Your underperforming salespeople are costing you more than you realise

Pile of money

Alan Chambers photo

By Alan Chambers, ArcTree Managing Director

If you read our latest case study last week, you would have seen how ArcTree helped an Australian capital goods supplier reverse their downward trend.

One of the major ‘Aha!’ moments for this client was when we started to analyse the cost of his non-performing salespeople. While he’d been content (if somewhat stressed and experiencing far too many sleepless nights) muddling along with salespeople who weren’t meeting their targets, when we actually sat down and looked at what keeping these people on his payroll was costing him, he felt sick. And quite honestly, so did I.

There’s no sugar-coating it: underperforming salespeople are a major drain on your business. It’s not a problem that will go away on its own. And it costs you far, far more than you realise.

This is the exercise we went through to get a clearer view of how much each under-target sales team member was costing him.

The real costs of underperforming salespeople

The real cost of underperforming salespeople

There’s nothing out of the ordinary in these figures. They’re an honest, conservative estimate of all of the costs you’re incurring if you have underperforming salespeople on your team.

If, like my client, this is an eye-opener for you – you’re not alone. We seem to prefer to delude ourselves and only think in terms of the person not achieving their quota. So we might tell ourselves that Frank only missed his quota by $80k, so that’s just some lost revenue. Or that Julia lost a big account, but she brought in 2 new accounts, so that’s not too bad, right?

The fact is, you can’t afford to be paying continual under-performers. And here’s the writing on the wall: you either need to pay to up-skill them – if that’s a possibility – or find someone who’s not going to be churning through your money and damaging the precious reputation of your business.

I invite you to complete the table above yourself and get an honest and accurate picture of how much your low performers are costing you. I’m quite certain it will be a lot more than you expect.


I love helping clients turn their sales and businesses around. After all, this is your livelihood and you’ve worked hard to get where you are. Don’t let your hard work go to waste by paying people who aren’t delivering the results you need.

I’m happy to have a conversation about how we can help your business – and its salespeople – achieve better results. Call me on 0435 838 847 or email alan@arctree.com.au.

Or, try out 2 complimentary talent analytics evaluations for yourself to understand your people better. You might want to compare a top performer with a bottom performer to accurately diagnose the critical differences between the two. You can get your complimentary profiles here.