While most sub-par sales performance is blamed on salespeople as a reflex, it is important for companies to closely monitor the relationships between their salespeople and sales managers. It is not uncommon for potentially productive salespeople to be stifled by inexperienced or incompetent sales managers who are protected by their superiors at the salespeople’s expense.
One of the best tools to short circuit such problems are 360-degree reviews in which the sales team gets to weigh in on their manager’s performance. This can also be anonymous if there is an atmosphere or culture that might invite retribution over time. A good sales manager will welcome such opportunities . . . a bad sales manager will fear them and lobby against them.
Certainly, all such reviews must be placed in a balanced perspective since any disgruntled salesperson will complain about his/her manager (and everything else). What you are looking for here is patterns, that is, the same critique showing up among several salespeople ranging from bigger producers on down. Then the idea is to bring the issue to the surface and try to solve it with honest and fair input from all sides.
Most salespeople will not volunteer to expose a bad manager who may be responsible for their livelihood, so it is very important that you have some type of apparatus in place to identify and, hopefully, solve for such issues.
Dr. Christopher Croner and Richard Abraham are authors of Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again and developers of the proprietary and patented sales assessment test, The DriveTest™, for sales candidates. To experience the difference of the DriveTest, contact us today!