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How To Handle Underperforming Salespeople

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Underperforming Salespeople

Do you know how to handle underperforming salespeople like an expert? Can you confidently help your team reach their full potential so that your business can continue to grow? 

When sales team productivity drops, it is time to take a look at why. Anyone can have a bad day, but when salespeople regularly fail to meet expectations, it becomes a problem. Below, we will provide some insights to help address this. 

Lastly, don’t forget to try the DriveTest® assessment to test the sales personality of each candidate before you hire them so you never end up with another bad sales hire again.

Underperforming Sales Team Members

Every sales manager will notice a drop in productivity at some point. The steps you take to handle the issue have a huge impact on the future of your team. 

Begin addressing sales team challenges by identifying the cause of the problem. 

If your sales team consistently does not meet their quota, ask yourself why. Is the expectation reasonable? Do they have enough manpower, skills, and resources to do the job? 

If the problem lies within, you can make adjustments. For example, you could change the quotas or bring in more people. 

However, if the problem lies with individuals, it might be time to take a look at performance improvement strategies or your hiring structure.

Understand Personal Issues

With leadership, empathy is key. Oftentimes, personal circumstances lead to ailing mental health and cause poor work performance. Confronting struggling employees with harsh accusations will not improve their performance; you need to understand their situation.

Before you call in an underperforming employee for a one-on-one, think about the following:

  • How will your words affect them?
  • Are they in a depleted emotional state? 
  • Will a chance to express themselves help them feel better? 
  • Is there any support you can offer to motivate them to improve their work performance?

Workplace burnout could be the cause of poor sales performance. When the demands of work exhaust your employees without providing them with the time or desire to take a break, they will eventually have nothing left to give. Improving their work-life balance is not a cliché.

If you approach your employees with kindness, they will also know that you care about them and not just their sales quota.

Regular Sales Performance Evaluation

When evaluating how to handle underperforming salespeople, the problem could be that an employee does not realize they are missing the mark. Is there regular performance feedback in place? 

Thorough evaluation methods will also have an employee evaluate themselves so that you can openly discuss how they think they are doing.

When managers meet with employees individually on a regular basis, it provides an opportunity to develop a solid working relationship. 

Employees that feel respected and heard could feel motivated to work harder. So, dealing with underperformance in sales starts by listening to your team.

Do Not Resist Providing Feedback

Some managers avoid confrontation to a fault. After all, when you avoid talking to your employees about their shortcomings until they are on the verge of termination, no one benefits. 

Instead, great managers will talk to their employees early and often, giving everyone a good idea of what is going on within the team. While it benefits employees to understand where and how they can improve, pointing out areas where they shine is also helpful. 

Positive performance feedback in sales boosts morale and encourages the team to run harder after their goals.

Provide Comprehensive Training

If you expect your team to abide by specific rules, it is imperative to provide thorough training to equip them for the task. Each employee arrives with a different skill set and life experiences. 

Diversity works to your advantage in sales, but everyone needs to become familiar with the company’s core expectations to thrive. 

For example, effective sales training could include:

  • Recognize the ideal client. Every business has an ideal customer. Can your team identify who that is? Whether your business sells cars to recent college graduates or houses to real estate investors, selling will not happen if your salespeople do not understand your target market.
  • Bring in leads. No business operates without a steady influx of sales opportunities. Are you using advertising on social media and developing your website? Does your team see these platforms and contribute to streamlining the buying process?
  • Master general sales skills. A strong sales team has a sturdy foundation. When you offer training that teaches everyone the building blocks of sales, you prevent weak links on your team. 

Training is an excellent strategy in how to handle underperforming salespeople. Providing training for all new hires also quickly identifies anyone who is not right for the position. And if someone is not the right fit for the role, it is better to know sooner rather than later.

Set Clear Expectations

Your team cannot succeed if everyone is not on the same page. Set crystal clear expectations with your entire team. 

When your employees arrive, they should know what you expect for the day, the week, and even the month so that they have the opportunity to refine their time management strategy and prioritize their responsibilities.

Lend an Ear

No employee will operate on all cylinders 100% of the time. It helps to create a safe environment for your team members to come to you when they need help with different aspects of the job. 

Individual guidance can go a long way in terms of boosting morale, and you may identify areas where a struggling salesperson needs additional training or some on-the-job support.

Your team members all have the same goal. Taking measures to help them work to the best of their abilities will benefit you and the team alike in achieving that goal effectively.

Incentivize Your Sales Team

Incentivization remains one of the best methods for motivating team members, whether in sales or on a sports field. Incentives can foster friendly competitiveness and strengthen the group’s resolve to move forward. 

Common incentives include the following:

  • Paid time off. Everyone loves an extra day off. When employees receive a bonus paid vacation day, they typically return to work re-energized and ready to perform.
  • Public acknowledgment. Showing appreciation for a job well done goes a long way in motivating sales team members and others watching them. 
  • Free lunch. Free food always goes down well. Why not offer a catered lunch to your top sales team members as a motivator for improving sales performance?
  • Prizes. Whether it is show tickets, the latest device, or a fancy gym membership, employees “keep their eye on the prize” if they like what they see.

When deciding on performance incentives, keep your team in mind and play to their interests. If you offer a prize no one wants, you are wasting valuable time and money.

Improve Your Hiring Process

If you would rather avoid handling underperforming salespeople, make changes right from the start. Begin by evaluating the sales characteristics and skills of each candidate to identify strengths and weaknesses? That way, you know whether a new hire has what it takes to succeed within your existing team or not.

Check out The DriveTest®, our sales-exclusive assessment designed to give you an “under-the-hood” look at your candidate’s potential for sales success prior to hiring. Call 866-972-5373 today or request a complimentary assessment now to learn more about how to handle underperforming salespeople and start hiring the best sales team ever!

Sales Hiring Simplified!

Hire top-performing salespeople with The DriveTest®. Get started now with one free test.

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