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By Eric Morse December 11, 2013

When to Fire Sales Non-Performers?

imagesSo how many times have we hired someone and said to ourselves this person is going to be fantastic. Yet 12 months later he/she is fired. We have also heard and seen in many blogs the cost of the wrong hire or turnover.

So what I have found and advise to my clients in my sales consulting firms engagements, waiting 12 months to make a decision on a new hire is way too long.

I am often asked "how long is too long?"

My view is if you have a sales process in place, a training/certification program in place, success gates, great coaching and mentoring and a CRM you should be able to make a “Good” decision on anyone at the 3-4 month gate.

If you do not have these in place well get them or you are making decisions on hunches. Most hunches or fortune cookie scenarios I have seen in this area have not paned out or the hunch was to get rid of the person and you did not do it.

You need STRUCTURE and DATA. Or what we call a Winning Sales Foundation.

So let me give you a sample recipe for this. Every client is different but there are some basics.

  • 1. You need to profile, recruit and hire someone well.
    • I am sure you are good at that. A couple of things I insist on at this stage.
    • Verify W-2
    • You do the reference checking
    • Have the candidate sell you something in a formal presentation or on the phone.
  • 2. You need to have a new hire sales training and certification in place
    • It has to be mapped to a Winning Sales Process
    • It needs to be focused both on your solution, your sales process and sales skills.
    • Focus on the prospect
    • You need real live scenarios to test the person on. Can the make an effective cold call, can they do a web demo etc.
    • You need to certify this person in front of yourself and other member of your team.
  • You need to embrace CRM, like Salesforce.com or others
    • Ensure you are ALL using this sales tool and mapping this to your sales process.
    • You need to have someone like sales operations or yourself monitoring this and as Ronald Reagan said, “Trust but Verify”.
    • No excuses for non-compliance.
  • You need expected key activity metrics in place
    • Do not focus on activities, but focus on key activities i.e.: number of calls vs. number of good conversations
    • A manager must embrace one on one with the individuals or a regular basis. I would start weekly with new hires.
  • A mentor program in place is a GREAT thing to get another opinion and help the new hire.
  • You need to have clearly defined "success gates" in place for the new hire examples
    • First month, understanding industry and out solution, eager, spends a lot of time learning, asking questions, not afraid to try new things.
    • Three months, sales funnel building. Great at key sales activities
    • Sales metrics in place and being met
    • One-on-ones with the individual, are showing new hire understands prospects, sales process, value proposition and effectively moving prospects in the funnel.

Bottom line, you in todays environment you need to make a decision on a new hire at the three to four month level and not wait until 12 months. Do you have a Winning Sales Foundation in place?

Topics: Sales Management, Sales Process

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