Our previous article, “Let the stronger members of your team lead: motivation tactics for managers”, briefly focused on avoiding high staff turnaround by implementing motivational tactics for better overall sales performance. Today, in this article “Kicking the weak”, we discuss how constantly replacing weaker salespeople will damage overall sales outcomes, and eventually your brand.
Expectation versus reality
One cannot begin an article on the damaging effects of hiring and firing without talking about expectation. That is, what do you expect from salespeople in the first three, six, and twelve months of their time at the company? You need to clarify this before you start kicking the weak.
Research shows that it takes a new employee around three months to settle into their job. Once settled, it can then take that employee up to one year to fully understand how the company operates. It is therefore unrealistic to expect new salespeople to meet targets in under three or even six months. The only exception to this rule is when an existing employee who is already familiar with the company’s CRM system, clients and daily operations steps into the role of salesperson. And even then, it may still take them three months to shift their focus from their previous role and master a new one.
How constantly replacing salespeople is damaging to sales outcomes and your brand
We need to stop kicking the weak. If you replace salespeople every other month you lose several key elements that are crucial to the overall success of the sales team. These elements include client relationships, client trust, in-depth product knowledge and employee morale. Let’s have a look at these with more detail.
If you are constantly replacing salespeople, your clients will not build a relationship with you. Think about it. Your clients regularly interact with your staff and get to know them rather well. So, if you remove the person they have come to know, and you do it more than once, your client will not feel obliged to be loyal to your company, which brings us to earning your client’s trust.
Clients view high staff turnaround as an indication of what it is like to work for the company. If that view is negative, you risk being arrogant or ‘just in it for the money’. Moreover, if your staff are desperate for sales, they will display a desperate character in front of clients, which is bad for your brand. Clients do not trust desperate salespeople or the company they represent.
Your client will likely be frustrated with salespeople who do not know the product they are selling or supporting very well. This is particularly true for clients who have been around a while and know your product better than the new guy you hired. When this happens, clients who are strong willed will jump over the newbie’s head and will insist on only speaking to a person they know can help them. This puts unnecessary pressure on long-time employees.
Top salespeople will eventually get tired of constantly assisting the newcomers in addition to their own clients. If you expect your top performers to play the role of trainer and mentor while somehow keeping their top position, you risk them burning out.
When a salesperson just can’t get the hang of it (Kicking the weak)
Sales managers reading this article are thinking sure, but what do I do when salespeople do not perform if I cannot simply fire them? Our website offers advice on mentoring and supporting employees. Please navigate our articles for recommendations from our team of experts. However, we will mention here that one must realise that some people are just never going to be great at sales, or, need a little more help in certain areas. And that is okay. What you need to then determine, though, is whether non-performance is due to a character trait (is the person lazy?), lack of adequate support or training, or an unsuited professional choice. The person in question may be a talented logistical person or be enthusiastic about support. If so, place them in a relevant position and keep an eye on them there. If they do well in their new role, then you have gained a skill rather than losing one.
However, if non-performance is due to laziness or constant negativity that would cause you to think that this person would not be suited to any other job in the company, then it is time to let them go. Negative character traits rub off on colleagues and display in front of clients, which too leaves a poor impression of your company.
The good news is that neither of the above-mentioned actions is taken blindly when you are using Accrete’s Sales Game, nor are any of your decisions uninformed.
When using Accrete’s Sales Game, expectations are set beforehand and are based on expected activities. This quickly shows sales leaders when an individual is not performing required activities, which further assists in determining where the focus should be placed in order to support a lack of performance. In other words, the Sales Game offers the unique opportunity of discovering issues that can be overcome before assuming a salesperson is not suited to sales. With the right intervention at the right time, certain behaviours can be corrected. In the same way, with the Sales Game, non-performance due to laziness will be evident and the required action to rectify the issue can confidently be taken. To conclude, kicking the weak out every three months will not do much for your clients, employees or company. Alternatively, offer weaker team members a mentor and support them in their learning process. There are many ways to successfully build collaborative teams. Ask an Accrete advisor for assistance today.