When to sack a Sales Person

Matt Garman
18 Nov, 2019

I think one of the most difficult tasks in management is sacking an employee. There is no clear right or wrong time to do it, but it is important to consider the impact it’s going to have on the rest of the sales team.

Perception is vital to the confidence of the team as well as making sure the overall sales performance doesn’t suffer. If your other team members view the dismissal as unfair, you might end up with more problems than those caused by keeping the under-achiever in the job.

Ideally you should look for the sweet spot which is somewhere between ‘what took you so long?’ and ‘whoa – that was a bit quick!’

How you find that sweet spot, requires a bit of ticking off items on your checklist 

  • Did you make a good decision when you hired the person?

Interviewing is stressful and time consuming and it’s natural to want to hire a person you can relate to, but did you check their cv and credentials to make sure they had the right experience for the job? 

  • Are they failing because they need more training?

Did you onboard them properly and assess any training gaps and bringing them up to standard?

  • Were they given the tools and technology to do the job?

It may sound obvious, but without good onboarding they might be struggling to access your Customer Relationship Management system and other tools and technology. Every workplace has different systems and ways of working and if the person is not using the tools at all or not using them properly, they may not know how.

Should they simply ask? Yes of course they should, but it’s not always easy to find a teacher in a fast-paced sales environment and it can be hard to admit you don’t know something that everyone else appears to find easy.  Giving someone a logon is not good enough, they must also have enough training to allow them to use the systems efficiently.

  • Is the person unwilling to work your way?

Sometimes a new sales person will resist the sales process in because ‘it’s not how I do it’. They actually might not understand it, but it might be that it’s too much like hard work to learn a new way of doing things.  It’s a common belief that personality is all that’s needed to succeed because they’ve been lucky in the past.

  • Are they Coachable?

To be coachable they must be open to new ideas and able to accept change. An experienced sales person might believe they know all they need to know and will resist change even if they know they are under threat or underperforming. If they continue to approach their prospects in the same way, with the same results, they’re never going to improve.

Once you’ve gone through your checklist, analysed the sales stats and made sure you’ve set the person up for success, you are justified in making the decision to let them go. It’s natural to want to allow them more time to improve, but if you let it slide, the quality of your entire sales team will suffer.

Be fair, be honest, and enforce the standards you’ve set for your team.  If you’ve used a combination of performance metrics, sales coaching and accountability to drive improvements, you’ll know you’ve given them every chance to succeed.

Once you’ve made the decision, do it fast.  It’s better for the under performer, better for the team and better for your business.

Want to know more about achieving a consistent and high-achieving team?  Check out the free trial of SalesEnabla.  It’s the go-to place for the whole team to top up their knowledge and is great for your new starters. It onboards them in record time and makes sure there’s nowhere to hide, no excuses. Knowledge at their fingertips, best practice as their guide, your whole sales team will be set up for success.

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