What do you do when a member of your sales team misses a sales objective…again? You might scratch your head in disbelief. Perhaps you thought, “Why is this person even on my sales team?” Here are some strategies for you to avoid these sales manager problems.
They don’t take risks.
Selling is a job that requires risk taking. You call on customers without certainty they will buy. You can try to reduce the risk. You can prepare and identify best prospects, ask strategic questions that uncover needs and wants, and make a compelling presentation. Yet, each one of those steps still involves taking a risk.
The prospect may be in a foul mood and hang up the phone. Your prospect may refuse to answer some of your questions. Price and budget questions come to mind. Your presentation may fall short because the right decision makers aren’t in the room.
The salespeople who are willing to take the risks to sell are the ones you want on your team. The ones who simply prepare and then retreat at the first sign of rejection are not ones you want on your sales team. They present sales manager problems.
How do you ensure you have a risk taker on your sales team? That would be a question to ask during the interview. You might have to clarify what you mean by risk. Be prepared to. Just know, that when someone answers, “No.” you probably want to move on from considering that person for a sales job. Risk averse people don’t usually become star salespeople.
They implement slowly.
Think about an updated sales strategy at your team’s last sales strategy session. You might have explained the objectives. Then you set a few parameters. There may have been a discussion with some questions on implementation. Then it was time for your sales team to return to the field, implement and sell. What happened when your team returned to the field?
There are some employees who immediately implement the new strategy. Then there are others who are waiting for just the right time that never comes. I worked with an inside salesperson whose numbers didn’t reflect that she was implementing the new strategy. When I asked about her results she replied, “I’m still working out my strategy.” I couldn’t accept her reason for the delay. Why? You learn more after you implement than you do from the plans you make to implement. There is no substitute for the real world, especially in sales.
You have to work to get a response.
How quickly does you sales team respond to your requests? I’m not implying that they must work 24-7. Burnout in sales is a real issue that I want to avoid. I am saying that you should get the same timely response you require for your customers. You determine what that is. I think responses within 24-48 hours are reasonable. If you get responses after that time, it means that you are not a high priority for your salespeople. That is unacceptable.
These delayed response salespeople are making more work for you. You’ve got to follow up with them to get the work you need. That additional step takes you away from work that could be more productive. Try to avoid these “high maintenance” employees. You’ve got enough to do without the additional work they require.
Thomas Watson, Sr. once said, “Nothing happens until a sale is made.” He is right. Your productive salespeople, not your problem salespeople, are likely to make that sale happen.