picking a sales structure, think about what you’re trying to achieve, who you’re selling to, and what you’re selling. And don’t worry if you need to switch things up as your business grows—that’s normal! Just take the time to figure out which structure suits your needs best.

7. Measure your sales performance and KPIs

ver, the challenge lies in interpreting the vast amount of data available. 

Without clear reporting dashboards or key performance indicators (KPIs), it’s challenging to identify growth opportunities or areas for improvement. SmartReach.io provides a wide range of reportings that give you actionable insights. 

Rather than drowning in excessive sales data, focusing on relevant metrics is crucial. Key metrics to track include team leaderboard report, win rate, sales quota attainment, sales content usage, training completion, sales cycle length, pipeline coverage, and conversion rates. 

These metrics can be effectively monitored through a sales engagement platform integrated with CRM, providing real-time insights into individual and team performance. 

With such visibility, prioritizing efforts and accurate sales forecasting become feasible. If your current solution lacks these capabilities, it may be time to consider switching to one that offers comprehensive insights.

8. Monitor and manage leads effectively

Managing leads effectively is crucial for converting prospects into paying customers. 

Lead management involves nurturing and qualifying leads until they are ready to make a purchase. 

This process helps building relationships, understanding prospects’ needs, and providing relevant information and resources. 

Without proper lead management software, sales reps risk missing valuable leads or wasting time on those not yet ready to buy. 

To enhance lead management, it’s essential to qualify leads based on their likelihood to convert and focus efforts on high-potential prospects. 

Additionally, consistent nurturing through valuable content and regular communication helps keep leads engaged until they are ready to make a purchase decision. 

9. Set clear objectives

In addition to establishing goals, it’s essential to break them down into smaller, more achievable tasks. 

Setting appropriate goals is fundamental to sales success. By defining specific targets and monitoring their progress, you can enhance the motivation and performance of your sales team, ultimately leading to improved sales outcomes.

10. One-on-one coaching

Staying updated on the latest advancements in your industry offers numerous advantages. It’s crucial to keep your team informed about the latest industry trends. Schedule regular coaching sessions to ensure everyone stays current with the latest developments in the field.

11. Implement a real-time feedback mechanism

Consistent and constructive feedback plays a vital role in the ongoing enhancement of your sales team. 

Organize personalized coaching sessions to delve into individual performances, offer valuable insights, and pinpoint areas for improvement. 

Provide actionable recommendations and assistance to empower your sales representatives in refining their abilities and overcoming obstacles.

12. Address critical performance markers

Clearly outline the specific results you aim to accomplish, emphasizing measurable objectives. Concentrate on numerical metrics that provide clear insights into performance. 

Avoid overwhelming your analysis with an excessive number of KPIs; instead, prioritize the most relevant metrics for your goals. 

Regularly assess these metrics, aiming for at least monthly reviews to track progress effectively and make timely adjustments as needed.

13. Reward and recognition

Deploying incentive programs and recognition initiatives can serve as powerful drivers for enhancing sales performance. 

By introducing performance-based incentive structures, such as bonuses or commissions, you can incentivize top performers and instill a sense of healthy competition within the team. 

Additionally, publicly acknowledging outstanding achievements during team meetings or company-wide communications can contribute to cultivating a positive and supportive workplace culture.

14. Build a strong referral network

Your most effective sales advocates often come from your pool of satisfied customers. 

Establishing robust relationships with customers is pivotal in driving sales growth, as satisfied clients are more likely to refer others. 

Begin by investing in your customer success and support teams, equipping them with the resources and support necessary to deliver exceptional service. 

With time, you’ll cultivate a cadre of loyal advocates who will readily champion your brand and engage with potential customers on your behalf.

15. Make better customer relationship

Establishing and cultivating robust customer relationships stands as a cornerstone of achieving sales excellence. 

Prioritize exceptional customer service, attentive listening, and personalized follow-ups to foster rapport and trust. When customers feel valued and respected, they’re more inclined to become loyal advocates for your brand, driving repeat business and valuable referrals. 

Encourage your sales team to prioritize long-term customer relationships over immediate sales outcomes. Regular communication, checking in on customer needs, and providing ongoing support underscore your dedication to their success. 

By prioritizing customer satisfaction and retention, your sales team can secure a stable revenue stream and drive organic growth.

16. Make personalization easy

Crafting personalized customer interactions is essential, yet it often consumes significant time. 

To streamline this process, enablement teams should focus on creating foundational content, such as consumer portfolios tailored to various industries and buyer profiles, centralized within a single platform. 

This approach facilitates seamless adjustments within your sales engagement system, ensuring efficiency and agility in delivering personalized experiences to customers.

How SmartReach.io can help improving your team’s underperformance

Let’s now understand how our sales engagement platform can improve your team’s overall underperformance with its bundle of features and solutions. 

We will consider some use cases and see how this tool will help you overcome poor team performance.

Scenario 1: Transparent communication

Your sales team receives a high volume of customer inquiries via email, leading to confusion about who is responsible for responding. With a shared inbox, you can see incoming messages, facilitating transparent communication. You can quickly assign emails to the appropriate team member, ensuring timely responses and avoiding duplication of efforts.

Scenario 2: Reduced sales cycle

Your sales team struggles with a lengthy sales cycle due to delays in responding to customer queries and following up on leads. By centralizing communication in a shared inbox, representatives can access all customer interactions in one place. This enables them to respond promptly, address customer concerns, and move deals forward faster, ultimately reducing the sales cycle.

Scenario 3: Deal prioritization

The sales team is overwhelmed with leads of varying importance, making it challenging to prioritize which deals to focus on first. With a shared inbox, you can categorize leads based on urgency, deal size, or other criteria. This allows you to prioritize high-value opportunities, allocate resources effectively, and maximize sales potential.

Scenario 4: Spot deals early

Some leads show initial interest but are at risk of being overlooked if not followed up promptly. With a shared inbox, you and your team can track all customer interactions in real-time. This enables them to identify early-stage deals, set reminders for follow-ups, and nurture prospects effectively from the outset, preventing potential opportunities from slipping through the cracks.

Scenario 5: Reduce missed opportunities

Due to the decentralized nature of communication, the sales team misses out on valuable leads and opportunities. By consolidating all customer inquiries and communications in a shared inbox, team members can ensure no lead goes unattended. With clear visibility into every interaction, they can follow up promptly, nurture relationships, and capitalize on every sales opportunity, thereby reducing missed opportunities.

Scenario 6: Email automation

The sales team struggles to maintain consistent follow-up with leads, resulting in missed opportunities and stalled deals. With email automation features, representatives can schedule automated follow-up emails at strategic intervals. This ensures that leads receive timely and personalized communication, keeping them engaged throughout the sales process and increasing the likelihood of conversion.

Scenario 7: Scale up through automation

Your team can successfully scale up its sales operations while maintaining efficiency and productivity. The automation capabilities streamline outreach, and follow-up processes, allowing the sales team to engage with a larger volume of leads in a more personalized and strategic manner. 

Using this tool your team can achieve higher conversion rates, increase sales velocity, and accelerate revenue growth.

Scenario 8: Personalization

The personalized communication resonates more strongly with prospects, leading to higher response rates, increased engagement, and ultimately, greater conversion rates. 

With custom columns, you can tailor each email to address specific needs or interests of recipients, you can significantly increase engagement and response rates. With custom columns, you can dynamically insert personalized details such as names, company information, or recent interactions, making your emails feel more relevant and authentic.

By dynamically inserting prospect names, company information, and other relevant details into email templates, the sales team delivers highly customized communication that resonates with recipients.

Your team can create customized outreach sequences within the sales engagement software, incorporating personalized touchpoints at each stage of the sales process. 

By segmenting prospects based on factors such as industry, job role, and pain points, your team can tailor sequences that address specific needs and challenges.

Scenario 9: Multichannel approach

A multi-channel approach can help your team to make better customer engagement.

Your team can achieve significant improvements in its overall sales performance and team effectiveness. The diversified communication strategy allows the team to reach customers across various touchpoints, such as email, social media platforms like LinkedIn, social texting apps like WhatsApp, built-in calling features to make calls across 200+ nations, and SMS. 

As a result, your team experiences higher conversion rates, increased customer retention, and improved growth.

Scenario 10: Reports and analytics

The use of reports such as the team leaderboard report, deal grid report, and hot prospects report enables the sales team to make informed decisions, optimize resource allocation, and drive strategic initiatives that drive business growth.

Team leaderboard reports can track individual and team performance metrics such as sales revenue, closed deals, and activity levels, whereas, the deal grid report offers a comprehensive overview of the sales pipeline, including the status of each deal, deal stage progression, and key milestones. 

Hot prospects report to identify and prioritize high-potential leads and opportunities. The report highlights prospects that have shown recent engagement or expressed interest in your products or services. 

Scenario 11: Opportunities pipeline

With the opportunities pipeline, your sales team can effectively manage its sales pipeline and convert prospects into deals. The team will have a clear visual representation of its sales roadmap with every step of the conversion process. 

By analyzing key metrics and indicators within the pipeline, such as deal value and lead quality, reps can identify high-potential opportunities and allocate resources more effectively. 

Additionally, the pipeline allows you to track the progress of each deal in real-time, enabling proactive decision-making and targeted interventions to address potential risks promptly. 

Scenario 12: CRM integration increase productivity

With CRM integration, sales reps no longer waste time manually entering data or switching between multiple tools. 

Instead, they can access customer information, sales history, and communication logs directly within SmartReach.io sales engagement platform. This seamless integration enables reps to focus more on selling and less on administrative tasks, leading to increased efficiency and productivity. 

Moreover, the CRM integration ensures that all customer interactions are automatically logged and tracked in a bi-directional data-sync, providing valuable insights for future sales efforts. 


Addressing sales team underperformance requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses various strategies and tools. 

By focusing on areas such as goal-setting, training, feedback, and incentive programs, organizations can empower their sales teams to achieve greater success. 

Implementing technology solutions like sales engagement platforms, CRM integration, and analytics tools can further enhance performance by streamlining processes, increasing efficiency, and providing valuable insights. 

Ultimately, consistent efforts to support and develop sales team members will lead to improved performance, stronger customer relationships, and sustainable business growth.


What strategies do you need to improve sales performance?

Gain a comprehensive understanding of your customers, offer them free trials, actively seek feedback, demonstrate superiority over competitors, and ensure customers grasp the benefits of choosing your software through referral strategies.

Why is understanding your customers important? 

Understanding your customers is essential as it allows you to grasp their specific needs and preferences regarding your products or services. This understanding fosters increased customer satisfaction and loyalty to your business.

Why do you need feedback from your customers?

Customer feedback is indispensable for sales as it aids in comprehending your customers’ needs and desires, pinpointing areas for improvement, and fostering trust and loyalty.

Why is building customer relationships important?

Establishing robust relationships with your customers enhances their trust and likelihood to make repeat purchases. Moreover, satisfied customers are inclined to refer your business to their network, facilitating the generation of new leads and increased sales.

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