Sometimes, even though you’ve gone through the correct hiring process, and you’ve put them on a proven 45-day road map, a salesperson will still fail. When do you know that it’s time to let that salesperson go?
The first month of employment, or so, is an employee’s honeymoon period. They will never dress better, show up earlier, stay later, speak more articulately or be more proactive than during this time. If you start seeing sloppy behaviors now, like taking long lunches, frequent breaks, not showing up on time or completely ignoring their roadmap assignments, let them loose now. Don’t even bother with a performance improvement plan. Recognize that they’re always going to be sloppy, you’re always going to be frustrated, and you should just move on. We take this EXTREMELY seriously. Miss even one assignment due date (barring major extenuating circumstances), and we let them go.
Now, this harsh policy doesn’t just come out of the blue. When we present an offer letter, we let the employee know how rigid we are about roadmaps. If they can’t take the heat, they should not even enter the kitchen.
Disregard for Training
We run into this issue a lot with seasoned sales professionals who reject training because they believe their past “success” should carry them. They fight to meet with clients early in the process, will completely disregard the books you ask them to read and suddenly spend a lot of time MIA (likely meeting with people they knew from their last job). If they can “prove” themselves by bringing on a client early in the process, they think that you’ll abandon the roadmap and just let them do their thing.
While the early win may feel tempting, this behavior sets everyone up for failure. Ultimately, this type of salesperson will sell something completely out of your standard solution stack and will overpromise what your service team can deliver. Managed Services sales is a unique venture, and if you’re using the CharTec sales process, you’re selling differently than the majority of ho-hum MSPs out there. If a salesperson can’t commit to the training, don’t commit to them.
Lack of Documentation
We firmly believe in documenting sales activities. This is the only way we allow a salesperson to prove that they are still worth their salt even if they don’t meet quota. This includes documenting calls made, networking events attended, lunches planned, first appointments, Discoveries, and presentations made. We have minimum expectations each and every month accounted for within a point system in our PSA. If a salesperson cannot manage to document their activity, we let them go.
Sales vs. Marketing
Any salesperson should be able to generate some of their own leads through networking, canvassing, and community engagement. They shouldn’t be the one spending time tinkering on the website, geeking out over writing blogs and wasting hours upon hours creating email campaigns though. If your salesperson turns out to be more of a marketer, you’ve got a decision to make. Do you want to change their pay structure and expectations and keep them on the payroll, or do you want to release them, look for a hunter and outsource marketing?
Account Management vs. Sales
Is your salesperson more interested in cultivating relationships or closing deals? If they require meeting with a prospect 16 times, going golfing every week and taking everyone to lunch repeatedly just to woo them into a first appointment, they are not a good fit for sales. Sure, people buy from people they like but this doesn’t mean that you have to be best friends to generate a sale. Someone that thrives within the relationship is a much better fit for account management than for sales. A true salesperson goes out, finds the target, kills the prey (signs the deal), brings it back (delivers to service) and returns to the hunt.
Ongoing Low Numbers
Activity points can only carry someone for so long. If after 90 days, they can’t start closing deals and start building up a strong pipeline, they may just not be cut out for sales. Start monitoring and watching carefully to see where their major failure points are and if there is anything you can do to salvage them. For example, if they consistently fail by missing one particular pre-requisite of the sale, decide if you can train them to improve. If the cause is lost, fire quickly. Stop wasting your money.
A Note about Failing Salespeople
We’ve laid down a lot of the reasons we release non-performing salespeople. Before you use this as your final justification to get rid of your ongoing failure, consider whether you’ve given them the right tools to succeed.
- Did you put them through the proper sales training or have them shadow you?
- Did you set clear quota expectations or just expect them to get what they could get?
- Were the expectations you set reasonable? We typically see a managed services salesperson able to close between $2,000-$4,000 in net new recurring revenue on a monthly basis dependent on region and metro area.
- Did you have a clear process in place before you sent them out for the sale?
- Did you provide them a clear sales documentation structure or expect them to create it for you?
- Are you expecting them to create all of their own leads without any leads list?
- Are you having regular one-on-one accountability meetings or letting them fly by the seat of their pants?
- Do you have a quality sales culture within the office, or did they walk into an ongoing sales depression?
Consider all of these elements, and if you still believe that they’re the issue, not you, go ahead and release the salesperson. We’ll support you 100%.