Poor Sales Reps or Ineffective Sales Managers?

There is usually an inclination to directly blame the lack of sales on salespeople. “They can’t sell, “They don’t close,” “They’re chasing unqualified opportunities”, “They aren’t seeing enough prospects,” “All they do is donut drop” are just some of the explanations I hear from business owners.

It’s very conceivable there are those on your sales & marketing team who need additional skills training or… an attitude adjustment.  We know there are some “salespeople” that just don’t have the right attitude and no amount of rear-kicking will get them motivated. Those are the poor hires and need to find a new ‘home.’

As a sales/marketer coach and remote sales manager for the past ten plus years, I’ve learned two very important causes of mediocrity with ineffective salespeople.

Two of the most common “reasons” are here:

Ineffective sales management: If the leader of the sales team doesn’t know how to recruit the right salespeople – or inspire and motivate the team – can’t coach them on needed improvements – isn’t tracking the pipeline effectively – doesn’t hold individuals responsible for sales results, this could be a big part of your sales problems.

Without good Daily Activity Reporting combined with a Weekly Planning Report, a sales manager is not doing their job.  One of the benefits of being an Elite CREST member, is you get a “sales manager” (remotely) who does demand and review Daily Activity Reports and does insist on Weekly planning reports. This is one of the very best ways to hold a salesperson or marketer accountable. 

Some owners tell me they want GPS tracking on the marketers’ car. Sadly, this provides limited insight or understanding about the marketers’ activities.  They may be making lots of stops, but really don’t know how to “ask” for the sale. No ask – no sale.

Think of your salesperson driving from plumber to plumber, or insurance agency to agency – going in a saying “Hi” but not knowing how to bring value or even have a valid reason for the stop – other than a wasted “Stop, Drop, and Roll” marketing process. Everyone of them needs a coach.  Even really good, very skilled athletes use coaches to perfect their skills and performance.

Poorly trained and coached salespeople:

It’s amazing to me that a restoration owner or manager will demand a marketer make 20 (or more stops) each day and then have no formal coaching in place to guide and teach the marketer. To be truly effective, your marketer must know:

  • How to qualify the lead
  • Who to see, visit, call
  • What to say
  • What NOT to say
  • How to ‘ask’ for the sale
  • How to confirm the next step or visit
  • How to track, log and schedule visits or meetings
  • What information should go into the company CRM
  • How to ‘mine’ the data for more qualified prospects
  • How to actively search for and find prospects

Finding, hiring and retaining good salespeople and marketers is a challenging and often frustrating duty. Therefore, it is critical that you take inventory of all the possibilities causing the sales / marketer struggles!

Ask yourself:

  • Are you paying an appropriate compensation package?
  • Are you teaching them how to use your company CRM?
  • Have they been given the Forms, Checklists, and material to be accountable?
  • Are you holding them accountable?
  • What consequences are there for failing to perform?
  • Have you established – in writing – their sales targets and goals?

Simply put, don’t jump to the conclusion that it’s the salesperson’s “fault” that he or she can’t hit their target and replace them with another warm body. (That’s just a vicious cycle). The red flag here for management is the rate of sales staff turnover. The higher it is, the longer it continues, the more likely the root cause of poor or drastically reducing sales revenue lies somewhere else. Even owners that choose to tolerate a marketers’ poor performance (and NOT fire them) are just dooming their company to mediocrity.

Author Dick Wagner,  Co-Founder  The CREST Network, LLC