MessagetoManagementAre you spending too much time cleaning up after sub-par performers?

Salespeople not performing, dragging you down, and compromising your team‘s sales effectiveness? Get rid of deadwood as fast as you can.

Well, maybe not so fast. First, consider whether you should take the hit. Perhaps you didn’t equip them with the skills and tools to do their job. [Tweet “On-boarding a new sales rep requires more than providing a desk, a phone, and a password.”] Maybe you weren’t coaching or reinforcing productive behaviors, or you found them bothersome and ignored them one time too many. It’s also possible you just hired the wrong people in the first place.

Either way, your poor performers probably know you’re going to can them and already have one foot out the door. So if you’ve provided all the tools and training they need to succeed long-term, and they’re still more trouble than they’re worth, it’s time to make some tough decisions.

In this week’s guest post, Will Brooks—executive vice president and director of marketing for The Brooks Group—discusses his perspective on cleaning house. Here’s his take:

“Our clients are constantly asking us where sales managers should spend their time.

Here’s the challenge.

No matter what one’s position in life may be—CEO, vice president of sales, regional sales manager, president of a country, or general of an army—we all have the same amount of time: 24 hours a day, 168 hours a week, 52 weeks a year.

We can’t buy more, barter for more, lease more, or manufacture more. The most fundamental sales management success factor centers around this simple reality. So your success will ultimately be defined by your answer to this question: How well do you maximize the time you have?

Where Should Sales Managers Spend Their Time? Not Here!

It’s not unusual for sales leaders or sales managers to spend most of their time on issues created by salespeople whose potential is limited or whose performance is sub-par.

Some examples of these time-wasters include:

  • Calming upset customers, prospects, or co-workers
  • Correcting errors and mistakes
  • Providing emotional support
  • Traveling to assist in failed sales efforts
  • Answering redundant questions
  • Seeing no return on the investment made into sub-par performers
  • Endlessly wondering why performance fails to get better despite all your work

Sound familiar? If you have dealt with three or more items in the above list within the last week, it might be time to evaluate—from a big-picture perspective—what’s going on inside your sales organization.

Is It Time to Clean House?

Bottom line: In today’s marketplace, you can’t allow unhappy salespeople or poor performers to hang around too long.

You need to ask yourself two very important questions:

1. Would you get a better return on your time if you invested more of it with top performers who, with some slight modifications, could become great performers?

2. Are you better off putting out fires started by sub-par performers?

The answer should be obvious.

A process for solving performance problems and then moving on has to be established and implemented. Sound harsh? In today’s marketplace, if you have too many sub-par performers, your entire organization might not be around too long. That would be bad news for you and everyone on your team.

So move fast. Make your decision.

Brooks_Will-Formal-168x195About the Author

As Executive Vice President and Director of Marketing for The Brooks Group, Will draws on his leadership, marketing, sales management, and sales experience to help develop and execute the company’s overall growth strategy. He has worked with more than 100 companies—across a wide variety of industries—giving salespeople professional selling skills to help eliminate buyer frustration. Learn more at or follow Will on Twitter @TheBrooksGroup.