5 Signs it’s time to let a Sales Rep go

July 21, 2022
Diya Mathur
Diya Mathur
Diya Mathur
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Table Of Contents

Interesting Fact:

Did you know all 500 fortune companies fire the bottom 10% every year to grow revenue. Trim to Win, as I’d like to call it, is a winning strategy to part ways with underperformers and onboard “Superstars” to build a great team. Great Teams not only add value to the bottom line but also create a healthy and productive environment for all at the workplace. It’s a core job of a Sales Manager to identify and fire the team members that fail to contribute productively to the organization. But knowing when to manage out the laggards is the most tricky part of the entire process. Some employees may be underperformers but promising, and some top-performers could be toxic that need to be moved out of the system. Who goes when and for what reasons is your decision as to the manager of the team. If you often find yourself torn between who should go and when this guide will help you make an informed decision

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Five “it’s time to fire” triggers! Natural Regressive Tendency

Dealing with disengaged employees who demonstrate temporary performance improvement after receiving feedback, but then regress once they become less vigilant, requires immediate attention. These individuals have a tendency to cause significant damages that may go unnoticed until they become glaringly evident. For example, if they are responsible for achieving an annual sales target of 2 million dollars, their regression could result in a loss of revenue amounting to a million dollars. Simply put, because they only perform when monitored, and fail to deliver otherwise, such employees will always fall short of their targets. If you spot someone like this in your team, you know it’s time to bid them goodbye.

Negative and Toxic Attitude

Dealing with “Nothing can go right”, “woe me”, “quick to brag”, “slow to apologize” sales rep in your team? Maybe it’s time to cut ties and move on! Employees with a negative demeanor cost you money, time, and retention. The longer a bad apple stays in your team, the longer your team performance will suffer. Not to mention, your business can’t handle that long term. It’s better to avoid toxic hires, but if you inherited one or made a bad hiring decision, you shouldn’t hesitate to get rid of them. They are simply holding back the organization and undermining overall performance.

Perpetual Underperformer

When assessing an employee's performance in sales team roles, various factors, including their strengths and weaknesses, play a significant role. A competent Sales Manager recognizes the strengths of each team member and provides support in addressing any weaknesses, as disengagement, goal underachievement, and excuse-making can be indicative of such shortcomings. But if you encounter a perpetually underperforming employee who shows absolutely no sign of improvement or rather lacks the potential to perform under the current setting, you may want to ask them to leave. You really don’t want other team members picking up someone else’s slack.

The Bare Minimum Mindset

According to a report published in Gallup, 53% of U.S. workers are disengaged. Some are complete laggards; others are happy to do the bare minimum and collect a paycheck at the end of the month. These are the employees you must pay attention to. On the surface they might just seem like a good fit for the business — always meeting targets, BUT never going above and beyond the regular. They are the ones who may have the potential to contribute more but would choose to do just enough to get by. They are unmotivated people with no sense of direction or drive. This can slow down the growth trajectory, particularly detrimental in BDR sales where proactive engagement and initiative are essential for driving leads and fostering business opportunities. Talk to them and encourage them to take ownership of their work. But if they refuse to change then you may have to think of an alternative.

Your Customers are Complaining

Did you know 80% of customers drop a brand or a company because of bad customer service? Most of them don’t even reach out to the management. They just decide to drop the brand. But if your customers have been reaching out to you, sending emails or chats constantly about bad customer experience, or worse, any kind of harassment, pointing out at a particular employee, make sure you take immediate actions. Neglecting such complaints can cost you a lot of business as well as harm the reputation of the organization. Before you fire someone, consider this. Firing is a necessary evil, but if done in the right way, can help the person cope better. The termination process doesn’t have to be daunting. You can do it in the kindest way possible. As a manager, you’ve to state the facts, stay focused, and not let your personal agendas influence the termination talk. Most importantly, be wary of the words that you use to fire the sales rep. They should be simple and to-the-point. "Alex, the reason we decided to let you go is that you didn’t meet your sales quotas for more than 6 months. "Pause for a while and allow them to take in the news. Then talk about the facts to justify the action taken. If it seems that they’re getting emotional or weren’t ready for the bad news, show some empathy. As a final act of kindness, offer to be helpful in whatever way possible — provide a reference, offer to make introductions, or simply give a letter of recommendation to help them begin their job search. Another critical point to consider when firing an employee is to ensure that the termination is not based on discrimination (race, gender, sex, etc.), and must not violate the employee’s employment contract. Most employees in the US are employed “at will,” meaning they can be terminated at any time for a valid reason, but being awake to a union or individual employment agreement before acting can protect you and your organization from unnecessary retaliation and allegations. Lastly, if you think people will start worrying about their future in the organization, gather them in a common hall, and assure them that the action was taken only after taking into account the performance and the behaviour of the terminated employee. Most of the time, your team will have a pretty good idea about why the person was fired. If the company policy allows, you can share a few details to pass on a strong message. Firing someone is not easy, especially if you share a good relationship with the person. But as a manager, it’s your responsibility to do what is best for the company, even if it means letting go of a few employees.


Diya Mathur

Diya is a Product Marketing Associate and content writer specializing in Incentive Compensation Automation. Diya has honed her ability to bridge the gap between intricate software functionalities and accessible, reader-friendly content. Her articles are a testament to her dedication to breaking down intricate SaaS solutions into digestible insights that cater to both tech-savvy professionals and those new to the software landscape.


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