Sales Managers Decide Who to Coach and Who to Cut

Who to coachAn effective sales management team needs to determine the true value of what each individual employee brings to the company. While certain managers may spend time trying to coach representatives in an effort to improve their abilities, not all workers are worth the effort, as the industry of selling is not for everyone.

If the manager targets the wrong employees for coaching, workers who could be helped by guidance are often left behind. Certain representatives that are struggling with their numbers may be beyond help, and a waste of resources, according to the Harvard Business Review.

A good sales manager can determine which employees may actually benefit from concentrated coaching. While some salespeople can be taught to increase their productivity, others may be beyond fixing, as sometimes a personality will not fit within the industry, the business website reported.

Representatives generally fall into three categories, “A” players, mid-tier and the bottom 20 percent. The top performers can typically make small incremental gains in their performance which results in great gains for the company. The mid-tier reps can improve with some coaching and the lowest level of employees may be beyond any type of repair, as the worst salespeople may not fit into the specific role, Barrett Riddleberger, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Resolution Systems, Inc., a sales training and consulting firm, said.

“The myth is that you can turn anyone around – you can’t,” Riddleberger noted. “You have to know when to let a non-performer go. Focus on your mid-tier and high end sales reps, lop off the bottom end and move in a direction to hire those that mimic “A” players.”

Sales professionals across the board need to understand that while training for each role may be customized, everyone in their respective sales roles needs to be speaking the same language. The major account sales reps need to be using the same terms and sales process. The call center reps need to speak their same language as well. Ultimately, the sales manager must reinforce the sales process to drive greater levels of performance according to the executive.

Coaching the middle perfomers within the sales team may be the most effective strategy for managers, as even the most concentrated world-class guidance may be a waste of time for the bottom or top 10 percent. The highest sellers may be misguided by advice from management, and the underachievers may respond in a negative manner to continued interference, noted the Harvard Business Review.