We often run into the question “how much time do we give a new salesperson to demonstrate success?” Almost always managers wait too long. Much of the problem lies in the hiring process. Too many organizations lack a hiring process and frankly, do not hire well.
But let’s assume you have a reasonable process and you are a few months into the employment of your new salesperson. Slowly and then quickly you begin to gradually see “little things” that make you wonder if this is a good fit for your organization. Does that sound familiar?
Here are some indicators that should ignite your warning lights. If you have too many of these occurring with your new, or even with your veteran salespeople, it may be time to “make them available to industry.”
The new hire seems to live in the past; they keep bringing up their last job. I have never been able to understand the lack of separation some salespeople suffer. If the last job so wonderful why did they leave? Maybe it wasn’t a voluntary departure? Suggesting some best practice from a previous employer is one thing, but continually talking about how wonderful it was back then is really annoying.
Your new hire doesn’t embrace his new industry or customer base. The first warning sign appears at the initial interview. If they haven’t done some research on your company and industry…shame on them. If a few weeks into the new job, they still are asking incredibly naïve questions, start a weekly quiz regimen. Show them where to find the information and then let them do their homework. If a couple weeks into this program you see little progress, you can correctly assume it will never get any better and you have a problem.
Their lack of performance is always someone else’s fault. Every now and again, even the best performers hit a slump. This group quickly blames competitor’s price cutting, a poor economy, inadequate sales collateral, customer service/support, it is everyone’s fault but theirs. If you only get excuses and no ideas or suggestions for improvement, it is another indication of time for a change.
“CRM? That never works!”
Assuming this is factually incorrect, there are still some salespeople who refuse to use your CRM program. They have all sorts of reasons and excuses. But, at the end of the day this is non-negotiable. If they refuse to use the software you have invested thousands of dollars in, they need to find an employer who will put up with their insubordination.
So, start paying attention to these warning signs. Keep your antennae up and if you spot this behavior; nip it in the bud.
If you have encountered some other signals; let me know.