Many small business owners employ a physical sales team for many reasons. Especially those who have a high touch personal offer, a high value transaction or those who truly believe that the personal approach trumps today’s modern digital sale. After all one of the keys to success is learning how to sell.
Sales leadership positions come with an array of roles and responsibilities. Keeping the vision front and center may be the biggest hat worn by the leader, however, possibly not the most important.
That is because leaders must set the vision and lead by example in order to maintain a thriving culture in a team oriented organization. But how that vision is implanted into a sales team is more important.
Team unification and employee success are areas that have the biggest return in the end. Accepting a leadership position is about teaching, not telling; about leading, not ordering. Leaders should lead, not dictate or demand. Leaders should mentor and empower.
Do you terminate sales people for a lack of sales?
One hat that sales leaders wear, that may not always fit well, is terminating an employee. Some in this role believe that metrics, KPI’s and the lack of conversions while using a trained sales process, is a dismissible offense. Some sales leaders believe that sales people fire themselves when they do not hit a quota in a given period.
Sitting down with a member of your sales team, discussing weaknesses or lack of sales performance can be gut-wrenching.
No doubt it can be easier to simply terminate them from the position and move on, never really confronting the issues at hand. Termination of a sales person who failed to meet sales expectations based upon a written agreement may be a right. It also may not be what is to blame.
What if this wasn’t best for your company?
Or for them as an employee? After all, if issues are not addressed, they only resurface. You could end up spending more time dealing with a future employee with the same struggles if you, as a leader, don’t get to the root issue.
The root issue? What about the characteristics of the sales leader who is consistently terminating employees?
One characteristic of a great leader is decisiveness, the ability to make commitments without hesitation. This aspect encompasses courage, passion and vision.
However, to any coin there are two sides. Decisiveness at its best goes hand in hand with humility. A humble character brings out unity and collaboration within the team.
Before firing consider a new direction. Invest in the reps success.
- Have you personally sat down with your staff and coached them through a sales transaction?
- Have your criticized your own sales process by observing the reactions of the prospect while being pitched?
- Have they watched you make sale calls/transactions as a model of correct process and communication?
- Have you personaly met with a struggling sales rep to ensure their goals are actionable?
- Have you invested in initial and on-going training throughout their employment?
- Analyze how your marketing feeds leads to your sales people?
- Break down the targeting, the content, the funnel process and the information fed to the prospect that the sales team is expected to call a lead.
- Is your offer the problem with your turnover? Are you sure?
- Reinforce Success
- Have you consistently reinforced them when they have experienced success?
- Do you praise in public and criticize in private?
- Find their niche
- Have you had a genuine conversation with them to determine if sales is an appropriate fit?
- Have you explored other areas in the company where they may be more successful?
- Check and Balance
- Consider their direct manager; would a switch to a different manager be appropriate?
- Validate your decision; has another leader in the company confirmed you’ve put forth your best effort with the employee before termination?
- Have you considered dismissing the sales manager or recruiter or marketer?
Before you consider terminating the struggling sales team member, stop and think about these questions. Leadership is far from easy, not only are you investing in your product, you’re investing in your team. Carving out time to explore these areas may prove to be well worth your effort.
Copyright Viral Solutions 2017
Thomas von Ahn
Chief Elephant Slayer for Viral Solutions LLC
“Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful
men and women keep moving. They make mistakes but they
don’t quit.” — Conrad Hilton