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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

3 Ways to Determine if You Should Invest in Poor Performers

3 Ways to Determine if You Should Invest in Poor Performers

Trigger Warning... If you get easily offended by brutally honest feedback that might seem harsh and mean, you might want to skip today's blog post.

Ok, now; that we've gotten that out of the way, here's that brutally honest and possibly mean content:

You should NOT invest resources into poor-performing salespeople!

Yep, I said it, you know it's true, but it does sound a little harsh, mean. The reality is that poor performers almost always either stay poor performers or end up leaving one way or the other.  (Yes, there are exceptions. I'm sure you have one or two examples, but don't base sales strategy on exceptions; we base it on majorities.)

Once you decide to not invest your time, training, and money into poor-performing salespeople, you can then focus those same resources on your top-performing, rock-star account executives.The 5-Point Poor Performance Analyzer

 These rock-star AEs will help you grow revenue, hit budget, and increase the overall performance of your sales team. It's amazing how top performers appreciate it when you realize that the poor performers are performing poorly and do something about it. They've known for weeks, months, and years that the poor performers need to go and are thrilled that you finally have come to the same conclusion.

How to Determine if a Salesperson is a Poor Performer

So, the question is when do you decide if a salesperson is truly a poor performer that you should stop investing in them.  

Here are three ways to determine if you should label a salesperson a "poor performer" and stop investing in them.

1. Do they have Talent?

Do they have a natural talent to be a top-performing salesperson?

Of course, to know if they have natural talent, you need to have an unbiased, scientific talent assessment.  

A sales talent assessment is an incredible tool that not only allows you to hire only the best, most talented salespeople but also to evaluate your current account executives. (Shameless Plug: The Center for Sales Strategy has a wonderful assessment tool that you should look at.)  

So, if you can objectively determine that a poor-performing rep does have talent, then you should keep investing resources in them.

How To Immediately Improve A Salesperson’s Performance

2. Are they "new"? 

How long has this salesperson been on your staff?

 If they don't have natural talent and are still struggling after 3 to 6 months, then it's probably time to stop investing in them.  

However, if they have talent and have been with your company less than a year, then you should continue to invest in their success. Talented salespeople are hard to find, so you want to make sure that you are doing everything in your power to help them become the rock-star salesperson that you believe them to be.

3. Do they have "GRIT"?

If you haven't read the book "Grit" by Angela Duckworth, you should. It's a fantastic book on what makes some individuals succeed, while others fail.

 In the book, Duckworth says, "..that grit is a combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal—is the hallmark of high achievers..."  

Grit is the "it" factor that some people have, but everyone wants. If you have a poor performer that has it, hold on to them, and provide them the resources they need to succeed. If they don't, it's time to stop investing in them and see what happens.


It may sound harsh, even mean, but trust me, you will not only create a culture of high performers, but you will also be able to weed out poor performers quicker. And that is the kindest and most productive thing you can do for everyone.

Talent Insight

Topics: sales performance sales talent assessment