“We are nearly 40% through August, which means that you should be over $9,000 in Bookings right now. Are you there? Do you have plans to be over $14,000 by the end of the week?”
I saw this on a ValleyWag post about AOL and it made me chuckle (I also used the awesome picture of Alec Baldwin from Glengarry Glen Ross for this post!). I’ve worked in start-ups and large-scale businesses and have seen a variety of communications (some desperate, some funny, and some very enlightening). I’ve also seen sales teams beaten over the head with this type of messaging and it almost never works except for creating the conditions for increased employee churn, especially among high-performers who just don’t want to hear this, whether it is directed at them or not.
If your product is not moving it may not be because your sales team doesn’t have the skills. Even an average sales person can sell a good product. Very often it is because the product itself, the marketing, and the company’s reputation, don’t align with the core needs, interests, and even ethics of your customer base.
Increased churn or a drop in revenue and new business are actually great opportunities for a company to audit itself and its practices. That kind of self-reflection can lead to an amazing turn-around and an exciting journey. Or you can blame everyone else.
In the meantime, enjoy the greatest (and worst) sales speech in history! (NSFW).