It can be costly and time-consuming to hire salespeople. Unfortunately, not all salespeople work equally, and managing low performers can be stressful for businesses of any size.
There are many reasons salespeople stop selling. Some are not their faults, but there are other reasons. My personal opinion is that salespeople are most at risk of failing to deliver results due to lack or inadequate direction. No matter how skilled or professional a salesperson is, they need direction and accountability.
Depending on how you manage your salespeople, they can either be your greatest asset or worst. Here are some possible reasons why a salesperson isn’t performing well.
No responsibility, all care.
You, as the Business Owner or Manager, don’t have any responsibility for your salesperson’s success. Instead, you just dump everything on your salesperson and hope they miraculously turn it around. The salesperson doesn’t need your leadership. You can just let them do their thing, which can be very risky. This happens a lot in small businesses, where the owner is not interested in selling or hiring salespeople. Salespeople must be able to ask questions, show interest, and be involved.
The Business Saviour.
Many business owners hope that a salesperson can be their savior. They will soon start to generate sales and increase profits. A good salesperson will make a huge difference, but it won’t happen overnight. It is still necessary to spend considerable time and resources marketing your company as well as managing and developing your salespeople.
Communication of expectations is not required.
Salespeople need direction. They need to be clear about what they are expected to do. Many Managers and Owners fail to clearly communicate their expectations to their salespeople. It’s not uncommon for salespeople to believe they are doing well, while the Manager/Owner may see them as underperforming and becomes very frustrated. From the beginning, communicate expectations (also known by KPI’s, Key Performance Indicators) in writing. KPI’s will help ensure consistent sales month-to-month by setting KPIs for sales activities, customer meetings, and networking events.
Accountability is lacking
Your salespeople are your most important resource. If they can generate sales, why risk your business? A weekly team meeting is a great way to establish accountability. It’s essential to be aware that salespeople don’t make sales. Don’t wait too long before you realize it. Each month, conduct a performance review of all salespeople and compare their performance to the expectations. Ask your salespeople to meet specific revenue targets and tasks within a set timeframe if they are not performing well. This will allow you to decide whether or not to retain them.
Keep in mind that if nobody cares about the salesperson’s performance or whether they make sales, then why would they?
Don’t hire the wrong salesperson.
There are two types: those who win new business (Business Developer or Hunter) or those who grow existing customers (Account Manager or Farmer).
Because they are already great at building relationships with clients, most businesses want salespeople who can generate new customers. They are looking for salespeople who can make cold phone calls, establish new relationships, and close deals with new clients. This is a more difficult job, requires different skills, and comes with higher expectations. Ask your salesperson what they did in the past month to increase the pipeline of sales and to generate more sales. This is where most salespeople make mistakes. A sales manager can help you find new business opportunities and close them. They are not equipped with the necessary skills or desire to do this.
What is the limit of enough?
It can be challenging to come up with a fair and equitable compensation scheme that works for everyone. Too much can lead to salespeople becoming lazy and losing their appetite. It can also frustrate business owners or managers. Some people can be too strict or difficult to reach, which is not an excellent way to keep or attract the best employees. Salespeople who win new business should receive more compensation than those who manage existing accounts. A commission plan that focuses on commission and not just base salary will encourage and reward ‘hunters’ while a security-based base salary will reward and motivate farmers.’
Poor marketing and inadequate tools to support salespeople.
Studies after studies show that a single approach to selling (such as cold calling) doesn’t work. Solid marketing collateral, messages, and campaigns are essential for salespeople to get prospects excited about meeting with them. You can generate completely free of charge by having a well-ranked and effective website, email marketing, and social media. They need to be trained and have a good understanding of your services and benefits. You will see success sooner if you invest more time training them and supporting them with your marketing efforts.