Author Archives: Antigone

About Antigone

Random jottings & practical tips about all things sales. B2B including sales management, sales coaching, recruitment and training.

Bullsh*tters Need Not Apply – Part 2

CV Lies

Having banged on about how too many sales people are let out into the field without adequate training, I’ve also long felt that our managers are untrained in recruitment. Sure, at the end of the day it usually comes down to 3 basic questions:

– Can the applicant do the job?
– If offered, would they take the job?
– Will they fit in?

But, prior to any interviews will be at least one shortlist and this will be down to CVs. Even if HR are involved, the CV and/or application form will be the basis of interview questions.

The most immediate advice I can give is for directors to instruct any managers who are recruiting to put some serious time into looking at CVs: marking them up with notes, queries and questions to ask. Tell them to be aware of anything which ‘just doesn’t look right’. Secondly, it should go without saying that if particular qualifications are essential for the job they must be checked. Finally, in keeping with the best sales technique interviewers should ask open-ended questions (ie questions beginning with who? what? where? when? who? which? or why?) These will enable the nervous-but-honest to open up and talk about their experience – but make it harder for liars to lie. In short, a closed question can be batted away easily by the bluffer with just one word – “yes” or “no”. The burden then quickly falls back onto the interviewer to ask another question giving the liar valuable time to coolly prepare himself. Instead, asking a question such as “In what way did your responsibilities change in your eight years with British Airways?” will make it far harder for the liar to answer convincingly, because it requires a more detailed answer. If (s)he is genuine – and any good as a potential candidate – they will explain what they did during that time, giving you useful information in understanding how that experience is relevant to the vacancy in mind. Following with further open-ended questions will continue to pin down the bluffer.

Recruiting new people always carries some risk. Entrusting your company’s sales to someone without basic checking and unprepared interviewing can be foolhardy. To quote Albert Einstein, “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with the truth in important matters.” However, business owners can’t be expected (nor will they want to) to micromanage every vacancy which comes up in their organisation, but they can – and should – alert their management team to the fact that a significant number of applicants are happy to present themselves less than truthfully.



Cracking the Whip

Cracking the Whip 1

Probably early days yet, but Whiplash (2014) seems to be one of those film titles which people can’t quite place until you say “It’s the one about drumming”.

Whiplash is an excellent film on all fronts: script, acting, music. What’s more, it has a thrilling pace – and a seat of the pants ride to boot, as you cheer for Andrew (played by Miles Teller) an aspiring jazz drumming student against his talented but terrifying and cruel conductor Terence Fletcher (J. K. Simmons). The film, which focuses on this tense relationship between teacher and student addresses the question of just how far do you drive for excellence and is it true you won’t get excellence if you don’t push?

Fletcher is hectoring, taunting, bullying and spiteful – all in his belief that only by driving performance will he breed a musical genius (he’s looking for the next jazz legend). He ponders that nobody ever seems to reach his high standards: “There are no two words in the English language more harmful than ‘good job’ ”.

The film’s pace doesn’t really allow the viewer to drift off and think about something else, but at the back of my mind were recollections – both witnessed and anecdotal – of ‘psychopathic’ sales managers whose methods of ‘motivation’ would make Fletcher proud.

Such managers justify their actions in the belief that their staff are inherently lazy; that without cracking the whip they won’t do their job. And so, their alarmed staff try to work on in misery: in an atmosphere of rages, ritual humiliation and bullying of hapless individuals picked-out and picked-on. I’ve seen one such environment all the worse in the afternoons owing to the after effects of one particular manager’s liquid lunch…

Everyone who’s worked in sales knows it’s rarely an easy ride and sales people need to be resilient. We are at the mercy of external factors with so many ‘known unknowns’: the market, the economy, competitors, at times even the weather. Internal factors such as self-motivation play a critical part too. A good sales manager will have an armoury of techniques to keep up team spirit and motivate individuals. Armoury such as encouragement and praise when it is due – as well as games and incentives to sustain interest and focus. Additionally, they will communicate standards of professional behaviour and procedures, setting clear parameters of what is not acceptable. A sloppy sales force never gets very far. However, the minute a manager has to resort to insulting individuals in public, that manager is less in control than he may like to think. This doesn’t mean that targets should not be strived for, or that problems should not be confronted. I’ve often had to remind sales managers ‘there’s a time and a place for a rollocking’ meaning that if a shortfall in performance needs to be addressed, it should be done one-to-one and follow company/employment law procedures (sorry to be boring). If an individual is not cut out for the role they’re in, they should be let down gently. If they are in the right position, but experiencing difficulties or a crisis of confidence (it happens – even to the talented) the manager has to be prepared to do some work and provide appropriate training/support. Sometimes, all it takes is a ‘fireside chat’. Sure, no manager goes to work to make friends, but it’s a sad and common fact of office life that some (and I don’t exclude women) see it as an arena to inflict fear and intimidation in the belief that it’s the only way to get results.

It does not. And if it does, it won’t be for long.

Rather than start preaching about the legal requirement of ‘duty of care’ (which in my experience, most employers are usually good at understanding) let’s remind ourselves of the potential damage to profitability when staff are put under unreasonable and relentless intimidation. As well as weakening productivity, quality of sales can suffer: for example, reps functioning in ‘survival mode’ will be more likely to go for quick, but lower value sales. Furthermore, these examples of consequential costs should make any business owner blanch: compensation and/or legal costs, staff turnover, re-recruitment and re-training costs – in addition to the resulting loss of investment in training and experience. I’m not advocating that business owners lie awake at night paranoid about keeping their organisation’s name out of the law books – but it is for individual employers to weigh up whether such financial risks could ever be worth the indulgence of one crazy manager’s ego.

Postscript: 23rd February 2015 – last night Whiplash won three Oscars including one for J. K. Simmons (Best Supporting Actor). The film was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture.



John Parmenter 1951-2014

Between Christmas and New Year I learned of the unexpected passing of a much respected colleague who was my second in command when we worked together in the 1990s.

The first blog of this year is a tribute to his memory.

John, or JP as everyone knew him was an outstanding sales rep, building his territory through the 1980s and 90s into one of the highest grossing areas for the organisation. In his time, he was the only salesman to win the company award for salesperson of the year, twice. He made a successful move into sales management and applied a range of exceptional skills. JP was a larger than life character, one of life’s one-offs with bags of ability and a cracking sense of humour. Rather than go into cliquey anecdotes from that time (of which there are many) there are some of his personal qualities I’d like to share with you which are relevant to successful sales management.

Because he was so positive, without effort, JP was a good motivator of people. His sole drive was to achieve results for the team – proving that to motivate you need to be motivated yourself. (Think about it – who ever followed anybody who was demotivated?  Whether middle managers or political leaders, who wants to be led by someone who doesn’t care or isn’t interested?) Without needing any reminder he practised my sales management mantra of “There is no such word as ‘Can’t’.”  With this in mind, together we challenged long-established practises and codes to further improve a thriving sales department.

Another of his qualities was that if a plan or proposal had a weakness or flaw he would spot it – giving lie to the popular myth that only people who are thick go into sales – because they probably aren’t fit to do anything else. On the contrary, the best people in sales never stop thinking at least one step ahead. Furthermore, two heads are always better than one, and in such aspects JP’s insight was invaluable. People I’ve worked with have laughed at my insistence for a ‘sanity check’ before anything important goes out; whether it’s a set of numbers, a piece of promotional copy or a sales proposal. Better safe than seriously embarrassed later on.

He was also a good communicator. I have no doubt that under-performers felt very stung by any frustration or disappointment he expressed in them – but managers have to address shortfalls in performance – supportively – before it’s too late. In any sales campaign, time is of the essence: problems don’t go away they almost always become worse. Too often, by the time I have been called in to help, any critically under-performing sales people will have escalated into an HR issue – the resolution of which ends up costing far more than a bit of remedial training.

JP was also one of those people in sales who looked the part: he was always immaculately turned out. From their cars to clothes, holidays to home improvements I’ve long pondered just why so many people in sales enjoy quality stuff. Is it because they appreciate a good sales pitch (because they didn’t have to make it themselves?) Or are they so immersed in their bubble of commerce that they’re drawn to goods which, slickly marketed, tend to be at the higher end? Whatever the psychology, it all points to being passionate about high standards: it’s likely that anyone who cares about the impression they make on others will have standards, and professional sales means aiming high in all aspects – whether it’s the calibre of the people you recruit, the impact of your sales presentation or the design of your marketing materials.

Finally, I must pay tribute to JP’s wit. I have always said that sales has got to be fun – alternatively go and do something easier but boring instead. In staff management as well as in sales, we all recognise that people buy people – the clue’s in the cliché. Few of us would choose to deal with a misery guts. Whilst understanding when the game needed to be serious, JP would lighten the atmosphere with a joke; if there was a double entendre waiting to be uncovered, JP would find it. We’d all crack up laughing and an otherwise tedious meeting would zip along.

And this sums him up all over: whether it was a joke (and god knows these were sometimes ripe), improving an established practice or over reaching a target – he loved to push the boundaries. This is what sales management is all about: striving to become better and achieve more.

My heartfelt condolences to his many friends as well as to his family – in particular his wife and son.



Dear Diary

Mobile Phone Diary

Every year, for retailers and their suppliers, the customary seasonal countdown seems to start earlier and earlier. But for the rest of us in b2b sales, it will begin proper after this weekend. At least this year – because December 1st falls on a Monday – workaholics and the conscientious will be pleased to see that at least they will be able to fit in a good three weeks’ worth of sales activity before the break.

Focusing on a practical but vital aspect of sales management, whether your sales people use analogue or digital means to schedule their appointments, follow ups and call backs, now is the time to establish good diary habits ready for the early part of 2015.

As you all know, I regard motivation (and self-motivation in particular) as one of the main cornerstones of sales success – and a busy diary must surely be a key feature. Or to look at it another way, who is going to feel a greater compulsion to perform next year? The salesman with a full diary or the one with a blank one?

Don’t hold back from asking your sales managers and reps the following question: “What’s in your diary for January and February?”  If you get a blank look, it’s time for some very tough love…



Bullsh*tters Need Not Apply – Part 1

CV Lies 1

At its broadest, sales is a chain of relationships based on trust. A company places trust in its salespeople to sell its goods or services persuasively and professionally, with relevant departments meeting orders accurately. In turn, salespeople need to trust their company: that the orders they’ve sold will be fulfilled according to what they presented; that they will be paid their salary and any commission due. Both salesperson and employer need to trust that the customer will honour payment on time. Meanwhile, customers will have based their buying decision on information and/or technical data given by the salesperson; they will trust that any promises, special requirements or other expectations are fully met.

Last month, HR Review published an article – ‘The 7 Most Common CV Lies’ – and it struck me just what a breach of trust it is when someone applies for a sales vacancy on a false basis; the sales function is too important to be put into the hands of deceivers. There cannot be many employers who would knowingly allow their product to be sold by someone who fabricated their qualifications or experience. After all, if someone has already lied about themselves, undetected, to a new employer, what kind of standards are they going to apply when dealing with prospects and customers?

These are the seven most common lies – according to employers – which HR Review listed:

1.  Embellished skills set (57%)

2.  Embellished responsibilities (57%)

3.  Dates of employment (40%)

4.  Job title (36%)

5.  Companies worked for (32%)

6.  Academic degree (27%)

7.  Awards/recognitions (15%)

To any employer who never thought about questioning the veracity of a CV claim before, this list will make sobering reading. For the more experienced, it’s a reminder not be too complacent when assessing candidates.

Although I did raise an eyebrow at number 5 (of which more later), I wasn’t surprised by the list. There has always been a minority who embellish their credentials and/or who are economical with the truth. However, recent years have seen a tough job market and while sales jobs are usually plentiful, good sales jobs have been scarce. There’s a generation of young people who have never known a buoyant job market and in order to stand out, some are falling to the temptation to exaggerate. At the opposite end of the experience scale, some senior applicants will ‘reinvent’ aspects of their history in an attempt to improve their chances in a market which seems to favour the young and cheap.

HR Review’s survey also found that 41% of employers would automatically dismiss a candidate caught lying on a CV, while 52% said this would depend on what the actual lie was about.  Having thought carefully about this, there may be circumstances where a slip in ‘employment dates’ (at number 3 – 40%) could be excused, but to my mind the last three are indisputable grounds for rejection, with number 5 – ‘companies worked for’ (one in three have lied) an absolute no-no. By extension, somebody making up a company name is also likely to lie about their job title and the responsibilities they held there. And what about timescale and dates?  Whether a salesperson is working in an entry-level role, or is responsible for hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of business they are expected to act honestly and professionally.  Unfortunately, all too often I hear of dismissals for falsifying orders or because extreme claims were made in sales pitches. I used to say that it’s the 99% dishonest salespeople who give the rest of us a bad name, but then we had disgraced bankers and I thought it wise to drop the joke. As I’ve written before, working in sales is nothing to be ashamed of; it’s an essential role.  In the words of the great Richard Denny: “Nothing happens anywhere in the world until a sale takes place. And salespeople bring in the money that everyone else can eventually live off.”

So what can we do?

In the next part I will be offering some suggestions for how to minimise the risk of hiring people who are less than honest.



Sales Recruitment: Some Thoughts – Part 3

Merry go Round-B&W and Lilac

While we can never stop people looking for pastures new, employers should be doing all they can to minimise the likelihood of itchy feet among their staff. Predictably, better pay and bonus schemes are the causes most often cited by sales people for leaving but the reasons for staying never seem to get much exposure. I wonder why. Because bad news make better headlines, perhaps? Teams which, by and large, get on well with one another, who respect their line-manager and fellow colleagues are not as rare as after-work pub gossip would have us believe. Not surprisingly, in my largely peripatetic role I get to see and experience work environments which range from the genuinely positive to the downright negative, and it doesn’t take an in-depth academic study to recognise the ones where people are more likely to stay in their job for its own enjoyment, sense of purpose and the contribution it makes.

In-depth studies, however, do blame a variety of reasons why employees quit their job on employers. Aspects of the work environment, its culture, and how an employee perceives his/her job and its potential opportunities are commonly observed factors that the employer has failed to maximise or address.

Where studies have made recommendations, the majority advise organisations to tap into what their employees are thinking. Now, nobody is asking bosses to become mind readers – or to be best friends with their staff. But if management are to get the best out of their people, communication channels need to exist and to be open, clear, and two-way. But this also means that staff should take the initiative too. It’s a well-worn joke among HR managers that in any ‘exit interview’ departing employees will commonly moan “No one motivated me… No one gave me any responsibility… No one asked me to apply for the promotion… No one ever…” The list runs on and on. Of course, a good HR will gently point out, er, excuse me, but didn’t you – ie the employee – ever think to talk to your manager…?

Of course by this stage it’s too late. Any respect one side may have had for the other will by now have evaporated. Even if there is a new job to go to, at such times employees tend to feel aggrieved and/or disillusioned, while the employer simply wants them out as quickly as possible. What a pity when I think of the huge amounts of goodwill and enthusiasm both parties once had when the job offer was made and accepted.

Not for the first time or the last time either.

Because all this is another aspect of what I call The Recruitment Merry-go-Round; the one which keeps HR, recruitment consultants and headhunters in clover. (I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere about free passengers.) Only for the employer it never really ends all that merrily, does it? However large or small the organisation, recruitment costs are a drain on the bottom line. Every business should make every effort to learn something from such experiences and slow down the ride.



Law Update: Is a repayment provision in a contract of employment an unenforceable penalty?

Scales of Justice 2

Employment contracts may sometimes require an employee to pay back the costs of, for example, training – if he or she leaves the company. In the second of her legal updates, our guest blogger Andrea London of Rosenblatt Solicitors takes a look at how enforceable such provisions actually are…


In response to ever-increasing recruitment costs as well as to remain competitive, many employers are investing in developing their employees’ skills. This has led to a marked increase in the use of ‘repayment’ clauses in contracts of employment. While employers want to have the best and well-trained staff, they don’t want to be left “high and dry” if an employee leaves to join a competitor shortly after a long recruitment process or just after any employer-funded training is completed. However, some repayment clauses are drafted with a heavy hand, and are overly onerous on the employee. Not surprisingly, employees often seek to circumvent any burdensome repayment clauses by alleging that they are a ‘penalty’ clause and so, unenforceable. This, in turn, can lead to a prior repayment becoming a claim by the employee for an unlawful deduction from wages.

The enforceability of such repayment provisions in contracts of employment was recently considered by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in the case of Cleeve Link Ltd v Bryla UKEAT/0440/12. Cleeve dealt specifically with the issue of whether a repayment clause of the kind often used in contracts of employment was enforceable against the employee.

The Facts

Cleeve’s contract of employment had stated that that if Ms Bryla terminated her contract or was dismissed for misconduct within the first six months’ of her employment, Cleeve could recoup the total cost incurred in recruiting her from any money due to be paid to her under her contract. After six months’ of employment, the amount reduced per month.

Ms Bryla was dismissed after only three months’ for gross misconduct. Cleeve relied on the repayment provision and recouped the full amount of recruitment costs against her unpaid wages. Ms Bryla brought a claim in the Employment Tribunal for unlawful deduction from wages. The Employment Tribunal held that the repayment provision was a penalty clause and was unenforceable; therefore deductions made by Cleve from her wages were unlawful. On appeal to the EAT, it was held that the Employment Tribunal had erred in its finding; that the clause in question was not a penalty clause but a liquidated damages clause – and was therefore enforceable.

Penalty or liquidated damages?

A ‘liquidated damages clause’ is a clause in a contract which specifies a fixed or determined sum to be payable on a breach by one party to the other (innocent) party. Case law has clarified that in order to determine whether a clause is liquidated damages or a penalty, it must be a genuine reflection of an employer’s pre-estimate of loss that it is likely to suffer if the employee breaches that provision. The key to a repayment sum being regarded as a genuine pre-estimate of loss appears to be that the sum specified must be compensatory.

Practical tips for employers

When including any kind of repayment provision in an employment contract, it is advisable for employers to consider the following points:

1. Ensure that the amount quoted to be payable on breach and/or accordingly deducted from an employee’s wages is a genuine pre-estimate of the loss that would be suffered by the employer if the employee breaches the clause. Ensure the sum is not just a deterrent amount.

2. Bear in mind that the clause will be construed on the basis of how it was drafted at the time the contract was entered into and not at the time of any trigger event or breach.

3. A clause is presumed to be a penalty if it seeks to recover the same amount of money whether the trigger for repayment is, for example, a significant event or just a minor breach.

4. An employer should keep any proof they have (ie calculations) about how they arrived at the amount of repayment sum included in a contract. This may be needed as evidence that the employer properly considered the potential loss it may suffer on a trigger event occurring and that the repayment sum is not just a random figure.

Legal Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as definitive legal advice on the subject covered. If you require legal advice on any of these matters please contact Andrea London of Rosenblatt Solicitors on 020 7955 1433 or email



Football, Sales Management, and The Peter Principle

Big Shoes to Fill 1


This is what I shouted at the radio and to no one in particular when I first heard about David Moyes’ sacking. As a non-follower of football, the fact that I am aware of the recent drama at the top of Manchester United shows the impact of this story.

Alex Ferguson was always going to be a hard act to follow, but in the main, pundits responded warmly when Moyes’ appointment was announced last year. With a string of notable achievements it seems that Everton had prospered under his twelve years of leadership. For what it’s worth, my own observation is that Moyes was simply promoted beyond his capability. He isn’t the first and he won’t be the last, in any industry – and another example of the Peter Principle.

Having worked for the redoubtable John Madejski I understand that running a football club is not like running a ‘normal’ business, but how confident would you feel about appointing a frontline executive to a business four times larger than anything he’d run before? Putting to one side assets such as players* – this is the approximate ratio of the two clubs I’ve mentioned in terms of their gross turnover. Okay, it’s not a watertight comparison and every team has to have eleven players, but to me, the analogy is stark: the problem with much sales management is that too many sales managers and sales directors have been promoted beyond their ability and/or experience; typical reasons being they were appointed either by default (remember that sales staff turnover often has a grievous record) or because they are ‘good at selling’.

For anyone unfamiliar with the Peter Principle, it’s a concept in management which originates from the eponymous book published in 1969. In it, Laurence Peter and Raymond Hull suggested that employees will be promoted to the point of their own incompetence:

“In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence … in time every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out its duties … Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.”

Deliciously insightful, eh?

The thing I love to remind myself about the book The Peter Principle – Why Things Always go Wrong is that it was never intended as a piece of management theory at all – but as a satire; a mocking observation of the pyramidal structures in private and public organisations which are still so familiar to us today. In the course of duty, I try to keep abreast of the latest sales and management textbooks (so you don’t have to) – the majority of which try to reinvent wheel – and an enjoyable consequence of the book’s parody is that it reads like an actual pompous management textbook – redeemed of course by its astute perception.

But back to poor Moyes. Dismissal is never nice to witness, and is even worse for the employee. However, as a professional football club manager he would have known – and accepted – the rules of engagement. Similarly, career sales managers understand that their team must perform consistently or they could be for the high jump. Of course, in the professional sales arena staff should be supported and trained properly. Promotions need to be given responsibly too – nobody benefits from a manager who’s out of his depth.

In a future blog I plan to look at why so many sales appointments fall into the Peter Principle trap so easily. In the meantime, feel free to contact me with your experiences.

* Source: Forbes-Manchester United ranked 2nd most valuable sports team in the world (March 2014)



Bank Holiday Fever


With numerous surveys appearing to show that the British work the longest hours in Europe, most of us look forward to our bank holidays. However, for sales-led organisations in particular, the resultant short weeks impact heavily on selling time. How then, do we make the most of what is left?

1.  Forewarned is forearmed. Remind your sales people and their line managers in advance and ask for constructive suggestions they could implement.

2.  Create ‘non-revenue’ targets to encourage and maintain activity: eg a minimum number of new prospect calls/contacts to be made in the month.

3.  Alternatively, you can take the opportunity of a shorter, quiet week to do some serious forward planning. Again, make your management team and/or sales people do the bulk of the thinking by getting them to contribute.

4.  You can do this within the forum of a sales conference with a focused agenda which directs towards a series of measureable objectives. The format of the day(s) and venue can be as formal (and expensive!) as you wish: from using the company boardroom or installing yourselves in the corner of a nearby hotel coffee lounge, to a total no-expense barred ‘away day’. To keep everyone interested as well as involved, plan a mixed programme. For example, brainstorming sessions and pencil/paper business games can be used to vary the pace. Keep up a steady supply of snacks and refreshments to sustain concentration levels.

5.  To maintain productivity, consider getting sales people to swap sales territories or areas with one another. To keep any risk to a minimum, you can set the rule of ‘dormant’ or ‘dead’ accounts only. With nothing to lose, it can be surprising what a different voice or face can achieve. To get everyone focused, create a points system in addition to any targets such as one point for an effective telephone call to the decision maker, two points for a confirmed appointment, three points for a quote, etc.

6.  Finally, don’t underestimate the good old fashioned prize incentive, whether it’s a bottle of wine or a week at the chairman’s Tuscan villa. Again, you can get creative with a points system to keep everyone motivated.



Sales Recruitment: Some Thoughts – Part 2

Merry go Round-B&W and Blue

It’s widely accepted that recruitment is as time-consuming as it is costly, to say nothing of the ‘rock the boat’ implications once when someone has handed in their notice. Whether because of dismissal or resignation (don’t forget it’s illegal to revive a post you have already formally deemed ‘redundant’) the office rumour machine will have gone into overdrive often before you’ve realised you may need to assign someone temporarily to manage any accounts which look vulnerable.

There can be other consequences, too.

Owing to the essential responsibility of the job, a salesperson who’s given notice and still kicking around the building, will often have a greater negative impact on their team than an employee in a different role. Acting alone, sales reps on resignation period have been known to copy client records (and email them to their personal account), make moves to take valuable customers with them, mishandle clients by having lost the commitment to customer service or make approaches to other team members to join them in the wonderful career move they’ll be making. It really is not nice to have to make this list, but it’s not uncommon, and in the unlikely case that anyone reading this has never had such experiences, well lucky you, is all I can say; but that’s the reality. Forewarned is forearmed.

Regarding the wider team, sales departments thrive best as positive, upbeat environments. The imminent departure of one of their own can, rightly or wrongly, remind a team of a better life (and pay) outside. It may also depress morale, affect productivity and create general unsettlement; every single one a motivation zapper and not conducive to making sales. This is why I usually advise employers to just pay off the rep, take the hit, reassure the rest of the team that it’s business as usual and get on with finding the best replacement possible. Understandably, given the economic conditions of recent years this can be hard to accept, but the price of a de-motivated sales force in a still-difficult climate is likely to be far higher.