One of the hardest calls you'll ever have to make as a sales manager, is whether to continue investing in a low performer, or to remove them from the team. Through my career, I've always had problems when you have an individual that's just not working out, what's the process you go through? Do you try to reset, retrain, move them to a different seat? What do you do to, that's in the best interest of that employee and the company? Too many times, I've made the mistake of, ''I know this person can do this, I'm going to help them through it, I want to push them through, I'm going to drag them through it.'' What turns out is, they are not happy, and they make everyone around them not happy. Whether it's expressed or not, people are looking at me, ''What kind of manager are you if you're allowing this to happen?'' That this person is the poison apple. So, you really do have to think that through and make decisions I think, briskly, when it comes to that. If you've got someone that's just, well, we thought it was going to work out, and it's not working out. The quicker you can take care of that situation, the better off that personally, the better off you'll be, and the better off the company will be. If you're faced with this decision, make sure you pay attention to the things that matter most. So, I talked about analyzing structures. So, put reps in need improvement. Normally, good at one area of the deal cycle, but are struggling in others. So, for instance, there's normally a split between people who are really good at opening doors, and people who are methodical in their approach to close them. So, when I say struggling reps, often it's because one of those two key areas is lagging behind. Then, we can analyze further into segments about where they struggle, where someone who is unsolvable is, when you invest time and resources into them, and you're not feeling like they're approaching the median, or main level of performance in your org. That's when you have to think about further courses of action in that case. If you fire someone solely based on their sales performance, you could be making a huge mistake. You need to pay attention to their attitude more than their outcomes. When you have someone that is exhibiting all the right activities, so they're following up, they're using sequences, you can listen to them on a call, and maybe they're not asking the right questions at the right time, then you can identify, here's a training and a coaching opportunity. This person got the right attitude and behaviors, they just lack a little bit of skill. My motto is, you hire for attitude, train for skill. Selling skills can be trained. So, we try to identify which ones should be coached and trained, and which one should not be there. It's important to note too that the performance of your top reps can suffer, as your company and target market evolve. You normally see that with someone that's been very successful selling apples, and now we've decided to sell oranges, and there's a different process for oranges. They remember how successful they were over here, they're unwilling to change the process. Not that they're not a great salesperson, they are. They're a great person, and they're great fit, and they're great company, they're great teammate. But if they can't make that change, that's difficult. In the IT world where I've come from, there was a shift from selling product to selling services, or selling premise-based versus Cloud-based, not everybody made that transition. That's for the tell, but some people were really comfortable selling a really cool product. I have them struggling selling a service in a different revenue model, in a different compensation model, everything's different. If you can identify the team members who are struggling, then you are in a great position to put a coaching program in place that will benefit your whole team. This is an interesting point, so I'm a little bit left of field here. I think the top reps are always going to be a top reps, and there's some innate skills that they have. So sometimes, it might be best to try and help them a little bit more, but generally speaking, I feel that the bottom reps are generally reps you probably would let go of in 6-12 months. So, where I focus on is, if you think of a normal distribution within your team, I think about that middle section, and how I can stop people from potentially becoming LIGADs, and then moving some of those mid-level performers up to the top. The goal of a good enablement strategy is to take the B minus rep, and make them an A minus, or hopefully, an A plus player in a short space of time. We've had excellent success with this here at HubSpot, by taking a member of our marketing team and assigning him to do sales enablement work full time. His whole job was to find ways to help struggling sales people improve their performance. My role at HubSpot and the goal I'm most interested in is, the quota attainment of the office each month. So, at the end of each month on issue, we hit a certain percentage. So, I was thinking, what was the quickest and most efficient way that we can increase sales rep performance to ensure the office hits this goal? So, we thought, if we identify cohort at the bottom, provide them with a training program and extra resource, we can lift them up. We identified a cohort of sales reps, that averaged under 95 percent quota attainment in the previous quota. We built them this coaching and whiteboard leds, bootcamp type program, and we run it over 12 weeks. The program was highly tailored to their needs, and we had sales managers that had been there, and done that and succeeded at HubSpot, delivering these sessions. In addition to the sessions, they were provided with dual support every other week. So, they had consultancy from myself talk about close deals. The dual support component of the program was mandatory. But this is unusual, normally reps request dual support. The one of the observations we saw was, many of the reps that were perhaps struggling and under-performing, they were having trouble navigating the plethora of resources available. So, these dual support sessions, what we found is, much of it was either setting up a customer reference call, or just navigating all the resources available to help them win. So, we're building a deal strategy. So really, those sessions helped add clarity to sales reps, and make them understand what's available to help them with. What we found is the reps that took part in this program, they increase quota attainment by 31 percent, during that period. Perhaps more importantly, they actually maintained a higher level performance afterwards. We were absolutely delighted with these results. So, we'll be adopting a weak link approach from now onwards. We see it as an important lever to help increase sales rep attainment. If you decide to implement a program like this, one very important thing is to pay attention to the way you explain it to your team. I think one of the things that's really, really important about the program is the positioning. So, we were really, really thoughtful, we want to be empathetic about how we position this to the sales reps. This wasn't a punishment, it wasn't a pre-performance plan move. It was really HubSpot investing heavily in the success of our reps. So, the message was really clear. We want to give you some extra attention, and we think you'll get to 100 percent plus really, really quickly. If you invest a lot of energy into coaching someone and they still aren't producing the results you need them to. Then, it's time to have a tough conversation with them. Tough conversation here isn't code for firing them. In fact, if they had enough aptitude that you were willing to invest in coaching them, you absolutely shouldn't fire them. But if they aren't producing results, you have to get them off the sales team. So, help them look for other options within the company. They may find three months in, ''I love the company, I love the people, I love all that, this sales thing is not my deal.'' But I did find out in the course of all of that, there is a sales support role, and I really enjoyed doing that. Watching the people do that, calls with folks and that sort of thing. Maybe that's what I should be doing. Or I should be on product development, I should be somewhere else in the organization. I think if you got a good person, you want to do all you can to retain that person, even if you may change the role, the seat that they're in. It's worth noting also that moving employees from one department to another, is a great way to build stronger ties between departments. If you can move employees from other departments onto the sales team, and move sales reps to other departments, then your company as a whole, will be more unified and sales-focused than ever. I've done it, it's take people from my team, and sometimes invite them, suggest that they might want to go into either a sales role, or customer success role. Or I've done the other way around, which is taking people from sales, move them into product marketing. I like moving, and I like taking people move around, because it gives them a better understanding about the customer facing experience, as well as then going back to their seats and say, ''Okay, I know what these people are feeling, I know the stress and the intensity, I know I need to focus on the long-term, not just short-term, but in the short-term, if there is a few things that I can do, why would I not do it? Because I know it's going to help them, and they're going to be thankful.'' To sum up, you should only fire team members who aren't invested in improving their performance. For reps that are committed to improving, coaching and deal support can go a long way. Always look for opportunities to move people between departments. If you do these things, your team and the individuals on it will all grow better.