Monday Morning Manager-He Sure Wasn’t The Person I Hired!

If you have never been in this position I sincerely hope you never will be. Let’s say that 9 months ago you hired a salesperson who looked, acted and spoke like the second coming of Zig Ziglar. The resume was flawless, the references were perfect, the assessment was better than OK, and the interviews went well. You had everybody but the night watchman interview this character and there were rave reviews all around. And, l’il ole you sat there with a smug look on your face thinking-I AM THE MAN!

And then nine months go by and you’re scratching your head because the “uber-rep”:

  1. Won’t make his sales plan even though when he was hired the territory was doing well.
  2. Can’t get the expense report done on time even though it’s electronic and takes 5 minutes.
  3. Seems to do a fair amount of finger pointing at other people in the company.
  4. Has lost some key business in several top accounts in the territory.
  5. Isn’t as available as he should be when you want to work with him.

If it’s any consolation you are not alone. Every sales manager or almost every manager has experienced similar situations. The bold truth is-hiring salespeople is a crap shoot no matter how many people interview the candidate or how many references you call. The key next step is to figure out why. I would look at:

  1. Expense reports to see if this person has travelled to the accounts he should be calling on.
  2. The CRM to see whether he has logged his activity in accounts.
  3. The CRM to see what type of activity is being logged. If you see a lot of entries that describe administrative activity then I would begin to wonder. CRM entries should have a significant number of sales call and opportunity information.
  4. The territory as a whole to see if there are situations that might exist there that do not exist in other areas. Smart competitors have been known to blitz territories when a new rep comes in. There could be other economic factors as well. You never know.
  5. The rep square in the eye and ask direct questions about his performance. How does he feel about his performance YTD? Does he think that he could have done more? What were his expectations when he came on board? Are there issues that he has not shared with anyone?
  6. Whether the rep is just not a good salesperson.

If none of the above seem to be the answer then you may have to go to probation to either light a fire under the rep or to grease the skids for his departure. Waiting for the miracle turn around is not the answer so don’t waist your time hoping. 99% of the time the situation will stay the same.

The Final Thought: An acre of performance is worth a whole world of promise. William Dean Howells.


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