Can Business Development Efforts Lead to Less Sales? 3 Tips!

The Point: The common Sales Leader thought goes something like “Increased business development efforts lead to more sales.” But what if you, as a Sales Leader, increase your business development efforts and achieve less sales? We’ve run into this a few times here at Tip of the Spear when conducting some Sales/Business Development advisory services. So what is Sales Leadership to do when faced with decreasing sales as a result of increased business development efforts? In this post we’ll explore the topic can business development efforts lead to less sales and provide 3 tips… Enjoy!

Definitions of Sales Leadership

One of the most effective definitions of leadership, as applied to sales, comes from former president Dwight D. Eisenhower. President Eisenhower defined leadership as “the art of obtaining some other person to try and do one thing you wish done as a result of HE needs to try and do it.” Another nice definition comes from Peter Drucker, the dean of contemporary management. Drucker was quoted in a speech as saying “Effective leadership isn’t concerning creating speeches or being liked; leadership is outlined by results, not attributes.”

Leaders today face the distinct challenges of managing their stakeholders (Typically comprised of their superiors, subordinates and peers). I took these factors into account and adopted a “new” thorough faculty sales leader approach to sales leadership. What will that mean in practice?

The aforementioned suggests that adapting several of the core leadership practices that have been championed for years and trade them to suit today’s various sales department. What follows are 3 tips to help sales leadership when confronted with business development efforts that lead to less sales:

Tip #3 – Set Realistic/Measurable Milestones

A play off of setting SMART (Specific/Measureable/Attainable/Relative/Time Specific) goals. Sales involves driving towards goals. However, the sales team will not solely reach those goals if they’re realistic (They might be too easily attained, not enough STRETCH!) Sales leadership has to be compelled to work with their team to align milestones that are simultaneously difficult and achievable.

Tip #2 – Align Sales Goals with Business Strategy

Sales Goals ought to be grounded in business strategy and be measured over time. Doing this keeps the sales team on-time/on-target, provides perceptive information to guide new methods, and keeps workers engaged. Once the team witnesses the results of their efforts and recognizes their efforts, they’re driven to further engage to push forward and improve. In fact, a survey conducted by Globoforce found 70% of workers say that they need a bigger emotional association to their job once they’re recognized for his or her work.

Tip #1 – Share Holistic Feedback

Traditionally, sales leadership has stressed performance feedback. However, this feedback tends to be targeted on individual goals and outcomes. They’re observing every employee’s numbers and figures. Whereas scrutinizing concrete outcomes remains necessary, only specializing in this monetary information isn’t the foremost effective way to motivate sales performance. The sales leader understands that feedback must address discussing facts because the job competencies that builds a robust sales performance are present.


Effective sales leadership is often the distinction between a sales organization that thrives and a mediocre one that hardly stays afloat. Yet, several of the most effective sales managers still mistake the outline in their job title for one thing that’s not even crucial to sales success. Leadership is not a lot of unchecked personal magnetism, rah-rah speeches and a charming demeanour. Instead, in order to offset increased business development efforts that lead to less sales by assigning quotas and reviewing performance reports.

Sam Palazzolo

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About Sam Palazzolo, Managing Director

Sam Palazzolo is Managing Director at Tip of the Spear Ventures, an agile Venture Capital and Business Advisory Services firm specializing in Mergers & Acquisition, Sales / Business Development & Turnaround Management.