Time flies when your salespeople are hitting budget. The days drag on and on when they aren’t. The first quarter of 2016 is a couple of weeks in the rearview mirror now. Did you and your sales team deliver the budgeted number? Did everyone achieve the milestones you were being measured against?

What was your team’s level of engagement? Was everyone playing full out or were your people “selling through the motions”? That’s like “going through the motions,” and that typically means they are working without a plan. “Oh, what plan?” you say. “We never really got around to actually writing a trackable, clear plan for each individual salesperson.”

Of course my next question is – how are they doing with their sales skill developmental plans? “Sigh… we never got to those, either.”

Recently, I’ve been asked what a sales manager should do when a salesperson doesn’t hit budget. Should the salesperson be put on a PIP? Should she be put in the penalty box and not get the good leads? Should she know we are unhappy with her?

Well, there’s a time for all of the above. Sales leaders need to remember that if salespeople aren’t hitting or exceeding budget, they probably aren’t making the money they want or need and surely aren’t happy with themselves. They should be coached, they should be trained, and they should be held accountable for the right behaviors. If they still aren’t making it once all of that has been thoroughly exhausted, they should be encouraged to move on to something that is more suitable for them – and for the company.

Here’s the problem as I see it. Most sales managers don’t know how to coach or train or what they are actually holding folks accountable for because they haven’t been taught how to do these things.

So, my real answer is – Sales Managers, get up to speed. Bring in the resources needed to train, coach, and develop you as a sales manager. Just because you were a great salesperson doesn’t mean you have the necessary skills as a sales manager. It’s okay – no judgment here. Just be honest and get up to speed. Have your own developmental plan and work it. It’s almost impossible to hold salespeople accountable if you are not holding yourself accountable.

Who are you actually accountable to? At the end of the day, you are accountable to make it happen. Period. The end of the 2nd quarter will be here before you know it, but like Yogi said, “It ain’t over til it’s over.” If it didn’t happen for you, your team, or someone on your team in the first quarter, now is the time to make changes, get those plans written, call in those resources, make it happen.

Still not sure how to do that? We know how. And, we are happy to help.

By Mary Anne Wampler,