The Real Reason Salespeople Don’t Follow the Sales Process

By Jeb Blount

Sales is a process. I’ve heard and said these words more times than I can remember. Sales is a process is the mantra of the sales trainer – the hero and main character of countless sales books and a shape-shifting chameleon who takes on different forms, labels, acronyms, and layers as the complexity and length of the sales cycle increases.

Sales outcomes are predictable based on how salespeople leverage, execute, and move deals through the sales process. Follow a well-designed sales process with qualified opportunities, that are in the buying window, and you will close more deals. It’s the truth – and it’s a guarantee.

It’s Doesn’t Make Sense to Ignore It

The burning question is why – after all the investment that companies have made teaching salespeople the sales process – do salespeople ignore it and skip steps? After all:

  • The sales process, when fully leveraged, guarantees a higher win probability. Therefore, it just doesn’t make sense to ignore it.
  • Most salespeople are familiar with the sales process, are aware that the sales process is important, and understand the consequences of skipping steps.
  • Most sales organizations have defined and perfected a simple, easy-to-execute sales process with steps that are appropriate to their sales cycle and product complexity.
  • Most companies provide sales process training for their salespeople.

Yet many talented, educated, well-trained salespeople consistently crash and burn in the sales process. This is why, if you drive around to the back of office buildings, you’ll find rows of sales managers banging their foreheads against the bricks.

But it’s not caused by a flaw in sales process training. The problem is not logical, it’s emotional – a symptom of low Sales EQ: sales-specific emotional intelligence.  

Lack of emotional self-control is the fundamental reason salespeople fail in the sales process. They are unable to regulate and manage their own disruptive emotions. These disruptive emotions – including impatience, fear, desperation, eagerness, doubt, hope, insecurity, ego, and attachment – impede situational awareness, causing salespeople to ignore, skip, or mangle steps in the sales process.

Sales EQ Unlocks Ultra-high Sales Performance

Where ultra-high performers separate themselves from the masses of average salespeople is their ability to marry intellectual understanding of the linear sales process with sales-specific emotional intelligence.

Sales EQ is the key that unlocks ultra-high performance. It’s the meta-skill of 21st-century sales. The awareness and understanding of human influence frameworks – along with the ability to manage one’s own disruptive emotions within the context of the linear, logical sales process – is the rocket fuel of sales performance.

The impact of sales-specific emotional intelligence on sales performance can no longer be ignored and is now more essential to success in sales than at any point in history. Companies that invest in developing and improving sales-specific emotional intelligence in their salespeople will gain a decisive competitive advantage in the hypercompetitive global marketplace.

Hear Jeb Blount speak at the Sales 3.0 Conference May 1-2 in San Francisco, where he will present “Sales EQ: Sales-specific Emotional Intelligence and the Five Traits of Ultra-High Performers.”

Jeb Blount is the author of eight books, including Sales EQFanatical Prospecting, and People Follow You. He is a Sales Acceleration specialist who helps sales organizations reach peak performance fast by optimizing talent, leveraging training to cultivate a high-performance sales culture, developing leadership and coaching skills, and applying a more effective organizational design. Contact: 1-888-360-2249 or

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