With all the advances in science, medicine, science 2.0, medicine 2.0, there is still a condition that plagues sales, causing grief and lost revenues to companies across the planet. The illness is “Senior Personitis”.
Depending on your organization, this could inflict you staff as early as a year into the job, or it could take five years or more, but for most sales organization, it is just a question of time before members of your team come down with this sick, and your revenue show the symptoms.
We see it every day, reps who feel they have “earned the right” not to do certain must do things in sales. Most common of these is prospecting, but there are other things including keeping the information in their CRM up-to-date.
You have to give them credit, they don’t bother getting creative in making excuses, they just flat out tell you that they have “arrived” at the point in their career where they don’t have to do that. What’s even more amusing for me, tragic for their employer, is that most of the time these reps are chronic under performers. Not deadly, but usually between 70% – 80% of goal, yet refuse to take logical steps to up their game or their out put. Nothing a little process, discipline, coaching won’t fix.
Which brings us to their enabled and accomplice, their Manager. Recently I was speaking with a sales manager recently, when I floored by what he said about one of his under performing reps; when we got around to his prospecting (more accurately the lack of it), he said “he’s earned the right not to prospect”. Please!
What, he has earned the right not to contribute to the success of the company, he has earned the right to be paid for work he is not doing, he has earned the right occupy space that could be occupied by someone productive? I don’t see it.
Many mangers are in fear of offending someone that is doing little more than playing concierge to their accounts. Fearing that if they “lost” the rep they would somehow be behind, the vacant territory syndrome. Ask me, they would be better off with a vacant territory than having these under performers who are likely not aware of opportunities in their existing accounts, and have declared their right not to bring on new prospects.
There is a remedy, the logical one is fire them, but I know that’s not fashionable these days. If you don’t have it in you to do the right thing, you can re-establish expectations around the activity in question, develop a mutually agreed on plan, including targets, timelines, metrics and review process. This needs to yield results in a predictable time or you run the risk of communicating the wrong message to the rest of your team, which is “with seniority comes the freedom not to deliver”. Not one of the points on the “Mission Statement” poster in the lobby, is it?
What’s in Your Pipeline?
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