Small business success comes from more than just having plenty of customers and good profit. It also comes from having good people. Good people drive profit and customer satisfaction and can be a real asset to your company.
Investing in your people equates to investing in the ongoing success of your business.
But what if a salesperson on your team seems to be circling the drain in terms of meeting quotas or winning and retaining business?
Here are some things you can do:
1. Examine: Is it the Salesperson or the Industry?
Is the problem at hand the sales rep or is it a larger issue that the business needs to address?
Trend analysis, competitive analysis, looking at historical reporting, and evaluating your industry as a whole, can help you determine if you’re positioning your team for success. You may have a threat with another competitor, with one specific high volume client, or some outside element that’s impacting your business as a whole.
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2. Could Better Tools Help?
Are there tools you could provide or implement that could make it easier for your salespeople to do their jobs well?
Tools like a CRM tool with a visual sales pipeline and collaborative abilities could make a difference in the rep’s ability to track their progress and will help you track progress from a high level, too.
If your business has sales teams, collaborative tools can help an individual salesperson gel with their team better, too. And for busy teams and individuals having problems with prioritizing and organization, a visual sales pipeline makes a big difference.
3. Plan: What About Training and Mentoring?
Training and mentoring is vital in the world of sales. Regardless of where someone is in their career path (a newbie or a seasoned veteran) operating with continuous improvement principles makes a difference. Learning new things revitalizes passion for what people do (and avoids your sales force becoming archaic in a rapidly changing business climate) and it can re-engage dormant skills that haven’t been used in a while, too. A good sales training program makes a difference and should be an ongoing thing in every company.
Having in-house mentoring for struggling salespeople also helps. A performance improvement plan can sound like a scary thing to an employee and it might feel a bit like probation that could result in job loss. Be careful about the way you approach helping a struggling rep so that you don’t inadvertently leave them feeling despondent and humiliated.
Instead of focusing on problem staff only, consider something that’s deployed across your company. The right approach could energize someone’s passion for their job and get them fighting to improve their results. By implementing ongoing training and mentoring for your whole team you an address issues with struggling salespeople as well as keep high-performing team members excelling.
You do get more flies with honey than with vinegar. Incentives can help both successful and struggling people. Look at your compensation plan and consider whether or not there might be ways to motivate your people into increased performance with a financial benefit. Competitions can be helpful, too, as friendly competition could yank someone out of complacency and a sales slump.
5. Important: Timing Matters!
Waiting until someone is ready to throw in the towel (or on the verge of losing all of their accounts) isn’t great timing. You’ll have a better chance of helping to stop the “bleeding” if you intervene early. Watching over your entire team as well as individual performance proactively is important. Regular reviews with salespeople about their accounts, goals, and challenges can help you avoid a person going from minor difficulty to trying to save themselves from being fired. Early intervention can make a big difference to your team as well as to your own success.