I would have had a conversation with my high performing sales people prior to this meeting to give them a heads up of what I was doing, why it was important and than explain to them the importance of everyone following the same instructions. I would also explain how they would be helping me by not fighting the process because when others see a high performer follow suit easily the rest follow as well.
If this salesman is really his top seller, then there really shouldn’t be a need to see his records. If he’s successful and good for the company’s image, leave him alone. Top sellers usually are difficult to deal with on some level because they are confident and know their worth. The salesman likely thinks that suddenly his sales manager doesn’t trust him. He is also not a fan of ‘busy work’ because it doesn’t make him any money. At the same time I understand the sales manager’s desire to keep his finger on the pulse of his customer base. He needs to take his top salesman aside and explain to him that it’s not his performance that he is concerned with but he needs him to adhere to the same policies as the rest of the team so there isn’t a perceived unfair bias toward him. The sales manager needs to stroke his ego by suggesting he show the under-performing salesman how its done and turn in a big call log at the end of each week.
The manager must sell his idea to his people. Tell them how and why they will be better off if this plan will be adopted. Otherwise the plan is doomed before he even starts to implement it.
This situation could be flipped on its head potentially and use it to lift the ego of this salesman. You could tell him that by doing a report it could help the rest of the sales team to get to his level if they used his approach to the job. A possible win-win if he bites and his weekly activities help the other salespeople improve.
I would suspend him for a week, then see if he came to his senses.
“Make me” with a lot of questions without having the details. But so many times policies like that are implanted as a blanket policy when 80% of the salesmen are doing a great job but the management is too spineless to deal with the 20% that are the slackers. I have seen this time and time again. It’s a fact that top performing employees like and prefer clear, concise job descriptions, guidelines and expectations without being micromanaged. But if you want to destroy a top performing employee then implement a policy that gets in his way. Personally if you don’t trust your salesman enough without such micromanagement you have one of two things wrong: A, you have the wrong salesman, or B, you have the wrong sales manager that has not trained his team properly. Top performing employees are no different than a top performing race car. You need to keep the gas tank full of high octane gas, clean air filters, the best tires etc. You never see the race cars’ owners or sponsors shoot the tires or shoot a hole in the gas tank, but managers do it to employees all the time. And that is exactly what the manager did to this salesman; he shot another hole in his bucket. That manager obviously didn’t read the book “How Full is Your Bucket?”
Don’t tell me what until you have told me why, and if you can’t convince me with the why then rethink the what…together. If you have to mandate something, then you usually have not done enough of the why or got the what completely wrong.
Otago & Southland, NZ
Manager should have got input from staff rather than just telling everyone they need weekly plans.
Had a situation like this with a service manager. He was a key person in the group and were changing reporting requirements. I invited him out of the office for coffee and as calmly as possible I explained why we were asking hi to do something different, not necessarily more but different, as the company was making changes that the market was driving. I made it clear that it was not a reflection on him, and we were going forward with the changes, with or without him. I stressed all employees had to make changes; he was not singled out but if he did not get on board he was gone. Tough, but the company was prepared to “choose who you lose”. He grumbled, complained to anyone who would listen and quit in a week going to a competitor. The other employees stepped up and closed the gap and within a month were able to compensate for his absence. It turned out that he was thought of as a “key” man but in reality, he was a damper on others due to his overbearing nature. We survived and thrived and within 8 months he left the job he went to. I heard via the grapevine that he could not adapt to the new organization and was in continuous conflict about doing things his way.
From experience I can tell you that at first making a weekly plan seems unnecessary especially to a top performing salesperson! However in due time if he wants to do more, it will be a necessary step to be organized etc. as well as much more likely to do a task of it is written down! Sometimes the best move is no move at all here for the sales manager! If the rest of the staff takes to this action of making a weekly report in due time, salesman will see the benefits taking shape from others and give it a try him/herself!
So much is missing in this scenario. What is the sales performance month over month? Is this a top performer being selfish with his or her time or a low performer attempting to hide? Does the sales manager desk jockey his role or does he ride with his reps and understands the account manager’s approach? Need more information but if it’s a top performer then this is a management issue and if it’s a low performer this is a remediation opportunity.
San Diego, CA