Where would your sales be if minimal acceptable standards were adhered to?
A sales team is typically made up of a range of performers, from the stars who are always on their A-game and achieve targets, to fairly regular achievers, to those who cruise along doing the bare minimum. That’s pretty standard. What isn’t standard, however, is how sales leaders address the issue of lower performing salespeople. If you’re not sure what to do, or say, to the bottom tier of your sales force, here are a few tips.
- Set the bar for high performance. Be precise and explicit about what high performance looks like and the minimal acceptable standards the company is prepared to accept. However, it is also the time to be empathetic. Many people are anxious due to COVID-19. Address this.
- Insist on sales pacts. Drop the jargon and insider sales speak and set down, in the simplest terms possible, exactly what you want to see from your employees. This should take the form of a one-on-one discussion to agree on the expected outcomes and record with a signed commitment.
- Monitor targets. Don’t let it be. If you have agreed on performance targets that haven’t been met, letting it slide will simply result in a lower benchmark going forward. Address it immediately and discuss potential challenges. Set up a time for the next review.
- Give feedback. Don’t wait until the end-of-year function or performance appraisal time to applaud or reprimand members of your sales team. Provide timeous and ongoing feedback relating to the already-established goals and expectations.
- Sales culture. Don’t give in to favouritism. Just because Steve is your top rep, it doesn’t give him license to undermine other members of the team (or other people in the company). And any special treatment will only erode company culture. Be balanced in your approach and encourage growth across the board.
- Acknowledge. Celebrate all the victories (big and small), all of the time. This is particularly important now as budgets are tight and business is tough.
- Practice what you preach. Managers need to be able to set employee goals and provide feedback and coaching. Are you competent enough in these two areas? Or do you also need some training?