infighting

Let the games begin!

Infighting among your sales reps can tank even the most well-oiled machine faster than you can say, “Step into my office please.”
Below is my quick-and-dirty advice for recognizing the causes and addressing the behaviors;

  • Don’t wait to confront the offenders; allow both of the squabbling parties to give you their side of the story separately, then bring them together and ask each for a commitment to work well together without fighting or taunting. Be very clear with them that you will be watching them.
  • Do be sure you’ve clearly communicated territories, account levels, performance expectations, commissions, lead distribution protocol, and administrative duties. Cantankerous behavior can often stem from fuzzy boundaries regarding what belongs to whom. Confusion over who should call on what customer can cause serious and irreparable damage to the team by setting up feuding lines.
  • Don’t tolerate whiners or salespeople who are constantly blaming others for their lack of performance. For these folks, 1. talk to them about their lack of accountability/crappy attitude and ask them what they’re going to do to improve their attitiude. Give them a set appointment for a follow up discussion, maybe 30-days out. 2. Document their action plan and deliver it to them. 3. meet with them again at the follow up meeting and review their action plan. Did they do what they said they’d do to clean up their act? If so; sit down again in another 30-days to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. If not; you can let them go for failure to perform. You gave them a chance to improve. They blew it. Weed them out.
  • Remember to be more flexible and more forgiving at the end of a quota period. Everyone is under a tremendous amount of pressure and fuses are shorter than usual. Do a little more hand-holding than you normally would.
  • Spend time getting to know each of your reps on a personal level. Getting to know what makes them tick can help you when you’re having to council them on their behavior.
  • Establish some kind of team revenue goals with a team reward. This can be especially beneficial in fostering cooperation within a straight-commission team, which tend to be a little short on camaraderie because of their nature.