The harsh reality is that most B2B sales reps are not reaching quota.

In fact, according to SiriusDecisions, 54% of sales reps won’t meet quota this year.

While I could go on as to why this is the case — insufficient training, lack of a sales development platform, poor management, negative market forces, not enough marketing leads — in my experience with the 400 sales teams we’ve worked with over the past 13 years, the most common reason that B2B sales teams don’t hit quota is simple:

They don’t do the work it takes to succeed.

Being successful in sales takes hard work, and a lot of it. It requires B2B sales reps to endure rejection on a daily basis, to constantly focus on bringing value to their prospects and the market as a whole, to commit wholeheartedly to the goal in front of them.

Those who are willing to do what most won’t will most certainly achieve what most can’t.

The fact is that very few salespeople are willing to make the sacrifices necessary and put the hard work in to ensure success.

But not all B2B sales people can be saved, because often, sales isn’t the right job for them. However, a large percentage of B2B sales reps just need the right coaching to reach quota, and a smaller percentage are on track and need minimal help.

Let’s talk about how to help the 54% of sales reps that aren’t meeting quota this year. Below are a few areas that are critical to the success of any B2B sales team.

1) Invest in the professional development of your B2B sales reps.

Much like in professional sports, it takes constant practice to maintain and improve performance. This goes for the superstar as well as the middle-of-the-road player. B2B sales managers should act as coaches, offering real-time advice as well as more formal training. Reading a good book as a team each quarter is a great idea.

What are your favorite sales books? Comment below and we’ll feature them in a post!

2) Create a sales playbook.

The best teams have a well thought-out process and keep that process documented in a sales playbook. That way, there is no room for interpretation, and the B2B sales rep can know the process cold and adhere to it every time.

A sales tool that can help you build sales playbooks is Qvidian, a top rated sales tool in the sales enablement category by Smart Selling Tools. Companies who have deployed Qvidian Sales Playbooks achieve 2.5x increase in average deal size and 10% shorter sales cycles. Learn more about how you can use their platform to create better sales playbooks today!

3) Hold your B2B sales reps accountable to certain metrics.

What gets measured gets done. Work with the team to build a fair and attainable plan and hold them accountable for the activities necessary to meet those goals.

For example, an important sales metric that will help B2B sales reps meet and exceed quota is quality of sales conversations. Even an average rep can succeed if they have enough sales conversations. It does not matter how a rep gets in front of a prospect — it could be networking, cold calling, following up on marketing leads or a combination of all of these — just make sure your team is speaking to enough prospects every and gaining valuable sales context every day.

4) Active management and active coaching is key.

There’s a difference between micro-managing and active managing. The truth is, sales is tough. All teams need management, support and constant coaching. Just look at any successful sports team. They are made up of the best of the best, but it takes great coaching and management to reach championship levels.

While succeeding B2B sales is difficult, it’s not rocket science. Start with a well thought-out plan, and execute with relentless focus. If your B2B sales reps have access to all of the above, they just need to be reminded to do the work.