Recently I was giving a presentation for business owners on how to optimize their sales organizations.We had covered leadership, strategic sales planning, the sales process, tracking key metrics, consistent sales training, and accountability.
During the Q & A session an owner asked the following question: “I have two sales people who are under performing, I don’t want to micro-manage them, what should I do”?
I asked if she had told them she wasn’t pleased with their performance and pointed out necessary improvement areas, she said, “No I haven’t, I wanted to treat them as adults, they should know what’s expected, I hired them because they supposedly knew what they were doing and by the way, I pay them very well”!
….she quickly added, “I don’t feel comfortable being big brother, yet they are simply not performing”!
I explained by having a sales plan, a sales process, tracking mechanism, training and coaching sessions she could enhance the probability of salvaging the sales people.
With that aside, I said if they continue to underperform then fire them. She appeared as though I slapped her in the face she said, “But they have families and I feel responsible for them”.
The discussion with the group ensued regarding how far you go with sales people who are not hitting their goals and objectives. The consensus was she needed to overcome her personal guilt with their lack of productivity and deal straight forward with their responsibility to perform as they were hired to do. And if “micromanaging” was necessary to get the point across then she better get on with it!
A final thought, owners often get caught up in the personal lives of their employees which is not a bad thing , however when taken too far, this paternalistic tendency can be a mask for not dealing with the tough issues of poor performance.
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