Move On or Hang On?
A lot of the chatter on Sales St. this week was about year end, but not the expected banter about closing the year strong or planning for next year. It was more about which team individual sales professionals are looking to be on; and from sales leaders, who they plan to have on their team going into what most believe (hope) will be a better year.
In some ways these two sides of the coin illustrate the disconnect or difference in the way reps and leaders view the profession, their roles and resulting approach.
Many leaders realize that they have people on the bus who don’t belong there, but they are reluctant to let them off at the next stop, thinking that it is worst to have a vacant territory. It is not. Coming from the “Hire slow, fire fast” camp, I have always believed there is greater risk in having someone who is either not capable or in whom I’ve lost confidence, in a territory than to have the territory vacant. This is why as a sales leader you should always be in interview and search mode; just like your pipeline, it easier to get rid of a dud, opportunity or rep, if you know you have other prospects, options or recruits ready.
So waiting for the new year to part company really doesn’t make sense if you are a sales leader. If the rep is so bad that you want him/her off the team, how much upside can they really provide in Q4? If you wait for the first of the year, you are not only going to have to allow for ramp up time, no matter how little may be required, but you will also have turmoil when you most want to foster teams. It is likely that you are already introducing new targets, new comp plans, maybe even new territories, why take on more at that time. Seems to me the best time to initiate a departure strategy and related actions is as soon as you realize that the rep is not a fit anymore, not long after you know the situation is far beyond salvage.
Reps are indicating that they are hanging to realize any yearend closes, “having worked on the deal for ever, I want to at least close it before I move on”. Others are waiting for yearend bonus, or some form of monetary reward they may (or may not) get. While this may be sound in a few instances, it is not for most. If you are basing your success on last minute deals based on budgetary cycles or other lunar driven events, you are truly “hanging on” rather than proactively driving business.
On the other hand let’s say you are a good rep and feel you are limited by your current organization, or feel that you have more to offer and gain elsewhere, you should still make the move now, rather than waiting. (There is the underlying assumption here that there is somewhere for you to move to.) If there is, it must be true that you see more potential, then why wait, if you look at it from a 12 – 18 month perspective, in most cases yes, you may leave a few shekels behind, but you will also set yourself up to make a whole bunch more by better positioning yourself in your new gig.
If you make your move based on opportunity rather than “timing”, you will be able to get those yearend closes at your new place, and at the same time tee things up for a great start to next year, I bet this will allow you to make up for what you may feel you leave behind and then some. So just as with the advice to the sales leaders, the time to make the move is when you know you can do better for you and your organization by moving on.
As with most thing in sales it is about the quality of the execution.
What’s in Your Pipeline?