With poor economic news coming in daily, how can management determine whether a dip in sales is due to a sales force that just isn't doing its job or whether there are outside economic factors at play that are nearly impossible to overcome?

Answering this question is not always easy, however it is always important when determining how successful your company is now and the future potential of the organization.

Below, you will find a few points that ought to help you determine whether a dip in sales could be the team in the business development office or whether the economy is simply not being favorable.

1. What is your competition doing? How do you perceive they are doing?

As an executive, you should not focus on your competition all too much, as keeping the course regarding your own business plan is more important and typically a better use of your time.

However, if one or more of your competitors are aggressively hiring, the economic conditions of your industry may not be all that poor and a deeper look at your sales team may need to be on your "to-do" list.

2. What is the overall mood in the sales department?

When you walk into a room, executive or not, human nature will allow you to gauge the mood and whether the interaction between the individuals in that room is positive, negative, neutral or nonexistent.

If you decipher it to be one of the latter three adjectives, the economy may be holding up, the problem may be your sales team.

Even though the members of your sales team are not required to be the best of friends, the friendlier, or at least, the more upbeat and communicative they are, the more successful and cohesive your business development team is going to prove to be.

3. How are their cold-calling and overall prospecting techniques?

Using your intuition, you must come to terms with the reality of the effectiveness of your sales employees' prospecting skills. When sales teams are not prospecting with enthusiasm and you find them sitting around waiting for incoming business, your problem is probably not the current economic environment.

Conversely, if your sales team is prospecting in a vigorous as well as creative manner (i.e. implementing more techniques than simply cold-calling) and they are not hitting their goals, the economy may be hindering their performance.

A tough economy can dent even the most resilient sales force, and everyone has pessimistic, downtrodden hours, or even days. What you should focus on as a manager or business owner is how your sales team reacts to the challenges around them.

Do they adapt and stay creatively positive, even if success isn't the immediate result? Or do they let things that are out of their control weigh them down? A team who focuses on the former is worth hanging onto through the economics rough times.

Author's Bio: