Get a Free Test Now: GET STARTED

Table of Contents


Sales Hiring Simplified!

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

Table of Contents

How to Manage an Underperforming Sales Team

6 minutes

Read Time

Share Blog Post

Are you a sales director who is frustrated by your team’s lackluster sales performance?

Are you looking to help them improve but unsure of which actions you should take?


If so, you are not alone. Even the most seasoned and experienced sales directors experience this problem at some point in their career.

What is most important is that you immediately find a solution that helps your salespeople close more sales. That way, your job will be easier and the company will become more profitable.

Ready to know how you can improve your team’s results?

Keep reading, and you will discover exactly what you need to do when your sales team fails to meet your expectations.

How to Handle a Sales Team That is Not Meeting Your Expectations

First, you need to figure out the reason for your sales team’s poor performance. After that, you can implement solutions to those problems.

With that in mind, let us talk about a few different reasons your sales team may be underperforming as well as the actions you can take to help them overcome any barriers to success.

Is your team following a sales process?

Start by attending your salespeople’s sales appointments. Are they following your company sales process? Here are a few things to take note of:

Did the salesperson…

  • Build rapport with the customer?
  • Ask questions that uncovered the customer’s needs?
  • Actively listen?
  • Confidently explain the benefits of the product/service to the customer?
  • Explain how the benefits meet the customer’s desired needs?
  • Effectively handle customer objections?

These events are common in every sales process. If you notice that any of them are regularly missing from your team’s sales appointments, then there is a good chance that is affecting your team’s performance.

The good news is:

Once you figure out the problem(s) with their process, you can provide sales coaching or training that helps your salespeople improve the specific step(s) in the sales process they are struggling with the most. Then, monitor their progress once your salespeople understand the steps they must take to improve.

Analyze your sales team.

Take time to analyze every person on your sales team. Understanding each salesperson’s potential allows you to make the necessary staffing decisions to substantially increase sales.


Start by separating your salespeople into categories:

A players: Salespeople who regularly surpass your expectations.

B players: Salespeople who meet your expectations but could use some improvement.

C players: Salespeople who consistently fail to meet your expectations and are deficient in multiple essential skills.

C players are almost impossible to change because they lack the innate personality traits for being B or A players.

Replace or reposition C players to another position in your company.

You may also want to consider pairing C players up with A and B Players. Your C players can handle administrative tasks, freeing up more of your A and B players’ time to hunt and sell.

To improve your sales team’s performance, invest time into improving your B players and getting them to sell more. Motivate them to become A players.

Click here to discover the secret to objectively evaluating your current salespeople >>

Analyze your sales manager.

You have probably heard the phrase, “People do not quit jobs; they quit managers.”

That is often true, so if your sales team seems to have checked out, the problem may lie in your sales manager’s approach to leading them.

Even if you are not experiencing a high turnover rate, you may be on the brink of losing several of your salespeople if the sales manager is ineffective or has created a toxic work environment.

To determine the effectiveness of your sales manager’s leadership style, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does he/she make the sales team feel valued and heard?
  • Does he/she reward salespeople for their accomplishments regularly?
  • Does he/she maintain a positive attitude and motivate the team?
  • Does he/she communicate expectations and goals to the team properly?
  • Does he/she genuinely care about the sales team and their individual career goals?
  • Does he/she set a great example for the salespeople?
  • Does he/she make sound decisions that help power the sales team forward toward success?

Take it a step further and ask your salespeople about their manager’s leadership style. What are their concerns? What do they like about your sales manager?

Depending on findings, you may need to sit down with your sales manager to discuss changes to their management style in the sales department. That way, your sales team’s morale can improve in a way that allows for better sales results.

Analyze the commission structure and salary.

As a sales director, you may be in charge of some decisions surrounding your sales team’s compensation.

While you may find it tempting to cut their pay to help the company financially, you should avoid doing so.

That is because many salespeople are largely motivated by money, and if you take away their main motivator, there is a good chance they will stop caring about generating revenue for your company. They may even leave in favor of a higher-paying sales job where they feel more appreciated, which will contribute to costly turnover rates.

So take an honest look at what you are paying your sales team and increase the amount if it is too low. Doing this may cost the company money, but it is worth the return you can see on your investment in the form of a better sales team and more revenue generated for the company.

Rethink your sales hiring process.

Some salespeople are natural-born sellers, while others will struggle to sell no matter how much help you offer them.

If you consistently hire the latter type of salesperson, you should work to improve your hiring process so you can start bringing on salespeople who are capable of achieving top results.


Here are a few ways you can improve your hiring process:

  • Stop hiring people just because they interview well. Salespeople are often skilled at selling their abilities, and it is all too easy to fall into the trap of hiring a smooth talker who will fail to produce good sales results. To avoid this issue, involve multiple people in the hiring process to encourage balance in the decision-making process, and make a conscious effort to avoid being persuaded by a charming candidate. Charm does not equate to a good salesperson. You want someone who can sell consistently and is innately competitive, optimistic and has an insatiable desire to succeed.
  • Look for new salespeople in the right places. For example, you may be able to find a candidate with experience in your industry using the LinkedIn Search tool, and you can learn more about them by viewing their LinkedIn profile. After that, you can reach out them to set up an interview time. That way, you can handpick qualified candidates and spend less time sifting through applications from salespeople who are unfit for your team.
  • Ask good interview questions. Most companies ask the wrong questions to identify the right candidates. Do not settle for common interview questions like “what are your weaknesses?” just because that is what has always been done. Start asking questions that help you uncover a candidate’s true innate selling potential.

If your hiring process is effective and it is your onboarding process that could use a few improvements, try implementing these changes:

  • Equip new salespeople with the resources they need to succeed. Be sure you provide training resources, information about your products/services, mentoring opportunities and anything else that will set new salespeople up for success.
  • Create realistic but challenging goals. For example, you might require them to close a specific number of sales within the first 30 days. The purpose of this is to push your salespeople to succeed without causing them to become discouraged by a goal that seems out of reach.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. Encourage new salespeople to reach out to you or another manager if they experience difficulties so you can help them overcome any issues before they escalate into worse problems.

In Conclusion

As you can see, the tips in this post revolve around analyzing possible problems in the sales department and coming up with solutions to those problems.

Your sales team may be experiencing several of the problems mentioned here, or they may only be experiencing one of them. It is your job to pinpoint where the issue is originating and take steps to improve the situation.

Remember to be patient and avoid expecting vastly improved sales performance from your team overnight when you implement solutions.  It may take some time for your efforts to pay off, but the eventual improvement of your salespeople’s results will be worth it.

Sales Hiring Simplified!

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

Related Articles

Sales Hiring Simplified!

Hire top-performing salespeople with The DriveTest®.

Get started now with one free test.

  • Start
  • Company Email
  • Hiring Frequency
0% Complete
1 of 3
Free Test Form Multistep

Start your free DriveTest® Trial

Play Video