How To Terminate A Sales Rep The Right Way

Published on Aug 29, 2019

Effective sales managers are responsible for hiring and retaining top-performers. They also have the duty of evaluating and terminating underperforming sales reps. While the process of firing someone may seem daunting, it can be made easier through proper planning, preparation and professionalism. If all efforts at improvement fail, here’s how to terminate a sales rep the right way.

With HireDNA, you can hire the best reps from the start, identify skills gaps and KPIs, and train your team to ensure your reps are aligned with your expectations. Contact Us

Is Termination Necessary?

The first step in determining if firing a rep is necessary is to understand your key performance metrics (KPIs) and assess the level of performance across your entire team including systems, processes, management. A sales force evaluation can help you identify KPIs, uncover skill gaps, and discover opportunities for future growth—while also identifying underperformers.

From there, you will need to identify the root cause of these limitations and how to improve them. Can your bottom 10% benefit from sales training? Are they coachable? Do they lack the proper motivation? Check out our blog post on How to Motivate Your Sales Team When Sales Are Down.

If your bottom performers do not possess the right skills for the role or do not improve with the proper training and coaching, it may be time to let them go. That’s the harsh reality of the sales environment.

The Costs of a Bad Hire

While terminating a sales rep can be a difficult job, it is sometimes an essential one. Poor performing reps can impact the efficiency and morale of the entire team and set your organization back financially. As per estimates, a bad sales hire can cost up to 50-75% of an employee’s annual salary.

What’s the cost of a bad sales hire for your organization? Find out with OMG’s sales hiring mistake calculator.

What Qualifies As A Bad Hire?

There are several red flags that can help you identify when a sales rep becomes a bad investment for your company. Look for these signs:

  • Constantly ranks in the bottom 20% of the sales team
  • Consistently fails to meet quota
  • Contributes zero or low potential leads to the organization
  • Consistently receives bad reviews
  • Does not participate in training programs

If your rep is showing any of these attributes, then it might be time to evaluate your sales employee and make a final decision.

Want to avoid the cost of a bad hire? Build a strong and promising sales team with HireDNA. Learn More

3 Steps To Fire A Sales Rep

A poorly executed termination can set the wrong precedent on how your firm deals with a firing situation, and it can also lower team morale. All of this can lead to a bad sales cycle and reduced ROI. That’s why it’s important to get the termination process right. To help, follow these three steps:

1. Analyze The Source Of The Problem

Sometimes, just highlighting the negative attributes of a sales rep isn’t enough. You have to dig in deeper. While an employee may seem unproductive on paper, there could be ways to understand and mitigate the lack of productivity and save the cost of hiring a new individual.

Before you let a team member go, make sure you’ve covered all your bases. Consider these questions:

Does This Individual Have A History Of Poor Performance?

If yes, then they probably slack on the job, and laying them off would be better than incurring losses every term. But if they’ve only recently started underperforming, then there might be a reason behind it which you, as a sales manager, should look into.

Assess if the employee has any personal issues and how long it might take them to recover from them. And lastly, run a risk analysis and consider if keeping this employee could potentially lead them to replicate past successes.

Could The Performance Be Improved With More Effort From My Side?

As a sales manager, the responsibility of your team’s performance falls on you. While it is important to hire the best talent, it is equally crucial to identify and mitigate weaknesses in your team before they become a threat.

Suppose you had an employee who started missing training sessions, but you let the behavior slide because their numbers were good. When such an employee stops showing growth, their lack of productivity also reflects on your ability to manage the team. Ask yourself if prompting and active effort from your side can rectify the situation.

Need help with training and onboarding your employees to increase team efficiency and employee retention? Set up a consultation with HireDNA.  Learn More

Is The Poor Performance A Consequence Of An Organizational Change?

Has your organization has gone through any sort of corporate restructuring, like the following:

  • Change in management
  • Mergers
  • Change in salary plans
  • Acquisitions, etc.

This could be a major contributor to the downhill performance of your employees. Always take pre-emptive measures to deal with such a situation and ensure that your team is ready to accept forthcoming changes.

2. Make Your Termination Process Transparent

We cannot stress enough: do not surprise the employee. Dismissals can be hard to deal with even if your rep does anticipate it. If an employee is blindsided, it could lead to a feeling of distrust in the organization and imply that anyone can be terminated without prior cause.

To avoid this, make sure your termination process is transparent and that a poor performing employee knows what’s coming their way and why. You can do this by conducting constant appraisals and making sure that the rep is notified of their bad performance and is duly warned. This can help you in two ways:

  • It can motivate the employee to work harder to stay on-board
  • It can set a good precedence for other team members

3. Do Not Demonstrate Emotions

Terminations can be emotional. Their show of emotion can potentially trigger yours as well. But, if there’s one thing you should do before sitting down with an employee to terminate them, it’s to leave emotions at the door.

There are instances where the dismissed individual can become visibly angry or even resort to verbally expressing anger toward the sales manager. Just make sure this does not lead you to take irrational steps. It also helps to have an HR or legal representative present during the meeting to effectively deal with unexpected events.

Hire the Right Sales Talent

Finding quality talent is the first step to hiring the right people for the job and minimizing the risk of bad hires. And if you’re terminating a sales rep, you’ll want to replace them as soon as possible with an individual who is ready to perform. By working with the sales recruitment experts at HireDNA, you can do just that.

With a range of science-backed tools, we can identify the right talent for your sales team and assess each candidate thoroughly to ensure that they’re the best fit for your organization.

Why Choose Us?

We offer:

  • 92% success rate
  • Hiring mistakes eliminated up to 96%
  • Data pool containing information of 1.8m pre-assessed candidates

Are you ready to hire the right candidate for the job?

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