Written by Angie Mansfield
No matter how great your product, if your sales team isn't closing deals your company can't succeed.
But before you decide to fire them and start over, it's a good idea to step back and take a look at your current procedures. Maybe your sales team isn't the problem, no?
Evaluate Your Sales Process
Is each member of your sales staff properly trained? Do you have inexperienced sales reps who aren't getting the support they need to succeed from sales managers?
Your first step should be to come up with a comprehensive training program, so every member of your team fully understands your products and the steps to make a sale. This might mean coming up with a script for sales reps to follow, that will lead them through each step of the sales process.
Help Your Current Team Succeed
Once you've come up with a well-defined sales process, including scripts, put each member of the sales staff through your training program. Make sure your sales manager is available to answer questions for the first few weeks after training, to help smooth the way for your less-experienced reps.
Once everyone's been trained, you'll be better able to evaluate each person's actual sales skill and motivation. Come up with a grading form based on your sales script, and record each rep so you can evaluate his or her performance. Those who don't perform as well may need extra coaching.
After 60 to 90 days of the new system and sales rep evaluations, you'll have a much clearer picture of which of your team members are just not going to make it.
Hire the Right Replacements
Once you've determined which people need to be replaced on your sales team, it's time to start looking for your new sales reps.
Again, a little planning will help you find the right people for your team, instead of more low performers who will need to be replaced again in a few months.
First, take your evaluation results and determine what's working for your best sales reps. What traits do all of your best people share? Is it determination, problem solving ability, or quick thinking? Look for these traits in the people you interview.
Use your past mistakes as a tool for finding the right people this time around. What made your low performers a bad fit for your company? Did you neglect to check references before you hired them? Or did you hire for basic skills without taking personality as it fits with your client base into account?
Hiring sales staff can be a time-consuming, expensive process.
Resist the temptation to hire someone just because you need to fill the space. Taking your time to truly find the right salespeople for your team will save you time and money down the line.
It'll also significantly boost your bottom line, since you'll have an enthusiastic, skilled team promoting your products.
About the Author
Angie Mansfield is a freelance writer covering topics and people of interest to consumers and small business owners, such as sales management and Steve Wynn.