3 years ago
January 7, 2015

Sales Managers: Eliminate The Weakest Links On Your Sales Team‏

Weak links on a sales team can derail your sales team’s success. Here’s why and how you should eliminate the weakest links on your sales team.

Rhys Metler

sales managers eliminate weakest link on sales teamWeak links on a sales team can derail your sales team’s success. Poor results, missed quotas, and lost momentum are serious issues that can escalate rapidly when weak links are permitted to endure, and the stronger links on your sales team can only accommodate for a limited time before they, too, start to become weaker. Because of these impacts sales managers rarely have trouble identifying the weak links on their sales teams, but when it comes to addressing a weak link few sales managers act quickly enough to mitigate the harm. Here’s why and how you should eliminate the weakest links on your sales team.

How Weak Links Destroy Your Sales Team

While in sales weak links are often perceived as those who are not contributing strong sales numbers, sales managers should be aware that a weak link can also be a person who is performing at an acceptable level but devaluing the efforts of others on the sales team through negative behaviors such as gossip, bad-mouthing, or outright sabotage. Although weak sales numbers are the first problem in most sales managers’ minds when considering the issues created by a weak link, a weak link’s damage to the sales team can reach far deeper:

  • Team morale sinks under the pressure of a weak link with a negative or hostile attitude, taking sales numbers down with it.
  • Tolerating a weak link who is creating additional work and stress for stronger team members can lead to resentment against the sales manager who allows the situation to continue.
  • Top sales people are attracted to open positions for many reasons, including a positive working environment of like-minded peers – a difficult, if not impossible, environment to create when a weak link is proliferating.

Eliminate A Weak Link Before the Sales Chain Fails

Though the wish to avoid conflict often leads to sales managers tolerating weak links, the truth is that weak links are already creating conflict. The best solution is to remove the source of conflict through immediate coaching, and when that fails, separation. Quick action minimizes the damage to the rest of the sales team, and allows the entire team to move forward. Experienced and new sales managers alike may find it difficult to separate a weak link, but this process is frequently the most effective solution to an already difficult situation. You can further limit the repercussions of eliminating a weak link with these best practices for separation: 

  • Though as a sales manager it is your decision and responsibility to separate, it’s a good idea to have either a representative from human resources or another sales manager attend as a witness to the discussion.
  • Keep feelings out of the conversation. Although you may feel badly about the separation, and the employee almost surely does, separations are simply a matter of business.
  • Plan ahead of time the process for allowing the employee to collect personal items, complete paperwork for human resources, and perform other tasks related to the separation.

Rebuild Your Sales Team Without the Weak Link

A sales manager’s work continues after a weak link has been eliminated, since the recently separated link must be replaced with a better performing team member. One of the worst mistakes sales managers can make when navigating this task is hiring another weak link; the damage to sales team morale alone from such an occurrence can take months to repair. Be sure that you are hiring a strong link for your sales team by enlisting the assistance of a professional sales recruiting firm that can source, analyze, and qualify a top performer for your organization, and help you avoid hiring weak links in the future.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.