It might seem like a classic case of “biting the hand that feeds you,” but believe it or not, your best move – for the good of your sales team and your entire organization – might be to fire your top sales rep. What? Cut loose the one person who brings your company the most revenue? That’s crazy! And yet, if your strongest salesperson is also your team’s weakest link, it might be your best, or even your only, logical move. Here’s why:
There’s No “I” in Team
Every dysfunctional team has at least one “problem child” – someone who defies the team culture and holds tight to their “me first” attitude. Sometimes, this is the same person who closes the most deals and brings in the top sales revenue quarter after quarter. But is that person also sowing such discord that the rest of your team suffers? Do they incite an “us versus them” mindset that keeps your sales team from reaching its potential? It’s certainly possible, and taking a hard course of corrective action is not as uncommon as you might think.
In fact, a recent Aberdeen Group research study of more than 240 sales organizations revealed that “best-in-class” companies are 36% more likely (60% vs. 44%) than other organizations to terminate a top performer due to non-sales issues. What’s more, 54% (vs. a 29% industry average) of these companies base part of the salesperson’s financial compensation on behavioral components.
Recognizing a Disruptive Influence
The “problem child” salesperson is typically a rule breaker: someone who thinks rules exist only to keep others in line. But your sales processes are a set of rules. Aren’t your procedures necessary to make sales manageable and trackable and repeatable? And what about your CRM? Your rule breaker may defy loading data into your tracking system to improve your sales operation. What kind of example does that set for others?
Your disruptive sales leader might also be a lone wolf. This is someone who doesn’t play nice with others. One who looks out only for their own interests and looks for ways to boost their sales, even at the expense of achieving overall team sales goals.
Worse yet, this person also is most likely an egotist – a prima donna with a sense of entitlement. Someone with a supercharged ego and an inflated view of their own importance who believes they don’t have to be part of a team as long as they lead the team in sales.
Tolerating the bad behaviors of a rule-breaking, lone wolf, egotistical salesperson – even your top salesperson – tells your sales team that short-term individual results matter more than long-term cohesion and big-picture team performance.
Cutting the Cord and Finding High-Quality Sales Candidates
So, what can you do if you find your sales team’s culture has become intolerably dysfunctional due to a disruptive top performing salesperson? If you’ve tried corrective action and decided that behavioral issues cannot be tolerated even if sales results are good, it’s probably time to cut the cord and terminate your top salesperson.
The good news is that you might not have to take as much of a “hit” to your sales results as you think. This is for two reasons: first, your other sales team members will probably perform better once the disruptive outlier is gone; second, you can likely recruit a top sales performer quickly and easily by using a dedicated sales talent acquisition resource.
At Breakaway Sales Recruiting, for example, we place sales candidates that deliver revenue results. Guaranteed.
Your Breakaway talent manager works with your Outsourced VP of Sales to help you determine what type of sales performer will benefit your organization. Breakaway makes finding high-quality sales candidates easier by utilizing an in-depth process guided by a dedicated talent manager. That manager works with your organization and your Outsourced VP of Sales to profile the ideal candidate profile to provide the right fit for your team.
Your dedicated talent manager will then spend up to 2 hours with each candidate conducting a customized behavioral assessment to reveal both their behavioral profile and sales skillset, including simulation evaluations of key components of the position. In other words, we can identify behavioral red flags (the rule breaker, lone wolf or egoist, for example) before they impact your sales team culture.
Breakaway provides three qualified candidates per position and does so within a few weeks of receiving the request. And we don’t confine our search to candidates who are actively pursuing open positions; rather, we also seek out top sales talent that are currently employed. By going deeper than traditional sales recruiting, we factor in experience, qualifications, team chemistry and many other critical components – all while taking the burden of recruiting off you and your team.
So, what was that guarantee all about? We guarantee you will make a hire and if, for any reason, that hire is not still with your organization in 90 days, the candidate is replaced for free.
So, don’t tolerate a bad influence on your sales organization just because you fear the short-term impact of your top performer’s lost sales. Take the longer view and recruit another top salesperson who is also a team player.