October 18, 2016

ways-managers-improve-stuggling-sales-team
So, you have hired the top sales talent around.

And maybe for a while, your sales team was meeting (or even exceeding) their daily quotas.

But all of a sudden, the numbers are down. Revenue is down. Your team is not closing deals like they used to.

They are struggling.

Sound familiar?

If so, it is a good time to reassess the situation, so you can figure out why your sales team is losing its edge, and what you can do about it!

Here’s where you should start:

 

1. Find The Cause of The Problem

As a sales director, you might have a few ideas about how to handle a struggling sales team, like:

  • Adjusting your KPIs
  • Increasing sales goals
  • Firing your lowest performers

While some of these tactics could help in the short term, they could also make things more difficult for you.

How so?

Well, if you are thinking about letting go of a member (or members) of your sales team, it could end up costing you more than you realize.

One article explains that the actual cost of firing an employee may be more than just their salary.

Additional factors may include the cost and/or time to:

  • Advertise the open position(s)
  • Interview and screen candidates
  • Train and familiarize new employees
  • Make up for lost productivity from a new employee during a typical job learning curve
  • Make up for lost engagement/productivity from other employees due to morale loss

Before you put yourself through the hassle of making these changes, you may want to find out what is causing the issues in the first place.

But where should you start?

You can start by asking the most important question: Why is your team struggling?rebuild-struggling-sales-team
To find the answer, you and your sales managers may have to do a bit of digging with each rep to find out why they are underperforming.

First, check to see if the issue is one that deals with a particular sales rep’s behavior, or if it involves their actual aptitude for sales.

If it is their behavior, they may simply be a bad fit.

Whether they are feeling disengaged because they don’t connect with your brand, or they are simply not motivated, a rep with behavioral issues can damage a team’s dynamic and morale.

And if this is the case, meeting with them to discuss this problem should be a priority.

If their attitude continues to hamper your team’s productivity, then the option of terminating them may be your best solution.

But, if the issue with a low-performing rep is his/her actual sales skill, you may be able to help her improve with a bit of extra training and some additional encouragement.

This is important because although some reps may have varying learning styles, it does not mean they are incapable of becoming great salespeople.

Here’s the next thing you should do to help your struggling sales team:

 

2. Make Sure You Have the Right Sales Manager

John C. Maxwell said it best, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.”

When it comes to running a successful sales team, you need a manager who will hold your team to the highest expectations so they can yield the best results.

To make sure you have the right sales manager, you want to hire one who will:

  • Review reps’ sales funnels. By holding regular meetings, your sales manager can help your struggling reps figure out where in the process they are losing a potential sale. By being proactive, they can guide reps through problem areas and possibly help them close a sale before it is too late.
  • Analyze lost opportunities. By meeting with struggling reps and analyzing past lost opportunities, your manager should be able to pinpoint any issues and coach reps on how to improve. Once those issues are addressed, this will allow your reps to learn from their mistakes, making them into better salespeople overall.
  • Keep motivating your sales team. If your reps are struggling, it may be a matter of self-confidence. Your manager needs to be able to provide encouragement to keep your sales team motivated and prepared to work effectively through success or failure.
  • Lead by example. A key skill of every great leader is the ability to lead by example. If your sales manager is giving his job 110%, your sales team will notice this and follow suit.

 

3. Get It Right From The Start

Let’s face it—some people were born to sell, and some people just are not a great fit for this line of work.

If you are still having trouble, you might want to consider rethinking your sales hiring process.

To avoid finding yourself in a difficult position with a struggling team, it is important to identify problem candidates and get the right people in from the beginning.
find-qualified-sales-people
How can you do that?

By hiring for your specific market.

You see, the ability and effectiveness of a candidate’s selling ability is not always based on experience.

For example: Just because someone can empty a lot full of cars with ease, doesn’t mean they can sell another company’s software with the same degree of skill.

With that in mind, you have to understand the strategy of your particular market and the tasks that your candidates must accomplish in order to thrive in that market.

And how can you do that?

By analyzing a candidate’s  personality characteristics.

While many sales managers are confident in their ability to find the “right” sales talent, studies show that less than 25% of interview predictions lead to a successful candidate.

When analyzing a sales candidate’s personality characteristics, you want to make sure she possesses:

  • Need for Achievement
  • Competitiveness
  • Optimism

And with The DriveTest® by SalesDrive, LLC, you can narrow down the candidates with these traits, while effectively taking the guesswork out of hiring the right salespeople to your team.

This online sales test helps you screen and identify candidates who have the actual Drive to become successful salespeople.

In addition to a candidate’s level of Drive, The DriveTest® measures teachable skills such as:

  • Confidence
  • Persuasiveness
  • Relationship Skills
  • Organization

To help you avoid those candidates who are simply great at interviewing, the test utilizes a Forced-Choice format.

This gives the potential sales candidate a choice between statements that she can relate to the most and statements that are least relatable to her. By having to choose one of three options that sound similarly positive, this sales assessment is difficult to manipulate, giving you a higher success rate of finding a Driven candidate.

 

Overall, helping your struggling sales team can be challenging and even stressful at times.

But building a successful team requires patience, pinpointing issues early on and finding the right people to join your team.

Once you have the right pieces in place, it is important to keep your sales team motivated so they continue to produce the sales results you are looking for.