When Coaching Has Gone As Far As It Can
In my last article I discussed how to best coach your Sales Team to a successful finish for 2017, and prepare to come out of the gate ‘blazing’ in 2018 (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/3-effective-ways-prepare-your-sales-team-2018-denise-m-barry/). However, as much as we need to analyze and clarify our Sales Pipelines, we as Sales Leaders must also weigh the strengths and weaknesses of our Sales Team.
There are times that no matter how much coaching is provided, or support to remove bottlenecks, a Sales Person may not be a right fit for the role and its requirements.
I was once told that when you have to de-hire a person from their role, many times you are doing them a favor. Free them to let them find the role that better aligns to their strengths. And let’s face it…
As poor as their results are, so is their self-esteem. They’re miserable in the role too.
Here are 3 main steps you should take in a situation like this that result is a positive, and hopefully new direction for both your Sales Person and your Sales Team:
1. Ask yourself if you have truly coached your Sales Person as best you could. Did you try to understand their challenges with the Sales Process? Did you line them up with a Mentor to learn from and to have as a support person? Are their personal goals in alignment with the company’s objectives, and have you discussed this? If yes, and you are comfortable you have exhausted all the ways you can provide support from a Sales Leadership perspective, then for the health of your Sales Team overall you need to make changes.
2. How you handle the next few weeks now will set the tone for the de-hiring process and its success for you both. First, referring to your coaching sessions, you need to clearly articulate where the Sales Person is not meeting their requirements of the role, whether that be producing the expected results (i.e. attaining quota), providing the level of customer service agreed upon for customer retention, account growth, etc.
Once you have articulated this in a written document it is essential you gain agreement with the Sales Person. If you have been continuously coaching them, none of this should be of any surprise.
3. In your written agreement you need to include timelines in which the required changes need to be attained. This is referred to as the Notice Period. Bearing in mind the length of your Sales Cycle(s), apply the specific and appropriate timelines that they need to achieve these targets by to maintain their role. For example, either increase sales results, or increase the number of qualified prospects in their Pipeline, or however they are measured in their role. I would recommend a 30-day, but no longer than a 60-day time period.
Working within the agreed upon time frame, continue with regularly scheduled coaching sessions to gauge their progress. If they still are not attaining the agreed to benchmarks, then you need to terminate their employment contract.
But end it professionally, not just to make this transition as smooth as possible but also to avoid any legal repercussions against your company. Provide them with an appropriate severance package (for Sales it is not just based on their tenure, but includes the consideration of any ongoing business / commissions they many have left on the table, etc.). Ask for their participation to transition any current clients to a new Sales Person to avoid a surprise change to a current customer.
Provide a reference if applicable. Maybe they didn’t meet their quota, but they could have had a great attitude, were prompt and worked well with their colleagues.
In short. the more planning you can do in a deliberate and transparent way, the better result you will achieve from your de-hiring process. No one likes to de-hire, but not all people are cut out for a career in Sales. As their Leader, is it up to you to provide direction and keep the momentum going for the continued success of your Sales Team.
About the Author:
Denise M. Barry is an Entrepreneurial Sales Leader who is passionate about New Business Development.
From practicing Consultative Sales for over 26 years, Denise is convinced it is a Methodology that successfully spans multiple industries as the ‘steps’ are the same regardless of what the product or solution is. She has been very fortunate to have had opportunities to mentor and coach many new Sales Leaders in Consultative Sales over her Career.
Denise specializes in Outsourced Sales for her Global clients, enabling them to:
- Launch new Products and Gather Analytical Data
- Open up new Marketplaces and Verticals - 'dip their toe in first'
- Increase Sales and ‘Top-up’ Pipelines
I welcome companies who are interested in augmenting their Global strategy by including the opportunities that abound in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada to contact me.
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