Wow – seems that I struck a nerve last week – I got a lot of pointed feedback to my last blog, mostly along the lines of:

How can you advocate firing people in the middle of this awful economy!

Well, as I said, the post was a brief glance at my upcoming book. Here is part of the overall philosophy of the book that didn’t fit into the last blog post:

When salespeople are evaluated only on their end-of-the-term results, and they fall short of those results, then managers have a hard time diagnosing where along the way problems may have occurred.

It is also reasonable to assume that the salesperson doesn’t know where problems occurred.

So how can we know?

Well, if we measure the events at different points in the sales cycle, we can get a good idea of where problems are occurring, for example:

  • If the salesperson has a huge number of leads, and lots of prospecting efforts, but no meetings, then there is a problem with prospecting.
  • If the salesperson has a lot of first meetings, but never writes proposals, then problems are occurring with rapport building or establishing the need of the client.
  • If the salesperson is writing a lot of proposals and they are not closing, then there may be a problem with needs analysis, or qualification, or perhaps objections (although they will be minimized if qualification and needs analysis are done well.

Many readers seemed to miss the part of the blog post where I made an analogy to a receptionist who only answered the phone 80% of the time. I wrote:

You would fire your receptionist if she only answered 80% of the calls, and did not step up to a plan to correct that

That last part of the sentence is important. If a salesperson is struggling, a good sales manager should try to figure out what the problem is, and see if it is fixable. A well developed, metric based and measurable sales process can help identify what is going wrong for the salesperson, and a sales manager who is doing the job properly can and should coach, mentor, motivate and even incentivize some kind of a plan to help the salesperson grow through their limiting situation and find success….

….but if the salesperson makes no efforts to improve a bad situation, then yes – I do believe that they should be fired. If that makes me cruel and heartless, then so be it.

****************************************************

Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)

So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.

If you would like to develop you own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:

The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.

Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.

The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.

If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.

Here’s to your success!

-David