How to Turn Around a Sales Slump

Phil Harrell
Phil Harrell



slumped_shouldersA sales slump can quickly spiral. When a rep is struggling, customers can hear the desperation in their voices, and it turns them off. With the rep’s power to close weakened by shaken morale, a bad sales week can easily turn into a bad sales month. Or quarter. Or year.

What pulls a rep out of a slump is ironically the hardest thing for them to conjure when they’re in the thick of it: confidence. The moment when you’re feeling the worst is actually when you need to have the most faith in yourself. And if it feels undeserved, just remember: Your success depends on it.

Instead of despairing, here are six steps to take that can help you get your groove back.

1) Track your activity.

Many times, busts are a result of reps not maintaining a high level of activity. When you have a handful of hot leads at your disposal, it seems rational to bump prospecting or booking demos until next week. But this sets you up for a dry spell down the road.

To pull yourself out of a slump, refocus your attention on sales activity metrics, such as meetings scheduled and calls made, and pat yourself on the back when you reach certain thresholds -- perhaps with a nice dinner. This will help strengthen your pipeline and put you back on a winning path.

2) Analyze your activity.

Alternatively, a sales slump could be due to poorly executing on one activity in particular. Take some time to examine the success rate of key pipeline inputs, and the relationships between them. How many initial calls are you fielding, and how many of those are leading to demos? How many demos are leading to closed deals? Analyzing your activities in this way will reveal areas where you might need to focus more attention, or seek extra training. 

3) Go see a customer.

There’s nothing better for confidence than hearing a happy customer tell you how much they love your product or service. Visit or call a customer who you know is getting value out of your offering (ideally, one who you sold), and ask them to share their results with you. Their excitement will help spark your passion once again and reaffirm your purpose. In addition, listening to them explain why they like your product or service will give you more ammo to sell the value to new prospects. 

4) Have lunch with a top performer.

You’re not having a good month, but someone else on your team is. Identify that person, and spend some time with them. Pick their brains about what they’re doing that you might not be. What are you missing that they’re getting? As part of your team, they should be happy to help.

5) Involve your manager.

If you have a good manager, they’ll proactively reach out to you when they see your numbers are down. But if they don’t, you should absolutely seek out their help. 

Ask them to review your pipeline and recorded calls or demos to spot issues, and request additional coaching time to work on them. With their knowledge of the whole team’s practices, they’ll be able to diagnose where you’re going wrong, and give you a plan to correct the problem. If you have formulated a turnaround plan of your own, run it by your manager to get their buy-in and ongoing support. 

6) Take responsibility. 

Too often, sales teams blame a bad month on other functions in the organization, such as Marketing or Sales Enablement. This might alleviate your sense of panic, but it doesn’t help to turn around your slump. 

Don’t point the finger at anyone else. Instead, look in the mirror and figure out what you’re doing wrong. After all, no one else can hit your goal except for you. The sooner you can accept responsibility, the sooner you can break your losing streak. 

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