When sales growth isn't happening at the speed at which management wants (or needs) to see it, it's easy to first blame the salesperson. After all, it's their job to get out there and drum up some revenue. If nothing is happening it must be because they are not doing their jobs.
Go ahead and evaluate your sales staff's effectiveness, but it's not that simple. Companies everywhere (maybe yours?) are inadvertently exhibiting one or more of the eight self-destructive behaviors toward salespersons listed below, and are thereby standing in their own way on the road to better sales performance:
Perhaps you don't recognize your company in these eight behaviors. If you don't see yourself here, there's another way to determine whether you might be contributing to your company's slack sales volume. Ask yourself, "Who were the most recent salespersons to leave the company?" Were they the underperformers or the all-stars? If your best sales producers are choosing to leave your company, take another look at the list above. The problem, and the key to the sales turnaround you need, might be right in your own hands.
- Hire them and send them right out into the field. Don't want to waste time with too much product detail - after all, it's not their job to make it, only to get somebody to buy it.
- Make sure they aren't weighed down by piles of marketing material to take into the field. What do prospects need - for them to draw a picture?
- Let them find their own leads. Who do they think you are - the Library of Congress??
- Pay them all the same. Wouldn't want to show favoritism, because they're all putting in the time, regardless of how much revenue they produce.
- Bury them in sales reporting requirements, and then yammer at them about how they need to make more sales calls.
- Give them lots of territory - so much that they spend 80% of their week in a car or on a plane, instead of face to face with prospective and current customers.
- If they're an outstanding performer give them the opportunity to start over several times so they can feel the thrill of accomplishment. When the size of their customer base starts to bloat their commission checks, cut the territory into several pieces and distribute it among several people .
- Mess up the fulfillment of their customers' orders. You have the options of late delivery, partial shipments, rude service, or poor quality. You will have extra impact if it's the first order from this customer.