How to improve the sales performance of the team when you have a maverick salesperson disrupting your processes? Maverick salespeople sound like the perfect solution to a company’s growth plans: positive-thinking, proactive, brave and normally associated with successful outcomes. And they can certainly be all of these things and more. However, mavericks in sales teams can also pose some pretty big problems.
Mavericks within the sales team
It’s incredibly unlikely that you’ll build an entire team of mavericks, so the maverick one or two will be easy to spot. They’ll be the outliers in your team, doing things differently. This is what gives rise to the first problem associated with having mavericks in your sales team: if they do things differently and successfully, others will want to copy them – but they won’t be able to.
Why? Because mavericks are artists when it comes to sales, and very rare. They do things by feel, intuition and instinct. Entrepreneurs often do the same. However, learning the art side of sales is much harder, and takes much longer, than learning the science side of sales, which is about process and structure. Not scripts or robotic selling but a consistent, reliable, trainable way of creating interest in potential buyers and moving them to action.
This sales science is much easier to learn and, therefore, more likely to build a successful sales team that follows a repeatable and scalable process. It’s also much easier to coach your people when they’re following the process and structures associated with taking a scientific approach to selling.
If your mavericks do things differently and are unsuccessful in doing so, then you have a different problem to address. On the surface, it may seem easy to handle: you simply get rid of them! Yet mavericks are often such magnetic personalities that you’ll be tempted to keep them way beyond their usefulness.
Harnessing the power of maverick salespeople
So, is there a way to have successful maverick salespeople without messing up the rest of your team’s ability to succeed? It’s a difficult question to answer, as it depends on the scale of their success and the negativity of the downsides.
Overall, if your maverick salesperson is significantly and negatively impacting the rest of the team, then you have to bite the bullet and let them go. The disruption is just too much to work around.
If they’re not completely unpicking the success of the rest of the team, I’d recommend in most cases that you separate them from the rest when you can. If they’re working a different patch or on a different product or service, for example, or they’re in a different room when they’re doing their sales, that will help the rest of the team focus on their own, more scientific approach to selling.
Whatever you do, bear in mind that people have a tendency to copy the behaviour of those they admire. If the maverick works with your team, irrespective of anything you say to the contrary, others will try to copy the maverick’s approach. And you will have to deal with the consequences of that.
Ultimately, if you have a maverick salesperson on your team, it’s time to be wary. In most cases, your maverick will probably deliver more negative effects than positive within the sales team environment. If you have a maverick salesperson that you simply can’t lose, try to separate them from the rest of the team. This is your most likely route to sustaining their success without undermining the work of the rest of your sales force. Sorry, mavericks, but sales is one area where you’re almost always a bit more work than you’re worth!