A well-oiled sales team is a direct product of a great sales leader. But what makes a great sales leader?
As a manager, you will truly become a hero in this field when they’re able to evaluate all the sellers on their team, recognize how those sellers thrive (and struggle), and then create unique plans of action for each of them individually.
If you lead a sales team and want to provide your sellers with more one-on-one support, but you’re not sure how to get started, you’re in the right place. In our previous article, we broke down how to mentor a beginning seller towards more success using techniques based on data, interpersonal skills, and manageable goals. This time, we’ll take a look at how to identify and overcome problem areas that you’re likely to find in a more tenured seller. We’ll show you how to use the data native to your sales tech stack in order to understand how your mid-level rep is developing, and how to adapt your leadership style to push this seller toward continued success.
Meet Sam, your seasoned, burnt out seller
Sam has been on your sales team for just over two years now. Typically, his performance has been moderate to good, with a lot of progression made over his time with your company, and even a couple of solid wins. Over the last three quarters, though, his performance has declined. And now he’s becoming frustrated. If Sam’s commitment continues to decline, his performance could suffer greatly, potentially manifesting in a negative attitude that could also have adverse effects on overall team morale.
How can you get Sam back on track?
Sam’s case is a little tricky on the surface. As far as a lot of the preliminary data goes, he’s still regularly completing activities and is even creating a sizable volume of opportunities — he just isn’t closing them. Watching his peers win deals left and right while he struggles has left Sam discouraged. As his manager, you’ll have to look deeper to get to the bottom of his performance issues.
Connecting to a detailed view of his work from a tool like Salesloft will give you the insights you need to see where Sam stacks up against your other sellers. Our Coaching page, for instance, lets you see whether or not Sam is poor, average, or excellent across a host of different variables. In his case, Sam is just above average in his percentage of positive replies. His outreach personalization is also pretty much on pace with his peers.
However, once we dive into the substance of Sam’s conversations, we see an out-of-control number of filler words and a significant drop in talk time during calls — especially compared to the team trend.
By working with Sam to reduce his reliance on filler words and improve the length and quality of his prospect calls, you can increase his confidence level in the pitch overall and lead towards the sort of success he’s always been capable of.
Finally, you should take a deeper look into where Sam is losing deals. These could be shortcomings like:
- Sam failing to involve the economic buyer — even though access to financial decision-making power is critical to the success of any deal
- Sam having too many single-threaded deals and an overall lack of information around specific prospect pain points
- Sam consistently working just one or two of his deals for the last 30 days, even though they are all set to close by the end of the month
Seeing these growth areas so clearly might be frustrating at first. But try not to throw in the towel on Sam just yet. Think of these not as red flags, but as coaching opportunities. Armed with this new information, you can craft the type of personalized plan that will help Sam re-engage with selling and find new strengths to carry him, and your company, forward.
It’s important as a sales manager to tread gently at first, with your seasoned but tired sellers. A direct confrontation might make them defensive and even more withdrawn. But putting the focus on the data takes any personal sting out of the feedback and provides a neutral, objective foundation for the conversation. By walking through the data together, you can lead these individuals on your team to recognize the patterns of their own behavior. Together, you can come up with a progress plan and start finding opportunities for wins worth celebrating.