Study Finds 69% of B2B Salespeople do not have enough Leads in their Pipeline to Meet Sales Quota

ValueSelling Associates and Selling Power study expose the three largest obstacles impacting sales quota attainment – pipeline, process, and the ability to communicate value

RANCHO SANTA FE, CA. May 28, 2020 – According to research findings released today by ValueSelling Associates, Inc., 69% of business-to-business (B2B) salespeople said they do not have enough leads in their pipeline to meet quota. Given the global pandemic and recession, selling anything that isn’t considered essential right now is not going to be easy.

For the time being, salespeople need to practice patience as their buyers are making difficult decisions to cut spend in order to mitigate losses, prevent layoffs, and in a worst-case scenario avoid going out of business. A new Gartner survey reveals CFOs will continue scaling back spending by 4-11% across their selling, general, and administrative expenses (SG&A) functions for 2020.

“Now is a good time to ‘be human’ when talking with prospects," said Julie Thomas, CEO and President of ValueSelling Associates. “Engage in active listening, employ empathy, ask informed questions and elevate conversations to a business-level. By forging a human-to-human connection, you may learn how to provide value to the buyer when they rebound. Alternatively, you may be working with companies that are suddenly experiencing exponential growth and are in need of your product."

The study revealed that the three biggest obstacles that impact sales quota attainment are having enough sales pipeline, having the right sales process, and the salesperson’s ability to communicate value to the prospect or customer.

“Meeting and surpassing quota is all about selling behaviors," said Thomas. “Our research demonstrates that salespeople who do not receive the proper training or coaching tend to underperform."

ValueSelling Associates, Inc. and Selling Power magazine surveyed online 300 U.S. B2B sales professionals, including individual contributors and sales leaders. The purpose of the study is to explore why sales teams are missing quota, especially when sales representatives are surrounded by tools and information to help them sell better, faster, and more effectively.

Key study findings include:
  • Sales reps do not have enough leads in their pipeline to meet quota. Only 23% of sales reps report they have enough pipeline to meet quota. When we asked sales leaders if their reps have enough sales pipeline to meet quota:
  • 48% of sales leaders said no
  • 14% of sales leaders said they were unsure
  • 38% of sales leaders said yes
  • Quota-missing reps do not get proper sales training. Underperforming salespeople report that they receive moderate-to-low levels of sales training (both on product and skills) and lack the support of a formal sales coaching program.
  • Product training never happens for 19% of salespeople, less than once a year for 19%, once a year for 23%, and two or more times per year for 39%
  • 89% of salespeople report they have no formal sales coaching program
  • The ability to communicate value during a sale is a contributing factor to sales success. There is an underlying level of dysfunction between underperforming salespeople and the leaders who manage them. Sixty-two percent of salespeople who are not on track to meet quota say they are not taught to communicate va Meanwhile, 72% of sales leaders report they do teach reps how to communicate value.
  • 58% of underperformers say they communicate value “very well" when speaking with customers and prospects
  • 28% of sales leaders think their sales reps communicate value “very well" when speaking with customers and prospects
  • Salespeople need a simple sales process they can follow easily. While 70% of sales leaders report they have outlined a clear sales process for sales reps to follow, they are not confident that sales reps consistently (or ever) follow the process with prospects.

For more detail on the survey results, download the ValueSelling Associates e-book, “New Research Shows These Factors Impact Sales Quota Attainment," here: The e-book also provides analysis and action steps about what sales professionals can do to see an immediate improvement in quota attainment.

About Selling Power

In addition to Selling Power, the leading digital magazine for sales managers and sales VPs since 1981, Personal Selling Power Inc. produces the Sales Management Digest and Daily Boost of Positivity e-newsletters, as well as a five-minute video series featuring interviews with top executives. Selling Power is a regular media sponsor of the Sales 3.0 Conference. Visit

About ValueSelling Associates, Inc.

ValueSelling Associates is the creator of the ValueSelling Framework®, the practical and proven sales methodology preferred by sales executives around the globe. Since 1991, ValueSelling Associates has helped thousands of sales professionals increase their sales productivity and realize immediate revenue growth. We offer customized training to FORTUNE 1000, mid-sized and start-up companies to keep it simple and drive sales results.

Connect with us:

Larissa Gschwandtner (for Selling Power)
(610) 642-3080

Maria Doyle
Doyle Strategic Communications (for ValueSelling Associates)

Media contact:

Maria Doyle
Doyle Strategic Communications
+1 (781) 964-3536