In 2006 I discovered the practice of Fractional Sales Management before it became an emerging…
Your salesperson is not performing up to par and it feels like you’ve done all you can to help them. It’s probably time for an improvement plan. Here are four keys to having a successful improvement plan that will either help your salesperson get back on track or make it clear that this job is not for them.
If you have a rep that has fallen off their production a little too long, they need to make some adjustments to get back on track. Maybe you have a new sales rep that isn’t on track for the ramp-up period. In this case you may need to put them on an early improvement plan. The following 4 keys to effective improvement plans may help.
Be Responsible To Not For
Firstly, you want to check yourself to make sure that you’re being responsible TO your sales person and not responsible FOR them. A trap that many young sales managers get into is that they start helping the salesperson by going out and closing business for them. They may be motivating them, and encouraging them. They may go with them on more calls and spend more time with them than with other sales reps. You want to be careful about that.
Your job isn’t to make them feel good and hope that feeling good will get them where they want to go. You are a coach, guide and a support for your capable sales people. The coaching you do should help them find the right habits and attitudes to be productive.
Be Clear About What Needs Improvement
This list could include behaviors, attitudes, results, and/or practices. List it out and be clear.
Be Clear About Expectations
List out and be clear about the expectations you have for your sales team. Maybe you have covered these expectations before. But you have to document it one more time. Then your sales rep knows what they’re not doing and what they should be doing.
Monitor and Document
Find a way to measure if improvements are being made. Since this is an improvement plan you need to be able to demonstrate the results of their efforts. Set up a time frame that you will be evaluating. Is it once a month, 60 or 90 days?
You want to review the progress report so you have clear evidence of what is successful and what might be failure at this time.
Finally, when you get to the end of the improvement plan or maybe even midway, if it’s just not happening, you decide on the next step. You may decide that they are off the improvement plan and back into the regular bull pen. You may decide to continue the improvement plan a little longer or, worse case, you may decide the job isn’t for them.
In conclusion, the whole idea behind doing improvement plans is giving someone their best chance to be successful. Also it makes it very easy for the sales person to see if the job isn’t for them.
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