Will you need to fire sales people during a sales turnaround assignment?
Firing staff during a sales turnaround may be necessary but that depends on the people.
The decision to dismiss or retain sales people and support staff during a sales consulting assignment is dictated by the people...not on the assignment.
Our position on firing staff is that we are in the business of keeping talent...not losing it. In a simple sales environment, sales people typically can do the job if:
1. They have the right attitude.
2. They have an absolute belief in the product or service they are selling.
3. Their life experience allows them to have intelligent and natural conversations with prospects.
We can't change their attitude. That is up to them. Are they positive-minded, energetic, and enthusiastic? Do they genuinely have an attitude of servitude for their potential customer? Do they care about the company, their manager, and their ultimate success? Do they hold themselves accountable for their own results.
Do they truly believe in the product or service, or is it just a job? Sometimes we can sell them so they can have conviction in their offering, and sometimes we can't.
#3 falls into the "bad fit" category. Sometimes sales people have 1.) The right attitude and 2.) Genuine belief in the offering, but they really are a fish out of water when representing the company's product to the prospect. This causes them to force the conversation, and produces really bad results.
We ask three questions of every person we interact with:
1.) Are they committed to excellence?
2.) Can I trust them?
3.) Do they care about the company?
Assuming the answer is yes to these three questions, we will always try to save their job. Sales managers sometimes forget that they are people builders and they have a responsibility to develop their talent.
Besides, the best and most loyal sales people they will ever have are those that they took the time to nurture and grow. For an outstanding example on building the talent within, check out this article about how a sales rep named Michael blossomed to become a superstar.(opens in new window)