7 Ways to Help Reps Who Have a Hard Time Meeting their Sales Quota

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the Attention team

If one of your sales reps is consistently underperforming, it may be time for an intervention. Here are 7 ways to help struggling sales reps bounce back and start meeting quota again.

1. Ask the sales rep to describe their own progress

Speaking with a sales rep who is failing to make quota can be awkward for both parties. Asking them to describe their own progress and self-assess can help you glean important information without making the rep feel alienated. For example, the sales rep may share details that illuminate how much they really know about sales or whether they are motivated to improve. Does the rep’s conception of areas that need improvement align with your evaluation of the rep’s performance? A fruitful discussion will involve questions on both sides, so encourage them to ask questions back. Having these kinds of conversations are important to get an idea of the direction your assistance will take as you help the sales rep boost their skills. 

2. Track performance and assess the rep's development over time

The key to identify areas for improvement is to track the sales rep’s progress over time. Does the sales rep completely lack an understanding of certain concepts, or is the sales rep just in need of supplementary training? Consistent practice is key to retaining skills learned in the initial training sessions. Is the person in question making common sales mistakes like not doing enough research or asking the wrong questions? Progress is not necessarily linear for some reps, and it’s important to identify what core concepts they may be having a hard time grasping early on. Measuring and analysing your reps’ performance over time will be much easier with software like Attention. Attention helps sales reps identify areas for improvement and provides live coaching to help them go from barely meeting quota to becoming top-sellers

3. Don’t turn a blind eye to your own leadership skills

Are you doing everything you can to help members of the team who are lagging behind? Have you provided sufficient resources for them to continue improving and growing in their sales abilities? If yes, the issue might be a question of fit. Sometimes, reps may have difficulties with particular styles of communication or leadership. Does the rep’s learning style clash with your usual way of managing the team? If the rep shows promise and motivation, have a discussion with them about whether there is anything else you can do to help them make progress and start meeting quota again. If you disagree with their approach, articulate why you can’t meet their expectations. Sometimes, fundamental differences won’t end in compromise. But asking sales reps for feedback shows you are approachable, ready to listen, and committed to helping every member of the team grow. 

4. Offer additional training opportunities

Additional training opportunities can, in many cases, help an underperforming rep make a swift comeback. Practice makes perfect, and a few more coaching sessions ensures they are practicing efficiently by targeting the specific skills that need finessing. Creating peer-support groups or organizing after-hours group coaching sessions can help the team as a whole work on weak areas, and will encourage sales reps to share best practices with each other. 

Want to offer personalized feedback but short on time? Sales software can help you manage the need for additional training sessions. Attention gives sales reps the individualized feedback they need to improve and meet their sales goals. 

5. Upgrade their practices 

Does the rep lack discipline and organizational skills necessary to succeed in their role as a sales representative? Has the transition to working remotely affected the rep’s productivity? Take steps to help your team adjust to their new remote working context, and encourage top-sellers to share advice on remaining focused and efficient throughout the work year. Sometimes, a lapse in performance may be due to a personal issue in the rep’s life. Lead by example: remind the sales rep of the importance of keeping an organized schedule that allows for a healthy work-life balance. 

6. Create an action-plan

After analyzing the rep’s situation through the aforementioned steps, work with the rep to create an action-plan for improvement. This will offer them guidance throughout their journey. Including a timeline in your plan will clarify expectations on both ends, and reassure the rep that change doesn’t have to happen overnight. Encourage them to continue sharing their progress during regular meetings, and applaud any concrete advancements. 

While some leeway may be necessary, encourage the rep to stick to the plan to the best of their abilities. If the rep continues to drastically underperform in spite of the additional assistance, it may be time to encourage them to take on a different role, or switch to an organization that would be better able to assist them on their sales journey.

7. Think about whether quota relief makes sense

Is the sales rep who is failing to make quota an anomaly within the team, or representative of a broader trend? If the sales rep’s experience is not unique, your team’s experience may be an early indication of an upcoming slump period for the sales sector in general. If the economy is the issue, quota relief may offer temporary psychological relief for an overworked team. One more thing: if you do provide quota relief, be sure to clarify the rationale behind your decision to the team. You don’t want them getting too comfortable with the idea and assuming it’s an excuse to slack on performance. So highlight the work of sales reps who do manage to continue meeting targets or at least manage to outperform their peers in order to inspire the team to keep moving forward.

To conclude, remember that offering personalized support, additional training, and using technological tools are your best bet to improving the performance of sales reps. Attention’s AI tools can help track important metrics such as overall engagement and help sales reps spark interest in prospects by coaching them to lead dynamic and informative conversations. Find out more about how Attention can help your reps exceed targets today.

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