The biggest mistake a sales leader can make is to hire the wrong person and the next biggest mistake is retaining people who need to move on -- but how do you objectively make the decision? I see business leaders agonize over this and they usually do so for all the right reasons -- they ask whether they've provided the right support and they feel a sense of obligation and duty of care for their employees. This is to be commended; yet holding on to the wrong people in your team can turn caustic and at the very least consumes large amounts of your time and energy while damaging overall performance and credibility.
The "rule of 24" can help you make the decision on whether a person needs to go. If the answer to any two of the following four questions is negative, then my advice is to manage the person out of the business:
- Performance: Are they consistently achieving their targets and meeting administrative requirements with sales process, CRM data entry, etc?
- Competence: Are they capable of executing successfully. Do they have what it takes (capable, playing to strengths, skills, experience, intelligence, gravitas)?
- Commitment: Are they working hard & doing everything needed to create sustained success (going the extra mile with effective inputs to build & progress their pipeline)?
- Cultural fit: Do they have a friendly, positive attitude and demonstrate consistent behavioral alignment with team values?
Be compassionate and measured when managing people but face the truth about a sales person. Commitment and cultural fit issues are difficult to train or externally influence - these factors stem from deep within. If someone is not a 'force for good' within the team and just not diligently making an effort, then they need to go. Never fire someone for performance reasons alone. Instead be patient if the other three factors (the three Cs) are positive and look yourself in the mirror to ask the question: 'Are we the employer delivering on our promise to provide an environment in which this sales person can be successful?' This includes a viable territory, training, resource alignment, intrinsic value in your market offering, productivity tools, marketing support, pre-sales resources, strategy, etc.
Tony Hughes is ranked as the #1 influencer on professional selling in Asia-Pacific and is a keynote speaker and best selling author. This article was originally published in LinkedIn where you can also follow Tony's award winning blog. Also visit Tony's keynote speaker website at www.TonyHughes.com.au or his sales methodology website at http://www.rsvpselling.com/.
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