Posted by Nick in Sales Career Articles | 0 Comments
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A PIP May Not Be The End Of The World For A Salesperson
So, you are a sales rep on a PIP – “Performance Improvement Plan”. You may feel disappointed and even a little embarrassed. You may have question about the PIP but you’re not sure where to turn. I have some non-legal thoughts for sales reps on a PIP to consider but remember it’s just my opinion. So, to protect my self, stop reading now because this article is just my opinion.
A PIP may be used as a legal document. I’m not a lawyer and offer no legal advice. I offer no direction and I don’t, to fully cover myself, know anything about PIPs. If you are looking for legal advice or direction, consult an attorney. I’m not responsible for anything outlined below. You use it your own risk. This is not professional advice or a substitute for it. So there you go!!! Now I can proceed.
IN MY OPINION…
Salespeople on a PIP often cloud their thinking with emotions that lead to excuses. Emotions and excuses will not help you so I suggest those reps consider parking them asap. Most often (as I see it), but not always, salespeople are placed on PIP because of issues involving low sales productivity. It may be best for them to focus on those productivity issues and increase sales.
In my opinion, salespeople on a PIP probably need to make some quick decisions. Here are some possible options, but there are many…
- A) Focus on returning to “an employee in good standing” and get off the PIP
- B) Find another sales rep position
- C) A combination of A and B
- D) Discover if the PIP is unfair and undeserved
Let’s explore some of the possible positive and negative aspects of each option.
Employee In Good Standing
Some PIPs may be fair and can be successfully addressed and achieved. Some may be unfair with the odds stacked on the side of failure. Right or wrong, I’m just telling you how it could be. Your first mission may be to realistically decide if you can achieve the PIP’s objectives. If you feel you can, you may elect to go all out and make it happen. You may have just been in a sales slump. Or… this could be a very bad decision.
Sales reps should consider evaluating their sales funnel and deciding if it can support the PIP’s sales productivity objectives. What accounts must close by when? Develop a list and commit to it. Also, think about quickly finding new prospects that can close before the PIP expires. Or… consider other options.
A sales rep’s PIP may include additional job requirements aside from sales attainment issues. These may include everything from activity benchmarks to attending meetings on time. If you expect to return yourself to a sales rep in good standing, you must pay attention to every component of your PIP.
Often, salespeople on a PIP often have their progress reviewed during a weekly “One On One” with their manager. If you are serious about getting off that PIP, go one better. At the end of every day, consider sending you manager an update that outlines your progress in relation to every one of the PIP’s components. Get you manager to agree with this action.
Find Another Sales Rep Position
You may decide that you can never achieve the PIP’s objectives. You may also decide that you no longer wish to work for the company or Sales Manager that put you on the PIP. Remember that when one door closes, another door opens. This is your decision to make.
A + B = PIP Combination
So, you want to hedge your bets and work to get off the PIP while looking for a new sales position. You have chosen a very difficult road to travel. Since you are not fully committed to either plan, there is a chance that you may fail at both. It is your call… your decision.
Question The PIP At Your Own Risk
Salespeople that decide to argue against the PIP need to, at a minimum, be wise, delicate and above all, right. Once again, I ask you to consider parking your ego and excuses on the sideline. What do the numbers say? Is your sales productivity below the attainment of other sales reps not on a PIP? Do you have documentation to support your claim? If so, then consider the motivating factors that lead to the PIP. Ask HR and your manager what you need to get off the PIP… and when.
Are you receiving equal treatment? You probably should not guess about the answer. You should consider every component of the PIP and not just the sales attainment issues. If you are the one that’s always late for meetings, you may not have a leg to stand on. As with all advice on there matters, ask a lawyer before doing anything.
Your Sales Manager may have reviewed the details with HR and probably got HR’s approval prior to placing you on a PIP. First, consider approaching your Sales Manager with your concerns. Next, consider approaching HR if necessary. If it were me, I’d want to be 100% certain that right is on my side and hopefully that I possess the documentation to prove it. While all this is happening, you probably should remember to work on meeting you PIP’s objectives, fair or not. Talk with experts on these matters and I’m not an expert on these matters.
Let’s spend a moment on the big picture. More likely than not, your sales productivity is not what it should be. It may be that you could work as hard as ever and still not make your numbers. Why not do something good and proactive for yourself? Get some solid sales training and sales prospecting training. Some powerful sales training videos may be something that can either help you to save your job or help you to generate success at your new one. Get advice from experts on these matters.
Consult an attorney if you have legal questions or if you are looking for advice and direction on the legal side. I make no claims, representations or promises about anything contained in this Post or the direction you take. The above is strictly limited to my opinion. You assume all risk.
A sales rep’s PIP is serious stuff and I hope it works out well for you.
I am not an expert on these matters. Consult experts before doing anything. I offer nothing but my opinion and thoughts.
To your success!
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