How to avoid sales underperformance

An underperforming sales rep can be problematic, but that doesn’t mean you need to begin the dismissal process. All is not lost, and there are specific actions you can take to avoid sales underperformance that gets your reps on track while achieving sales targets. Here, we’re looking at how to correct sales underperforming and even prevent it altogether. 

How to avoid sales underperformance in a nutshell

  • Look at the data
  • Sales training
  • Look within first
  • Rep self-evaluation

Place importance on the data

Look at the data before making any firm decisions about what to do or how to coach your underperforming sales reps. Examine call records, the number of generated leads, lead to close ratio and contact points to see if you can spot anything abnormal that may explain why a rep is struggling. Essentially, you should take a deeper look into your sales reporting tools to find the answers. 

You may discover that a rep is underperforming because their efforts aren’t focused on the right targets. Eg, are they spending too much time trying to retain current business instead of spreading it evenly with new prospects? It may be a case of tweaking their process slightly to see better long-term results. 

Provide regular sales training

Onboarding typically contains plenty of information about your sales process and how reps should go about closing business. But what happens once they’re onboarded? Is there an ongoing learning culture, or do they get comfortable and fall into a routine? 

You can prevent poor performances by providing regular sales training to keep your reps fresh and positively challenge them. And if you do have frequent sales training, regularly review it to see where you can make improvements and keep things fresh. 

Be clear with expectations

What are you like as a leader? Do you provide clear and transparent targets for your team? Do they understand what you want? Being able to effectively communicate your expectations is an important part of a sales team achieving its goals. 

Reps should understand what you require of them. That doesn’t mean you need to micro-manage, but before you question a reps’ performance, you must ensure that you’ve communicated expectations and they fully understand your requirements. 

Help reps self evaluate

Sitting down with reps and self-evaluating has two primary benefits. It can prevent sales underperformance or get them on the right track if they’re not meeting expectations. Going over sales KPIs quarterly, at least, can have a significant positive impact. 

Reps will feel more comfortable with your management style if you can have a friendly, open and honest conversation. Plus, they’ll never need to second guess what expectations you have of them as everything will be clear and out in the open. 

Meeting targets head-on

Some of your reps will inevitably underperform at some stage, but it doesn’t mean you can’t salvage the situation. With the right steps, you can avoid underperformance or even turn low-performing reps into efficient deal closers that help keep your business reach its targets.  

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