A good friend (and top sales executive) and I were having an interesting conversation this morning. One of his regional VP's was having great difficulty with one of the organization's top sales people. We were talking about what to do about the sales person.
The issue was that the sales person was refusing to have anything to do with the company's CRM system. Despite constant reminders (accompanied with training, etc.) the sales person would not update the CRM system. The sales person would do some nominal updates, but not provide the information expected of each sales person in managing the CRM system. In conversations with the RVP, the sales person would always say, I'm one of your top producers, why don't you just leave me alone and let me sell. The CRM system is a waste of my time.
My friend and I were discussing how the issue should be handled. While it might sound crazy, I suggested the sales person's manager have a serious discussion, put him on a 90 day plan to get the sales person into compliance, provide coaching and training to help the sales person meet the standards management had set for performance. If at the end of the 90 day period, the sales person was still not meeting expectations, the sales person should be terminated.
Many managers face this issue, it may not be about the CRM system, it can be any other issue, but if your top revenue producers fail to meet performance expectations, they should be terminated --- like any other sales person who does not meet performance expectations.
I'm a bit hard nosed about this, but great performance with sales people is not just revenue production. We have other expectations for performance from sales people: Expense management, team work with others in the organization, customer satisfaction, price/margin management, and, yes, paperwork and administration.
Management should define performance expectations in a way that focus on building the business and has eliminated all non value add elements. These expectations are built on executing the strategies and priorities of the organization. They are based on the culture and expected behaviors of the organization. And, inevitably, Hopefully, these expectations truly define what management expects of performance and behavior of all people in the organization.
If the performance management system/process does not reflect management's expectations of performance and behavior, then they system needs to be fixed. When people don't meet performance expectations, it is the manager's responsibility to identify the performance deficiencies and to coach the person in meeting expectations. However, if the person fails to meet performance expectations, despite all coaching and training, the person needs to be terminated.
If we don't hold our people accountable for meeting performance expectations, then we have no performance management system in place. No one is excepted from this---including the top revenue producers. Great sales performance is never one dimensional, we need to make sure our sales people are performing on all dimensions.
I went further in my discussion with my friend. I suggested if his RVP was not holding his people accountable for meeting performance expectations, then his RVP was failing in his performance. Perhaps it was time to coach the RVP on managing performance.
Am I being too hard nosed in my views?