Performance Improvement Plan
Performance Improvement Plan
Every sales manager encounters underperforming salespeople from time to time. Before you decide to replace them try helping them do better. This is usually a better solution than going through the hassle of recruiting, hiring and onboarding someone new. Implement a performance improvement plan. This takes work, so before you do it ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this person trainable?
- Does he have what it takes to succeed in this position?
- Does he have the core skills needed to do the job?
- Does he really want to succeed in sales?
- What is his potential for growth?
- In a nutshell: Is he worth the effort?
Only move forward with a performance improvement plan if you’re satisfied with the answers to the above questions. Your plan will depend on the salesperson and where you want to see improvement. The following is a suggested generic plan. Feel free to modify it to fit your needs.
Sample Performance Improvement Plan
- Meet with your salesperson and share your concerns about his performance. Be very specific. “John, you haven’t reached your goal for several months. This is not acceptable and unless things change you will lose your job.” Tell him you want to implement a plan to turn things around and get his buy-in.
- Identify specific areas that the salesperson must improve. It is very important that these are areas that he can control. For instance, he has no control over the numbers. Only the customer can decide whether or not to buy. However the salesperson has control over his attitude, his activities and his behaviors. Does he have the right mindset to do the job? Is he making enough of the right kind of sales calls? Is he using your selling process correctly? You must be very specific when you set expectations:
“You must meet with 15 new prospects every week”.
“You must use the company selling process to qualify prospects”.
“You must comply with all requests for information”.
- Set timelines and benchmarks for every expectation that you set for the salesperson. No vague or wishy-washy stuff.
- Create a plan to help him grow. Work with him on overcoming his weaknesses.
- Insure that he gets all the coaching, mentoring and training that he needs to succeed. Make calls with him. Pre-call strategize and post-call debrief several calls every week.
- Track his activities, behaviors and results to make sure the plan is working.
- Do formal reviews at least weekly and document everything.
- Do not accept excuses. This is serious stuff. His job is on the line and he must perform the activities he agreed to.
- At the end of a predetermined period you will either have a more productive salesperson or you will decide to cut your losses. In either case you have done your best as a sales manager to help your salesperson.
Street Smart Sales Management is written every week by Oliver Connolly to provide actionable tips for sales management professionals. For more information on the services I provide please go to www.clevelstrategic.com