Getting Senior Sales Reps Back on Track

Blog thumbnail

Getting Senior Sales Reps Back on Track

Blog thumbnail

Cowboys aren’t a thing of the past. In fact, you are likely to find them on every sales team.

These are folks who refuse to follow the rules, may never log into their CRM, but produce so much it is difficult to fire them.

Unfortunately, these are also the biggest headaches of many sales managers. Junior salespeople wonder why they are held to different standards than senior reps, and in an effort to model that cowboy’s results, junior team members will often model inappropriate behavior.

Whether you are on a team with a cowboy or you’re managing them, knowing what to do with sales cowboys will be critical in ensuring you and your team continues to produce results.

To learn how we can deal with sales cowboys, we sat down with Steve Weinberg, recipient of a $1 million dollar commission and author of Above Quota Sales Management. He dove into a chapter in his new book to show us how sales managers and team members can deal with the cowboys in their sales corral.

Because we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.

T – Trigger: To trigger a system on how we deal with cowboys, Steve said that managers need to understand the problem that Cowboys cause: they take up a lot of time in damage control. Often, they will promise things that the delivery team can’t deliver and will make promises throughout the sales process that can’t be scaled across the company.

Additionally, newer salespeople will often imitate the conduct of the cowboys on the team in the hopes that those strategies and tactics will work for them. Because they don’t have the experience of the cowboys, these efforts will often cause more harm than good.

Ultimately, sales managers are forced to deal with cowboys if those cowboys are causing more harm than good on the team. That, Steve says, is really when to trigger this system.

R – Repeatable: To make this process repeatable, Steve recommends managers first begin by talking to the cowboys on their team. Ask them to stop doing the things that are hurting the team and the company, and to start doing the things that the rest of the reps are held accountable to accomplish.

Second, if those cowboys revert to their prior ways, note it is because they believe their way of doing business is essential to their success, even if it will damage the company long-term. It likely isn’t malicious.

Third, ask the other managers and leaders on the team to have conversations with the cowboys as well, so they understand the request to change is not just coming from a single leader.

Fourth, provide your cowboys more latitude in how you allow them to operate and get back on track, because they are producing – that’s what makes them a cowboy! Under performing salespeople may require micromanagement, but that is the last thing your cowboys will tolerate.

Fifth, when multiple leaders and executives are being harmed by the way your cowboys are doing business, it means those leaders and executives aren’t spending time in their primary roles. That is a clear sign for you, according to Steve, that this cowboy needs to be replaced.

Sixth, build a plan for how you will keep up production as much as possible while hiring and onboarding a replacement. Keep in mind the benefits of letting a cowboy go: you will be able to spend more time coaching others instead of doing damage control.

Finally, as someone leading team members or as a team member on a team with a cowboy, focus on what the cowboy is doing right and go over it with your teammates and leadership to ensure that you are modeling success and confirming that this cowboy’s best practices are worth emulating.

I – Improvable: To improve the system, Steve recommends not hiring cowboys in the first place. This will ensure that you don’t have to spend the time doing damage control. Next, Steve says we can improve the system by putting methods in place to ensure salespeople never become cowboys once they are on the team. Identify what the early signs are that you are nurturing a cowboy and nip those actions in the bud.

M – Measurable: To measure the effectiveness of how well you are managing and eliminating cowboys on your team, Steve says to measure how you are using your time as a leader. Are you spending more time with cowboys doing damage control or focusing on other producers?
cowboys may be an inevitable part of the sales industry, but it doesn’t mean they have to prevent us from selling and serving more!

Hit Enter to search or Esc key to close