The average underperformer lasts 10 months in the average organization. Imagine the amount in salary, benefits, and training that costs you. The numbers are staggering. That is money you could be putting into other pieces of your organization to actually make you money as opposed to helping pay for someone’s Candy Crush habit. If someone is underperforming and can’t seem to fix it, it benefits you and the company to simply part ways.
When that underperformer is in sales, you could be damaging your company’s reputation even more than you realize.
Here are some tips to keep in mind while hiring and running a team of Sales Reps:
- If you interview someone who seems too good to be true, they probably are. Although there is the occasional exception, a good sales guy generally isn’t looking for a job. When their talk and ego are as big as the city they’re selling in, chances are they will never sell anything.
- Before you start the process of training a new sales rep, have them dive right into the action. You’ve never really seen this person in action, and the only way to ensure it’s really worth putting all of your time into them, is to see if they’re really cut out for the position. Give them some of your worst leads, the ones you know for a fact will not purchase your product or service. The goal here is not to watch them fail; it’s to see how they react. If they dive right in and can brush off being rejected and make the next call with the same drive and energy as the first, you know this person may be just what you need. Once they’ve proven themselves, you can then train them to the fullest extent. If you get someone who refuses to try or that gets overwhelmed, they probably won’t make it in your company anyway.
- Your salesperson is saying something right now in an online demo or appointment that can turn off a prospect, and if your team keeps saying it, you’ll waste good opportunities. You should record demos, marketing, and follow up calls with customers; this will prevent wasteful practices that will turn off possible customers. Most people will continue to make mistakes, not because they want to, but because no one is coaching them the right way. Record them and review often at first, and every now and then later.
- As the founder of a start-up it is very easy to get sucked into hiring sales reps that may not necessarily be the right fit for what you’re looking for. It’s important to take your time and hire the right people. Resources when starting up are generally limited, and wasting them on people who aren’t right for you could prove costly in the long run. Consider asking a mentor or fellow business person to assist in the second interview, as a second opinion, to something you may have missed in the initial interview.
- A Salesperson working in a start-up is very different than someone coming from an organization with a lot of resources. Be careful with someone with a lot of experience from a fortune 500 company where they got spoon-fed. You are looking for someone who is a self starter, who doesn’t need hand holding. If you are in the lean start-up phase, you don’t have a sales manager to oversee that person. You’re the founder, building your product and looking at the big picture, not making sure that your sales person is out marketing your product. Think about outsourcing your sales management to a person that works outside your company to only manage daily activity so that they stay on track. A sales manager working for you on a part time basis should spend about an hour a week on the phone with you and your salesperson just covering activity. You can find experienced professional sales managers for one sales person for about $400-600 a month. Many of these people are retired but love mentoring sales people and can provide your staff a coach to reach out to and get feedback.
- Don’t be afraid of the recent graduates coming right out of school. They can be molded into great salespeople and can be very coachable, as long as they’re not planted in your start-up and forgotten about. You will need to nurture them and keep them challenged and motivated.
Remember, accountability and performance are everything when looking for and managing a sales reps. Don’t be the next victim of a bad salesperson.
Robert Hartline, the founder of CallProof, created CallProof to help solve a problem he saw in his company each and every day. He observed that there was no accountability for day-to-day sales activity and decided to build an app to create just that, accountability.