When hiring salespeople, companies often look for top performers who can deliver high sales numbers. However, it’s not enough to hire great people and then leave them to their work. Even the most capable people need input, productive criticism, guidance and, when merited, praise from their managers.

Do you have a system for recognizing when an employee is struggling? Have you set up a mentorship program that pairs employees with colleagues for performance improvement?

In terms of managing a salesperson who seems to be in a slump, Inc. magazine contributor Tim Donnelly recommends putting him or her on a “sales diet”. The move may give them a chance to refocus their efforts, to step back from the bigger tasks and focus on some more manageable duties. Additionally, walk them through sales calls. This will allow both the manager and the employee to determine what needs attention and what their strengths are.

“Setting individual benchmarks can help put people on the right track to success, especially if you are forced to put sales staff on probation until performance improves,” Donnelly writes. “But it’s important to keep a balance between realistic goals and creating too much performance anxiety.”

Of course, the management and mentoring process can be much simpler if you have talented, top-quality employees to start with. As we teach through The Covenant Group’s programs, tieyou want to recruit the right talent with the skills and characteristics necessary for fulfilling a specific role in order to build your business and expand your company’s service capabilities.

In The Entrepreneurial Journey, I explain four lessons about human resource management: 

  1. Building a successful team requires a multi-faceted approach
  2. Rely not only on proactive management but also employing smart, skilled people
  3. Ensure you recruit the right talent for the position you need
  4. Do not hire for the position you think you can afford

As the book highlights, “many entrepreneurs make the mistake of hiring a low-stratum marketing assistant when what they really expect and need is someone capable of managing and executing a complex marketing strategy.”

Employees at different skill levels will serve at various strata – a higher-stratum role is more mentally demanding, while those lower down the chain are less strenuous – and it’s essential to make sure their capabilities and responsibilities match, otherwise you and the person’s colleagues could be left with the extra work. Admittedly, you may have to offer a higher salary to get someone who is able to perform the role’s tasks and functions, but the time you will save and the greater flexibility you will have will likely deliver a full return on your investment.