At some point of time in our lives, we all have underperformed. Not everyone is a born salesman. Some became the greatest only after a fair degree of falls. Similarly, if you manage a sales team, the numbers could be dwindling for a variety of reasons, including industry changes, competitors, problem processes, etc.
But it is hard to blame industry issues, though, if you have a team that is meeting their goals while one individual falls short. However, just because one member of the team has problems, doesn't necessarily mean they are a problem. While it could seem like a natural and perhaps an easy choice to terminate the contract of underperforming employees, a good sales manager ensures that he or she finds solutions to problems behind the lags rather than getting rid of them. In this article, we’ll analyse the pain points from a Sales Manager’s perspective and discuss a few solutions that you could implement to your system to uplift the slackers in the team.
The first step in managing underperformance is to know the signs of underperforming employees. Here are the top 5 signs:
Now that you know the signs of underperforming employees, a leader needs to find reasons why the employees are underperforming and do something about it. It's crucial to consider the nuances in roles, recognizing the differences between sales associates vs representatives.
No Goal Setting- No Goal Setting- If the employee does not know what exactly he or she needs to do or if you have set unrealistic goals for them, it would be difficult for them to perform. All sales employees need to have clear instructions about their roles and responsibilities. When they have no clue of their role in the organization, no matter how skilled or talented they are, they will underperform in the organization. Integrating goal-setting discussions into regular team sales meeting examples provides a forum for clarifying expectations and fostering employee understanding.
The Solution - To overcome the above problem, a manager needs to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Bound) goals for them. You also need to make them understand their role in the team and mentor them on the right path.
Lack of Recognition - Employees cannot continue to perform outstandingly unless they are not recognized for their efforts and rewarded in some way. If the management is not rewarding the best-performing employees, they will eventually lose interest in performing well, and they may end up being average or below-average performers. It will impact the overall productivity of the company.
The Solution - The solution for this is quite simple and straightforward. As a leader, you need to ensure there is a system in place that recognizes the best-performing employee regularly and timely. Giving them rewards and appreciating them is a great way to recognize and appreciate the performance of the employee. 63% of employees who are recognized are very unlikely to look for a new job, while 40% of employed Americans would put energy into their work if they were recognized more often.
No Room for improvement and Growth - No one likes to have a flat curve when it comes to career and professional growth. Employees want to learn new skills and improve themselves so they can stay updated with current trends and shifts in the market. If staying in one organization for long costs them opportunities to grow further in their field, they may not be motivated to perform for the organization, leading to low performance.
The Solution - To ensure such a scenario does not happen in your team, you must schedule training and development programs for employees from time to time. Learning a new skill will not only keep them motivated but also encourage them to perform well.
Workplace Stress and Burnout - A stressed employee with no work-life balance may not be able to perform well. Too much work or too little time to meet deadlines chronically can play havoc on their mental and physical health. Obviously, an unhealthy employee will never deliver healthy numbers.
The Solution –Managers should know what tasks have been given to the employee and what their load level is. If a particular employee is overloaded with work, the manager should make arrangements to delegate some of his tasks to those with better capacity. Speak to HR and organize stress-busting activities to break the monotony.
To foster organizational growth, it is imperative for a leader to establish a comprehensive strategy for managing underachieving employees by consistently tracking their performance and implementing measures to enhance it within the framework of the sales funnel and pipeline. The most important thing to remember when adopting these steps is that you are actually supporting the sales rep's development by proactively addressing performance gains and gaps, which in turn will help the organization.