This salesperson is struggling, there is only one thing we can do…..
Time to bring out…
Sales is a simple profession to measure, either you sell or you don’t. Either you hit your sales target or you don’t. Most sale roles have very black and white targets and also often have KPI’s set that show what work you need to do to achieve those targets.
When salespeople struggle or don’t hit target, there is usually one response.
Sales managers begin to watch your EVERY move, counting the calls you make, listening to them, criticing your every move. They come to your meetings, ask for updates on the hour and confront everything they disagree with.
I mean, how else are you supposed to help people improve??!
Let’s face some facts, micromanagement rarely works.
It puts salespeople into a horrible super high pressure make or break situation. If they’re struggling to hit target this is rarely the solution.
Now firstly let’s admit there are SOME salespeople who are struggling or not hitting target because they simply aren’t doing the work. They’re not making the calls, not making the effort or just don’t have the motivation. They don’t do anything to help themselves and no amount of support will unfortunately help them.
However there are a lot of salespeople out there who want to succeed, who try their best and just need help.
I’ve always looked at it in the same way as bowling….
When you struggle to throw the ball, you can put barriers up to ensure the ball doesn’t go into the gutter. In my opinion, salespeople sometimes need the same thing. They don’t need someone watching them bowl, they need support and guidance.
Simon Sinek puts it very well…
There could be a number of reasons the sales person is struggling. There could be personal circumstances impacting them, perhaps they haven’t had the right training, perhaps they need some support.
Showing empathy can often solve the problem quicker than reacting with micromanagement.
Now before I suggest some options to use INSTEAD of micromanagement, let’s first look at why managers often use this approach.
Why do people micromanage?
When someone isn’t performing or delivering the results expected of them, a lot of business encourage micromanagement to first help identify what the problem is and then attempt to solve it. Most managers are put under pressure from their managers to solve underperformance, and this is often a go to reaction to do that. It highlights one thing though…..
The salesmanager DOESN’T know what they problem is or doesn’t TRUST that salesperson.
Now shouldn’t an effective leader know their team and know what any problems may be? Shouldn’t an effective leader trust their team?
If a salesperson is struggling or not performing ULTIMATELY it is the sales managers fault.
- Either they’ve not hired the right person for the role
- They haven’t provided them the right training
- They haven’t provided the right support and coaching
- They haven’t provided the tools needed to do the job
- They haven’t given them the environment needed to perform in the job
Or there may be genuine reasons….
- They’re having issues at home
- There are personal circumstances having an impact
- They’re genuinely struggling
- They need help
Regardless, micromanaging hardly seems like the right thing to do. Not only will it put the salesperson under immense pressure, the type of pressure no employee should be put through, but it makes them feel like they aren’t appreciated and their job is on the line. This is a HORRIBLE feeling to give someone, and is rarely something that will encourage or help someone achieve success!
There’s more though……
Guess where that pressure will go? It will be passed to your customers!!! Most salespeople end up just putting all that pressure that they are onto, onto their customers. They become so desperate to succeed and impress that they put their customers under horrible pressure to buy, often resulting in them NOT buying.
Instead of putting MORE pressure on them, instead of putting the weight of the world on them, perhaps try to take some pressure AWAY.
Ask them what’s wrong, ask them why they think they are struggling and ask them what you can do to help them. Remember it’s not about blaming them, but working with them to help them. That’s often the difference between a leader and a boss. A boss will look to blame his staff for failure whereas a leader will take accountability and look to solve it with his team.
What do you do if a salesperson is struggling?
In my opinion and experience, don’t take the easy road and micromanage them. It will rarely help them, it might buy them a bit of time but you will just wear them out and lose them eventually.
Instead seek to understand the real problem and then work WITH them to solve it.
What do you think? Do you think micromanagement should stop or do you agree with it? How do you think you can help struggling salespeople? What’s worked for you in the past? Let me know in the comments box below.
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