Sales Performance Management: Time to let them go…
One of the trickiest things in sales performance management is knowing when enough is enough.
With this in mind, one of the most common questions I hear is –
How long do I give this sales person before I cut my loss and move on, recruit again?
I wish I knew!!
I have seen sales people pushed out – who have gone on to be wildly successful in challenging and demanding sales roles, who have risen to very high levels and are recognised as experts.
Likewise, other ousted sales people have wandered in the wilderness of endless sales roles, before settling for another career.
But that doesn’t help my clients.
So instead we take everything back to basics with a few crucial questions that will often result in either a meeting with HR to discuss termination, or a renewed management commitment to the sales person in question, with an accompanying sales performance management action plan
Sales Performance Management or Goodbye?
When thinking about fire or retain, consider these points:
Activity levels: Are they making the correct number of decision maker contacts per day/week/month/quarter? (This can be face to face or telephone)
Conversion: What are their percentages for calls to order and/presentations to order?
Margin Management: Are they selling cheap or maintaining a strong position?
Professionalism: Is their paperwork timely, relevant, and appropriate for the client?
Quality of information: Are they collecting and recording the relevant information?
In presentation performance: Are they doing everything they should be doing in the sales presentation, is it a solid consultative sales pitch, engaging the client and developing a case, or are they simply broadcasting? (face to face or telephone)
Attitude: Do they turn up in good time, well presented, positive, communicative, supportive, engaged and energised, is their paperwork in good order?
Communication: Are they maintaining open lines of communication with you? Are they honest with you about the reality of the situation?
Forecasting: Even though their figures are low – is their forecast accurate?
Speed of Uptake: Do they run with your ideas, suggestions, open to trying new ways of working? Or just doing what they have already tried?
How are they reacting to under performing: Trying harder or giving up and blaming the economy, market place, process, company products, company brochure etc
Sales performance management can be a long process.
But, the good news is, you can revisit your original decision at any point in that process, the milestones you set will give you that option.
Fundamentally, the questions above, and there are many more that spin out from this – will allow you to start to look at this area and at their performance in the round, then evaluate to see if there is another way to work with the under performer.
I would have to say that sometimes it works out very well for both parties, occasionally it still results in a call to HR, but this is often primarily time driven as the ‘should we /shouldn’t we’ conversation has been started too late.
Ongoing Sales Performance Management
The easiest way to solve a sales performance issue is to not allow it to escalate.
Sales performance management is, and should be, an ongoing activity, starting when the sales person is recruited, that way any issues or concerns can be addressed in a timely manner and expectations managed accordingly immediately they start to present.
Sales Performance Management – Final Point
Sales Performance Management is NOT a bad thing.
It shouldn’t be seen, spoken about or presented as a bad thing.
It’s a fact of sales life.
Sales Performance Management is about helping the sales person to be the best and most successful sales person they can be.
And that can only be a very good thing, for the sales person, the sales leader, the business and the customers.
For more information or to discuss any of the points raised here – please call Carol on 0779 002 1885 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, in the area of HR and dealing with sales staff and disciplinary action you are advised to seek the advice of HR specialists and legal professionals.
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