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Updated: April 23, 2024 Ask ACE

Ask ACE: What do you recommend to increase market share and avoid missteps?

Q: We want to increase our market share which means we need to increase sales. We’d like to avoid missteps. What do you recommend?

ACE advises: Avoid these three mistakes when managing your sales team.

1. Do not set or increase sales goals without a strategy: “Just sell more” is not a strategy. It’s fine to set stretch goals. If you ask your sales team to reach the moon, they will simply give up, no matter how high you set the bonus for a lunar landing. Your goals and your strategy must be based on customer trends, the marketplace, sales promotion, and the team’s skills. Set goals per individual salesperson, and then for the team — there is no one goal for all.

2. Do not discourage your top performers in order to “be fair” to the rest of the team. Any sales team has one or two super performers, a group of reliable performers, and then a few non-performers. The non-performers may be new hires, or simply may not have what it takes. You cannot level the playing field by taking accounts away from the top performers and giving them to the non-performers. It will not end well. The marketplace is open to all and that’s fair. Either provide more training for the non-performers or cut them loose.

3. Do not penalize successful salespeople for earning too much. Top performing salespeople may even make more than managers and owners, which does not always sit well. This is the time to take a long view. If your overall sales costs are in line, you can’t afford to decrease or limit earning potential. You risk losing a high performing member of your team. The wrong move is to step in with some cost-cutting measure such as a decrease in commission or bonus structure, or to set very unrealistically high goals.

Donna Brassard, an ACE member and former publisher of Mainebiz, is owner of Strategies+, a consulting firm that helps businesses maximize potential. Learn more at, and you can reach Donna at

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