7 reasons why most business owners fail to build a high-performing sales team.
Written by Marx Acosta-Rubio 2019
7 reasons why most business owners fail to build a high-performance sales team.
There appears to be a lost art to actually remembering, that the sole purpose of owning any business is to generate the highest possible income for its owner(s).

We hear all this talk about “add value”, “build a great product”, “conquer your market”, “building a company so you can sell it”, and the list goes on and on and on.

Yet over 95% of all businesses fail within the first five years, and when you look at the statistics as to why, it is simply because of the LACK OF SALES.

Building a high-performance sales team, and understanding that your business is nothing more than a selling machine, hopefully a high-performing and profitable selling machine at that should be critical to every single business.

Yet we find lots of owners, particularly those who do not succeed, focusing on everything EXCEPT building a high-performing sales team.

Here are the seven biggest reasons why most business owners fail to do so.

1. Disdain for salespeople.

2. Believing that salespeople are born, not trained.

3. Trying to find the “right” salesperson.

4. Lack of understanding how to actually recruit, hire, manage, motivate, and train average people to become extraordinary in sales.

5. Lack of understanding the 4 roles of every CEO, entrepreneur, and business owner.

6. Not having a systematic sales process that never fails.

7. Believing that something is more important than focusing on sales.

We understand that sales cures all, specifically, profitable sales. Our companies ONLY exist to sell a product or a service, hopefully to the highest number of people, in the easiest and fastest way.

This really means that every single employee we have, whether we are a solo practitioners, or we have a thousand employees, from the receptionist, all the way up to the CEO are really there to generate one thing and one thing only, and that is NET INCOME.

Fact of the matter is that every employee is a salesperson, not to think so, just makes that company less efficient, and more about employing people than achieving results.

Building a high-performance sales team isn't just about hiring people to make them salespeople. It's about understanding that everybody in the organization has to produce more net income than they’re taking.

Big companies, which we often sometimes call "big dumb companies”, can often times hide the inefficiencies in inadequacies of their bureaucratic self because they are so big. But as a small business, anything under $250 million, we cannot afford to have any single employee who isn’t producing more in terms of net income than they’re taking from the company.

So YES, building a sales team is critical to the success of any company, which is something that every single owner should focus on.

However, understanding that building a sales team isn't just about the sales department, but about making everybody a better salesperson in the organization, will absolutely get your company to be significantly more profitable while also minimizing the tasks and projects and results that you as the owner can focus on.

So now that we have covered why sales, and “salespeople” are so critical to the organization, lets cover why most owners and CEO’s fail.

1. Disdain for salespeople.

Count me in!!!!

Yup… this was me.

In fact, I went to law school and never thought I would end up a “salesperson”. I had the image of all sales people being those nasty “used car stereo types,” and would have NEVER dreamed of being one.

But that was just me being ignorant (I was young, so I will chuck it up to that) and not understanding that nothing happens in the economy until somebody sells something.

Once I got over that, and started to hire salespeople to work for me, guess what happened?

I began to build even MORE disdain for salespeople. LOL

They were “lazy”, “stupid”, “tardy”, “needy”, “annoying”, “entitled”, “ arrogant”, “bothersome”, and just well… plain unlikeable.

I thought, how is this possible?

How come when I finally figured out how to be a great salesperson, love sales, I end up hating sales people even more!?

Because that is who they are, and we can’t help having dislike for them.

You see, I didn’t have to “love” my salespeople to succeed, but I certainly couldn’t have disdain for them, because if I did, then I would repel success vs. attract it.

And boy did I want to ATTRACT IT and not repel it.

In fact, I NEEDED to attract it, not repel it, so I had no choice. I had to find a way to not have disdain for them, and I figured it out.

Keep reading and you will figure it out too.

2. Believing that salespeople are born, not trained.

This is perhaps the most “common” misconception held by CEO’s and owners. Ya know, the whole “boy she is a natural born salesperson.”

Well, studies and research show us that the MOST SUCCESSFUL salespeople are NOT the “stereo typical” ones.

Empathy* is #1 on the list of what makes successful sales people successful and guess what #2 is?

#2 is the ability to follow a predictable systematic approach to selling.

Meaning, they do the same thing over and over and over and over again, only changing it to improve it, which is based on feedback they get in the market place.

Guess what? Both of those traits are LEARNED, not born.

Which is why I figured out that the thing that worked the WORST in hiring sales people was looking for A-Players, because usually they were the hardest to train, the most pain in the ass to deal with, and produced the least amount of profit.

So I did the opposite, I hired a bunch of losers, and that made me a fortune. Twice over!

Interesting how sometimes when you do the opposite of the so-called “experts” you end up producing significantly better results.

*Empathy is defined as understanding how they feel, not to be confused with sympathy, feeling how they feel.

3. Trying to find the “right” salesperson.

Like I said above, this is the kiss of death for a company. Looking for those A-Players. YUCK!!!

I had ex-convicts, crack addicts, pharmacy technicians, super market workers, electricians, recent high school graduates, wanna be actors, wanna be musicians (hey it was Cali ok? ;-) ), Jews, Mormons, Christians, Muslims, Atheists, white, African American, Hispanics, men, women, gays, you name it, I had them every kind of person working for me.

Average income at my company selling toner was $250,000 per year, COMMISSION ONLY.

Highest was $636,000 per year – who was that? The crack addict Eric. (He is now a retired millionaire with real estate giving him residual income). He is also clean and sober and has been for a very long time.

So you see, despite the push to find the “right” salesperson, I realized there is no such thing.

You know what there is?

A proper process for hiring, training, retaining and improving your salespeople.
Think about it.

Apple – Whom do they hire? How about Amazon? How about the military? You name a successful company and they have a process, a proven process, for brining in just about anybody, and getting them to perform to their expectations, or higher.

Now we are NOT talking about hiring anybody and getting him or her to do average work. NO!


We are talking about hiring anybody and getting him or her to perform as a HIGH ACHIEVER.

My sales guys and gals outsold the competition 5 to 1.

It takes 5 of our competitor’s sales people to sell what one of mine does.

And let me tell you, it’s NOT because we hired the “right” person.

Which leads me to the 4th reason why most owners fail to build a high performing sales team.

4. Lack of understanding how to actually manage, motivate, and train average people to become extraordinary in sales.

This might be the “SECRET SAUCE” if I had one.

I took me a while to figure this out and it was not easy. However, luckily for me, I didn’t know it was supposed to be “impossible”.

Because I had a company that sold ink and toner via the phone, it wasn’t like we attracted great prospects to work for me (see list above for some of the derelicts we hired – lol).

I wanted to be very successful and I wanted to do really well, so I had to figure out how to work with what I had, and of course, this turned out to be a HUGE blessing in disguise.

I was also selling at the time.

In fact I was still the #1 salesperson in my company. My day consisted of getting to the office and selling, because if I did not sell, NOBODY would get paid. Hence it was essential that I do so.

And this too turned out to be a HUGE blessing…

That and the fact that I HATE managing people, so I avoided it like the plague.
I did everything “wrong”.

I did not train them; I let them self-train with my materials.

I did not manage, instead I tracked and measured, and let our code of conduct and our process do the “managing.”

Truth is, I only talked to them when I coached them on the phone calls and at the end of the day when they gave me their #’s sheet.

This made them and me a fortune and produced a highly productive and fun environment.


Because NOTHING increases morale better than results.

Now this only took me so far.

We made the Inc. 500 Fastest growing company list, and then we hit a wall.
Our growth slowed down, and I couldn’t figure out why, until I uncovered #5.

5. Lack of understanding the 4 roles of every CEO, entrepreneur, and business owner.

Yes, I had become a world-class salesperson and a world-class trainer.
I held, and still hold, as far as I know, the record for the most sales made in our industry, and I had produced the best performing sales team I have ever encountered.

Yet, I hadn’t realized that being a CEO and an owner was more than just that.
I won’t fill these pages here with the details, of how I figured this one out, but I had help. Help from a guy who had worked with Lee Iacocca directly (if you don’t know who that is, you might wanna Google it, because he is a rock star!).

There are 4 roles that we as CEO’s and owners must focus on and master.

In fact these are the 4 things YOU CANNOT delegate if you are an owner or a CEO.

Dan taught me about 3 of them, but it wasn’t until I had my first consulting client that I came up with the 4th one myself.

Did I tell you I lost my first fortune?

I might have neglected to mention that, but I did.

I did it in a SPECTACULAR fashion too…. LOL

Broke when I stared at age 28, a millionaire by age 31, Deca-Millionare by age 36, and broke AF by age 38. Lol

But not to worry, my story is a happy story.

I went from broke, to rich, to worse than broke, to wealthy.

But we can talk about how to overcome obstacles and all that jazz later, for now lets get back to the 4 roles…. So here they are

If you are an owner or a CEO, you have these 4 roles and these 4 roles ONLY.

1. CMO – Chief Mindset Officer
2. CSO – Chief Strategic Officer
3. CTO – Chief Team Building Officer
4. CSO - Chief Sales Officer

You cannot delegate, or abdicate any of these 4.

Nobody can set the right mindset for you or your company, but you.

Nobody can set the right strategy for your company, but you.

Nobody can build the right team for your company, but you.

Nobody can build the right sales process for your company, but you.

Neglect or abdicate any of these and you will either not grow, or worse, like it happened to me, you will lose it all.

BTW – the ONLY reason to EVER hire ANYBODY for your company is to have them help you execute the strategy.

Other than that, there is ZERO reason to ever hire anybody.

I got this right the 2nd time, and the results were spectacular.

Luckily for me, we had already figured out # 6.

But 99.3% of all companies I have ever consulted, coached or seen has not get #6.

6. Not having a systematic sales process that never fails.

Yup, they all wanna wing it, or let someone else do this for them.

CEO’s and owners, unless they’re a great sales trainer, always miss the mark here HUGELY.

This is probably the lowest hanging fruit, where we get the fastest and highest ROI right off the bat.


Because systematizing the sale process THE RIGHT WAY, increases all of the ratios super fast.

# of contacts goes up, % of closes goes up, # of follow ups goes up, % of retention goes up, and % of repeat biz goes up, and the morale goes thru the roof!

You also get the added benefit of reducing the negatives too.

Time managing sales people disappears, murmurings and politicking goes to virtually zero (sorry, can’t get it to zero – but we get pretty close), absenteeism virtually disappears, and best of all, sales people problems tend to go away too.

If you take anything from this article, is to systematize your selling process ASAP, because it will have the greatest and quickest impact to your bottom line…. Like immediately, now, not next year impact.

Unless, of course, you find yourself suffering from #7.

7. Believing that something is more important than focusing on sales.

Ugh… the #1 destroyer of all companies, the EGO!

How do I know… guess how I lost my first fortune?

Welcome to the EGO… TADAAAAAAA

You know, not the ego that you think is confidence, but the EGO that is there to protect you from getting hurt.

Some would say fear, but that is not entirely accurate.

The EGO says; “You know it all”, “you don’t need help”, “you will be embarrassed if you ask for help,” “what will people think, that you are weak, and you can’t show them weakness,” etc.

You know that whole thing about, “if you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them. “ Right?

The EGO wants to protect you from shame, and what it does instead is paralyze you and stop you from growing.

I lost my first fortune because I did 2 dumb things.

1. I abdicated the 4 roles of the CEO, and
2. When we started to crash and burn, I let my EGO get in the way and arrogance prevented me from making better decisions.

This is soooooooooooooooooo common among owners and CEO’s, more so in men than women (sorry guys).

This is always the #1 reason that prevents anybody from ever wanting my help. They rationalize it, but in the end, it’s the EGO that kills them.

I usually can tell too, and so can you, and then I wait… for things to get so bad and for them to be so frustrated that they finally call me.

I am usually the last call they make too.

I am the guy they call when all else fails. I just wish they didn’t wait till then, as it makes their jobs, and mine, harder.

97.3% of all those who contact me and use us in some capacity or other, hire us right away end up producing over 374% more results faster than those who wait.


I can only hypothesis that they have no EGO, they just want results and will do whatever it takes to get them.

Nothing is more important than sales.

Operations isn’t, finances isn’t, R&D isn’t, raising money isn’t, NOTHING is more important than sales.

Remember, you don’t own a company, you own a selling machine, and hopefully a HIGH PERFORMANING Selling machine.

By now, you might be thinking to yourself, well, what does a “high performance machine” look like?

I have an easy and simple formula, and it goes like this RM+M=E

Now if you wanna know what the RM+M=E stand for, send me an email at
marx@callmarx.com and I will send you the PDF.

You can also schedule a time for you and I to chat if you would like by clicking on this link.

Click the link below 👇🏻😃 and pick a time that best works for YOU

And if I do not have the pleasure of connecting with you yet, my sincerest desire is for you to be able to destroy these 7 limitations and build a high performing sales team, and company.

Here’s to taking ACTION on the things that matter.


Marx Acosta-Rubio

Marx helps people start and grow highly profitable sales teams.  He is an expert at helping owners get more sales using a simple to understand and implement sales system that never fails.

If you're interested in growing your sales team or getting more sales then definitely reach out and request a free strategy session today.
©2019 Marx Acosta-Rubio