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How Managers Can Bring Their Bottom Sales Performers to the Top

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In the business world, sales goals are becoming more and more competitive, and the pressure on sales professionals has never been greater. Typically, in any given office, you’ll have about 10% of your team at the top performance level, about 70% at average performance, and a bottom 20% who struggle.  As a manager, it’s part of your job to get your lower performing sales representatives’ performance up. Here are a few ways you can work to improve the performance of your bottom sales performers:


Evaluate sales

First, you should look at the sales numbers so that you can use that data to communicate to them where they are underperforming. You can do this by using a sales performance management software, like Salesforce, which collects sales data and allows you to analyze it. Of course, you could also do this by hand, if you don’t want to shell out for a program. By having the numbers in front of you, you can define exactly where your employee is missing the mark and hopefully give them the insight necessary to help increase their future sales. Using actual data to communicate to your employee is much more effective than vague encouragement or criticism, and it helps prevent miscommunications.


Pinpoint the Issue

You may have easily figured out, according to the data, what stage of the process is giving your sales rep trouble. Maybe it’s a matter of resources. From there, you could address it accordingly, solve the problem, and it would be simple. Often though, this isn’t the case. Sometimes the problem may be a lack of motivation from your employee. In this scenario, it’s helpful to delve deeper into what is really going on with your sales member. Hopefully they will open up to you about their challenges, but you may encounter resistance. Try to ask them whether they feel they’re being given the tools to succeed, or if something specific is holding them back. Maybe the issue is that they see favoritism present in the office, or that they don’t feel they’re getting fair pay. They may even feel they don’t have adequate skills necessary to succeed in the sales quotas set out for them. Too often, your employee is simply feeling discouraged or apathetic because they don’t feel recognized for their work. Positive reinforcement can go a long way in that case. As far as whatever else they feel is holding them back, there’s often space to work with them on improving.



Much of the time, your employees simply need more training to perform at the expected level. It’s up to professionals within management positions to track which employees require more training and work with them accordingly. Try to define the areas in which your employee lacks confidence or expertise, and target those areas with solid training. This training could go so far as funding their visit to a conference, or be as simple as giving them industry blogs to learn from. This will vary case-to-case and based on your budget. One smart way to tackle this is to partner a bottom sales performer up with a top performer so they can get a firsthand view of their successful habits. Once you’ve identified which area of the sales process is challenging your lower performer, you can set up a time for them to shadow someone who excels in that area.



Check in to see if you’re setting your employees up for success from the start. Generally speaking, salespeople have to slowly earn the trust of their clients. One way to help move this along is to utilize content marketing. Through producing the right content, you build trust with clients and prospects which will help ensure more sales. Sometimes underperforming salespeople are just not being given the right resources needed to succeed. Try to support them through connecting marketing and sales, setting them up for success.


Often, underperforming employees can be a reflection of lack of management, and usually there are many ways to work on improvement. Whatever the reason for their low performance, managers must ensure their employees are being supported so that the sales team can perform to the best of their abilities. By using these tips, you can do due diligence to set each team member up for success.