Building High-Performing Sales Teams: Accountability, Strategy, and Success

Building High-Performing Sales Teams: Accountability, Strategy, and Success

Navigating the complexities and ensuring a robust and productive team are pivotal to achieving sustained success in sales. Accountability within a sales team requires pinpointing underperformance and creating an environment where feedback is constructive and growth is nurtured. The notion that no team member should be surprised by a change in their employment status underscores the importance of transparent communication. Setting realistic expectations and having regular discussions ensures that salespeople know where they stand and what is expected of them.

Underperformance can stem from various factors, but a common issue highlighted is the lack of skills. Identifying this gap is the first step toward rectification, paving the way for targeted coaching and development. Coaching isn’t just about improving skills; it’s about instilling the right behaviors that drive success. This is particularly crucial in small businesses where the owners might juggle multiple roles, potentially overlooking critical aspects of their operations, including sales.

The dialogue also touches upon the importance of diversifying strategies beyond a single mode of customer engagement. For instance, relying solely on email without integrating calls can limit a salesperson’s effectiveness. Similarly, focusing too intensely on a single key account to the detriment of prospecting new clients can jeopardize overall sales performance.

Sales managers play a crucial role in facilitating the development of their team members, not only by setting expectations but also by actively participating in joint sales calls and understanding the challenges their salespeople face. Unfortunately, many sales managers haven’t engaged in such activities with their team members in years, highlighting a gap in leadership engagement that can contribute to underperformance.

Peer accountability, celebrating small wins, and fostering a culture where successes are recognized and rewarded contribute significantly to a healthy sales environment. These practices motivate salespeople and help to identify those struggling, offering them the support needed to improve. It’s a collective effort, emphasizing that sales is not just about individual achievements but about lifting the entire team, reflecting the adage that a rising tide lifts all boats.

Therefore, Addressing underperformance is not just about identifying weaknesses but creating an ecosystem where salespeople are supported, skilled, and motivated to excel. It involves a comprehensive approach, from ensuring adequate training and development to fostering a culture of accountability and support.

For sales managers and CEOs, the key takeaway is the importance of being actively involved in their team’s development, understanding their challenges, and providing the resources and support necessary for success. Sales is a complex and demanding field, but with the right strategies and a supportive environment, outstanding results are possible.

Actionable items that you can use today!

  1. Evaluate Communication and Expectations: Initiate a comprehensive review of your current communication practices and the clarity of expectations within your sales team. Ensure that every member clearly understands their goals, the metrics by which they are evaluated, and the consequences of underperformance. This could involve revising job descriptions, performance metrics, or the regularity and format of feedback sessions.
  2. Implement a Peer Accountability System: Start the process of establishing a peer accountability system by organizing a team meeting to discuss its benefits. Encourage your sales team to share their successes and challenges openly, and pair team members to serve as accountability partners. This system should aim to foster a supportive environment where salespeople can learn from each other and motivate one another toward achieving their sales targets.
  3. Develop a Mini-Coaching Plan: Identify at least one salesperson on your team who may be struggling or showing signs of underperformance. Design a short, targeted coaching plan to address their specific challenges, whether they be skill-based or motivational. This plan could include shadowing a high-performing team member, attending a specific training session, or setting up regular coaching meetings to work on identified areas of improvement.
Two Tall Guys Talking Sales Podcast – Empowered by ESOP: Enhancing Sales Management in Employee-Owned Firms with Wisdom by Marc Metz – E83

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales Podcast – Empowered by ESOP: Enhancing Sales Management in Employee-Owned Firms with Wisdom by Marc Metz – E83

In this enlightening episode of Two Tall Guys Talking Sales, hosts Kevin Lawson and Sean O’Shaughnessey continue their engaging dialogue with Marc Metz, a seasoned expert in the sales and business transition arena. Building on the momentum of their previous conversation, they delve into the intricacies of transitioning a business through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Marc shares firsthand experiences and practical insights, making this a must-listen for business owners contemplating a transition that rewards employees and preserves the company’s legacy.

Key Topics Discussed

  • The ESOP Transition Model: An exploration of the ESOP as a unique strategy for business transition, focusing on its structure, benefits, and challenges. Marc shares a compelling case study of a construction company making this significant shift.
  • Management and Structural Challenges: Discusses the critical need for a clear management structure post-transition, emphasizing the importance of placing the right people in the right positions and avoiding the pitfalls of rapid corporatization.
  • Preparation and Strategy: Offers valuable advice on preparing for an ESOP transition, including the slow and deliberate evaluation of candidates for leadership roles within the new ownership structure.
  • Sales Team Dynamics Post-Transition: Examines the sales team’s role during and after the transition to employee ownership, highlighting strategies to rejuvenate and realign sales efforts with the company’s new direction.

Key Quotes

  • Kevin: “It’s interesting that we talk about helping people avoid landmines. So Sean and I use a lot of our past experience to talk about where we skinned our knees so that others don’t have to.”
  • Sean: “I’m a big believer in three salespeople become four, four become five, five becomes six. And you use that existing run rate that you got from the first three, first four, first five to pay for that next one. And you grow profitably by doing that.”
  • Marc: “Go slow. I’ll tell you one thing is if the owner can do it three to five years before they’re actually ready to sell, it’s going to provide dividends to them and they’re going to have a better multiple more money in their pocket.”

Additional Resources

  • Traction by Gino Wickman: Recommended reading for listeners interested in understanding the EOS model and the GWC concept (Get it, Want it, Capacity to do it) that Marc references during the discussion.


For any business owner pondering the path to employee ownership, this episode offers a wealth of knowledge, cautionary tales, and strategic advice. Through Marc Metz’s experienced lens, listeners gain an understanding of the ESOP model’s complexities, the importance of careful planning and execution, and the pivotal role of sales leadership in navigating a business’s transition. Whether you’re in the early stages of considering an ESOP or looking to optimize your sales team post-transition, this episode of Two Tall Guys Talking Sales is invaluable. Tune in to equip yourself with the insights needed to ensure a smooth and successful transition to employee ownership.

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales Podcast – Mastering the Art of Business Transition: Insights from Marc Metz – E82

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales Podcast – Mastering the Art of Business Transition: Insights from Marc Metz – E82

In this riveting episode of Two Tall Guys Talking Sales, hosts Kevin Lawson and Sean O’Shaughnessey welcome a special guest, Marc Metz, President of Optimus Sales Group. Together, they delve into the critical yet often overlooked topic of business transitions, providing invaluable insights and strategies for companies navigating the journey from generation to generation. This episode is a treasure trove of knowledge for business owners, sales leaders, and anyone involved in the business’s lifecycle.

Key Topics Discussed

  • Business Transition Strategies: Marc Metz shares his expertise on the three main ways businesses transition: selling to an outsider, passing on to family members, and employee stock ownership programs. Each method comes with its unique set of challenges and opportunities.
  • Overcoming Overvaluation and Sales Dependencies: A common stumbling block for pre-sale businesses is the company’s overvaluation and the heavy reliance on the owner for sales. Metz discusses strategies to realign expectations and decentralize sales efforts.
  • The Importance of Building a Business to Sell: Metz emphasizes the critical nature of preparing a business for sale from day one. This involves creating robust systems and processes that ensure the business can thrive independently of the current owner.
  • Sales Team Dynamics in Transitions: The discussion highlights the potential pitfalls and strategies around managing key sales personnel during a transition, ensuring their loyalty, and maintaining sales momentum under new ownership.

Key Quotes

  • Kevin: “How do they, get ready to get ready to sell? If they wake up tomorrow and say, I want to sell by April, they might be, might be challenged. But if they wake up and say in a few Aprils, in a few years from now. What might the recipe be that you would prescribe because you’ve been there done that?”
  • Sean: “So I want to build on this topic a little bit more. Let’s play the scenario out. … It’s just a good employee. Been around, been very loyal to the company. … And now you’re trying to sell that. So I’m, I’m foreseeing a problem of if I’m a buyer of that business, I’m saying, well, how loyal is that one salesperson?”
  • Marc: “The first exercise I recommend to these guys and gals is hey, look what happens if you get hit by a bus tomorrow? What’s going to happen to your business? Think about that and start putting things in place That’ll mitigate that risk because that’s the very very first thing and I’m talking all aspects operations sales financial, all of those things, look at everything.”


Whether you’re a business owner contemplating the future, a sales leader navigating changes, or simply interested in the dynamics of business transitions, this episode is a must-listen. Kevin, Sean, and Marc provide a rich discussion filled with actionable advice, real-world experiences, and strategic insights designed to equip you with the tools you need to navigate the complex landscape of business transitions. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from the experts and ensure the legacy and longevity of your business. Tune into this episode of Two Tall Guys Talking Sales for a deep dive into preparing your business for the next chapter.

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales Podcast – Scoring Big in Sales: Lessons from March Madness – E79

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales Podcast – Scoring Big in Sales: Lessons from March Madness – E79

In this sports-oriented episode of “Two Tall Guys Talking Sales,” hosts Kevin Lawson and Sean O’Shaughnessey dive into the fascinating parallels between March Madness NCAA basketball tournaments and sales strategies. Kevin and Sean take this opportunity to explore how the tournament’s structure and the season leading up to it offer valuable lessons for developing winning sales strategies.

Key Topics Discussed:

  1. Preseason Preparation and Regular Season: The significance of constant improvement and team synergy throughout the sales season to refine strategies, similar to a basketball team’s journey to the NCAA tournament.
  2. Tournament Strategy and Sales Planning: Drawing analogies from the NCAA’s regional competitions and seed rankings to sales approaches, market positioning, and competitive analysis.
  3. Winning the Customer Relationship: Identifying the final sales deal as the ‘national championship game,’ focusing on strategic planning and execution to win customer trust and secure business.
  4. Overcoming Adversity and Learning from Losses: The importance of analyzing lost sales opportunities (akin to unexpected tournament upsets) to understand and improve future sales tactics.
  5. Sales Team Dynamics and Individual Growth: Encouraging personal development and adapting roles within the sales team for optimal performance, paralleled with a basketball team’s adjustment to injuries and game dynamics.

Key Quotes:

  • “The trophy in sales is the customer relationship.” – Kevin Lawson
  • “Only one team ends the season with a victory; similarly, in sales, there’s only one winner.” – Sean O’Shaughnessey
  • “It’s important to win through better execution of the plan… and hard work.” – Sean O’Shaughnessey
  • “We’ve got to figure out our place in the market… It’s the same progression in business.” – Kevin Lawson

Additional Resources:

MEDDPICCC for sales strategy and the importance of opportunity qualification –


This episode is a masterclass for sales professionals and leaders looking to elevate their game by drawing inspiration from March Madness’s structure, strategy, and spirit. Kevin and Sean’s dialogue reminds us of the importance of preparation, strategy, resilience, and continuous learning in the quest to win in sales. As the NCAA tournament captivates basketball fans, let it also inspire sales teams to strive for excellence, adapt to challenges, and ultimately clinch their championship trophy: a successful and lasting customer relationship