Bad sales team, or bad product?

Context: I'm the only person who's ever hit remotely close to a quota. I've built our sales process. We're scaling it now.


The problem: our TAM is fairly narrow, approx. 30-40% of the entire market is available to even talk to.


The product: definitely not up to par with the competitors.


The situation: Exec leadership doesn't seem to care or can't face the reality that our TAM is small and our product is subpar.


The question: How can you tell if your sales team is good or bad, or if the product is just no good? (I know the answer).


Therefore, how can you address the reality with the exec leadership team? and what solutions might there be to bring to them?

๐Ÿ‘‘ Sales Strategy
๐Ÿ’พ Product
19
Pachacuti
Politicker
6
They call me Daddy, Sales Daddy
If your opinion of your company is so poor, why are you there?

Pointing out those failings to your Exec leaders isnโ€™t going to help anything.

You need to decide for yourself if itโ€™s worth sticking around.
jefe
Arsonist
4
Head of Sales
I think this is the real question.
TennisandSales
Politicker
2
Enterprise Account Executive
this is what I was going to say. NOTHING you say will change the exec's mind unfortunately.

If the product is bad, bail.
ventox35
Politicker
1
Director of Business Development
trying to leave! but trying to make the most out of it. the people are good people, i want to add as much value as i can
Sunbunny31
Politicker
2
Sr Sales Executive
They haven't listened yet - not sure what it's going to take.
GoBlue
Old School Bravo
0
National Account manager
Agreed. If you care more about the lack of revenue than the execs, that is a problem there. Agree with everyone else. Bad product makes it very tough.
SADNESSLieutenant
Politicker
3
Officer of โ™ฅ๏ธ
or TAM is similar too. Try extending the product or improving it
CuriousFox
WR Officer
3
๐ŸฆŠ
Eh I have a feeling it's the product if the majority is doing poorly.
Sunbunny31
Politicker
3
Sr Sales Executive
Based on your comment, sounds like a bad product. Not up to par with competitors - definitely an uphill battle. Pair that with poor TAM - it's time to look for other opportunities.
Kosta_Konfucius
Politicker
2
Sales Rep
what is the renewal %?

If that is also low, probably a bad product
ventox35
Politicker
1
Director of Business Development
VERY LOW!!!
Kosta_Konfucius
Politicker
0
Sales Rep
Might just be a bad product then
Diablo
Politicker
1
Sr. AE
Why is that? What does the CSM do? Do you promise something that they donโ€™t get in your product or is prices โ€ฆ..
ventox35
Politicker
2
Director of Business Development
They react to the problems. it's a big mess...mainly i wanted validation from all you war room idiots that my product is bad and i need to leave
Diablo
Politicker
2
Sr. AE
Dang! You got it ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป
Sunbunny31
Politicker
4
Sr Sales Executive
Validation granted.

Go in peace.
Diablo
Politicker
2
Sr. AE
If the market is all open and people are ready to talk but the top line is stagnant there might be an issue with market fit and you should know the exact reason as you speak to the prospects.
BourbonKing
Valued Contributor
2
VP of Sales
It doesn't sound like they want to hear what you have to say. Why bother?
April
2
Pres BD
I faced similar situation. Very dysfunctional company organization, bad customer service, high margin demands, low quality, etc. I don't like to give up easily, so I spent 7 years of my life fighting "the good fight," made my pleas at the Board meetings 4 times per year, spent countless hrs with the owner/CEO trying to convince him. They all politely listened, but did nothing...very "old school" people. I joined as the youngest person in Sr Management/Board and 7 years later, at 58, I'm STILL the youngest (and the only non-white male). I told them not to renew my contract at the end of this year. They replaced me with two people, both white guys in their late 60's with no relevant experience. My advice: GET OUT....but do it smartly.
SDM
Politicker
1
Sales development manager
If you're able to sell a bad product... Get out asap.

Addressing reality in fron if leadership is not a solution.

1. Figure out new features in your product or2. new product ideas ๐Ÿ’ก3. upskill your sales team to hit the quota4. Solutions to improve what you have in hand
TennisandSales
Politicker
1
Enterprise Account Executive
and even if you have new product ideas, i doubt any one will listen to you haha
LordOfWar
Tycoon
1
Blow it up
If you don't believe in a product or a company don't work for them. No matter your success, you are not realizing your full potential.

I wish I learned that much earlier than I did, but I'm glad I DID learn it.
htxjoe
Good Citizen
1
Sales consultant
You canโ€™t be a good salesman and sell a bad product, a good salesman would listen to the customers needs and tell them the bad product is not the best solution for them - thus, impossible, good salesman canโ€™t sell a bad product
buckeyenation
Good Citizen
1
AE
Companies often find product market fit, but finding a super lucrative go to market fit/strategy is a different ball game. Consider market size and achieving a 20% close rate; only 3% of the market will ever consider buying in a given cycle (unless you are salesforce in 2005 and not the 5th best productivity app in a crowded market). For every 10 clients you want to close, you need a pool of 1500 true ICPs to nurture over time. Times a team of say, 6 reps - you need 9,000 true targets to even consider achieving anything and average deal size has to stay intact. I cofounded a start up and we definitely found product market fit, but growth trailed off to 10-30% per year because our market was only medium sized. This is why you see companies at certain run rates buy new companies because you need a lot of products to sell. Whether boomer boards want to admit it or not, their hour is up and it is time to see the world in a different way.
Mendizo
Executive
1
Sr. Director
I've long been in Sales, Sales leadership and Product Management, and the rule that is always true is: If you build a product that your customers love, you will succeed.

This is because 'building a product that your customers love' is not a single action. It is the result of an organization that listens, that cares, and that gives a damn.

Many of the things you've noted point to the fact that the organization does not, so I really don't see success unless multiple things change (leadership, product direction, etc.).

Now, I do applaud the fact that you are asking if there's anything you could do to help them see it (outside of the fact that I would hope they already are aware given the low renewal numbers, etc.)... here's a few thoughts:

1. Since no one likes being told they are doing something wrong, my personal attempt that helping in this situation would be coming from a self-deprecating approach, in a sense. You said that you are the only person who has ever come close to quota, and it sounds like they are leaning on you to expand your know-how to help the rest of the team. Perhaps ask your leadership something along the lines of "Hey, we all know that we have an issue when it comes to our AE's hitting quota, which is horrible for you in your job since you as managers are also held to that quota. Do you think we can make changes operationally so it's a win/win? Here's a couple things I'd suggest..."

If management doesn't care, then GTFO. Not worth your time.

2. Separately, Product issues are always ornery. I've been on both ends; as the Sales guy complaining about crappy product, but also as the product guy who owned sprints and had to prioritize. While it sounds like you have some systemic issues going on where your product lags way behind the competitors, if you still want to give them benefit of the doubt, then bring product gaps/suggestions in an organized way. What I used to do was collect a central list between Customer Service, Customer Success and Sales (the trifecta of teams which deal with shoddy products), and say to Product "Look, we know you have a hard job, we know you get asked to do a lot. Here is a central list of priority things we have compiled in an effort to help save you time. Do you think there is a way we could formalize how we might address some of these gaps over time?".

At one former company, a process we did that worked out really well was that Sales/Service basically got one of the Product Engineering teams to work on our stuff. As in, we had a pod (devs + QA) dedicated to working on critical fixes or product gaps that Sales/Service cared about (and we prioritized). This not only gave all these asks an outlet, it actually gave Sales/Service a seat at the table and ownership of the process. It's hard to complain about gaps when you are given time in sprints... and have to choose the priority! It also quickly gives Sales/Service a real sense of the difficulty product teams can have when faced with a thousand different competing asks for features.

Again, if management doesn't care, then GTFO. Not worth your time.
Sassy
Good Citizen
1
Platform Sales AE
Iโ€™m at a place with a great product and a horrible sales culture. I would swap those in a heartbeat. Just saying. But go try to find a new opportunity
activity
Politicker
0
VP, Business Development
I would be exiting stage left. This company sounds like a nightmare.
buckeyenation
Good Citizen
0
AE
...my next question: do they cosign on territory and expectations? Have they said explicitly here are your 500 accounts, we think you can close 50 of them in the calendar year and if not that's on us?
Sales_Yoda
0
Sales Leader
Some jobs are like a warm, wet diaper; it's comfy but you know you need to get out of it.
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