Improve your production and increase your profits this year by taking a good look at your sales team’s performance. Are they meeting goals? Do they have goals? There is much untapped potential (read: revenue) with sales teams, and the main reason is lack of accountability.

Also see: "Break away from the 'commodity model.'"

Take a look at these scenarios and see if any are familiar:

  • We were guest speakers for a 15-agency networking group and learned their average annual new business was less than $25,000 per producer. Any decent producer should be able to trip over this much new business in a year.
  • An owner explained how his new producer only did $2,500 in new business, and thank goodness for a retiring producer’s trade-downs, which would be the newbie’s saving grace. Interesting take to reward someone for not doing the job you hired him to do.
  • Many agencies admit they have non-producing producers they can’t get motivated. These owners feel like victims held hostage by their producers and they do nothing.
  • Agencies regularly tell us about producers who’ve stopped producing, justifying that they’re paid commission, so it’s not costing the agency anything additional. Expenses go up every year, so the cost to service that stagnant book is increasing and eroding profit margins.
  • Most agencies admit they have no sales goals for producers. If they do, it’s usually more of a suggestion than an actual target the sales person is expected to hit.

For a business that is completely reliant on its earned revenue, do these scenarios sound ridiculous? They should. This is not leadership behavior; it’s weakness.
Not holding producers accountable does immeasurable damage to your culture and morale. If you had account managers who only worked 25% of their day or only did 25% of their job, what would you do? Let them keep doing it? Pour company resources into them? Fire them?

I’m guessing most of you said, “Fire them.”

Yet, “producers” who bring in virtually no new business get to keep their jobs year after year.

Also see: "The business of you."

We see bad behaviors tolerated at every level of the agency, but the non-producing producer allowed to keep her job is the most baffling.

Owners, this is your business: your income, your retirement plan. It’s the lifeline for your team. They count on you to be a good steward and make decisions that will benefit those who pour their time into helping you build it. When you allow sales people to not produce new business, you are giving them a blank check from your company, personal and retirement accounts and those of your team members.

Get started today:

  • Create a plan for each producer.
  • Meet at least monthly to review progress and coach.
  • Outline and enforce consequences for not meeting goals. 

If you need a template for a producer plan, send me an email and I’ll share ours. No excuses. Make 2015 the year you hold your producers accountable and become a feared competitor in your market.
Keneipp is a partner and coach at Q4intelligence, driving agency transformation. Learn more at q4intel.com. Reach her at wendy@q4intel.com, on LinkedIn, or Twitter @WendyKeneipp.

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