How to Fix a Hiring Mistake (Part One)

Let’s cut to the chase quickly here: the quickest fix to a hiring mistake is to let that employee go. You may not always be in the position to do that, though. That’s not totally fair to do to your rookie sales development rep. You hired them for a reason, and while maybe that reason wasn’t the best (who among us hasn’t hired someone because we felt we had to in order to hit our own sales numbers) let’s do right by these folks and make sure we’ve done everything we can to make them successful before we cut ties with them.

Just as an aside, let me talk to you about feeling pressured to hire because of your own personal sales management quota: I’ve done that before. I’ve hired people because I was feeling like I had to in order to hit my revenue goals, and under that pressure, I didn’t trust my gut and tried to convince myself that wrong hires were right. I’ve learned my lesson, though, and wish I could go back to Chris from years ago and share with him the advice that I’m going to share here. I could have saved some folks from working in roles that they just weren’t suited for, but alas, hindsight is 20/20 as they say.

Okay, when you find yourself with a sales development rep that you think maybe wasn’t the best hire, we’re going to act like mechanics:

  1. Diagnose the issue.
  2. Prescribe a fix.
  3. Evaluate that fix.
  4. Final analysis.

In this first part of our three part series, we’re going to cover diagnosing the issue, and the first half of prescribing a fix.

The Diagnosis

The first thing we’re going to do with our struggling sales development rep, is diagnose the issue that has got them…well…struggling, in the first place. Let’s take a look at their KPIs – what are yours? For us here at QuotaFactory, the first place I would look is their activity. How many calls are they making during the day; what’s the average number of dials per day for this SDR? Emails are important, sure, but we’re big believers that sales development is a phone-heavy sport, so that’s the first place I’m going to look. Next, I’m going to look at the number of real, quality conversations that they’re having every day. After that, I’m going to dig into the list that they’re working on. What’s the make-up of that list? Is it full of just company names and no contact info at all? Is it poorly targeted? Are we looking to talk with HR execs, but all she has is a list of IT Directors because that’s all the client could come up with? I’m also going to look at their meetings booked, meetings completed, and SQL numbers. All of those stats are going to tell a story about this troubled SDR and will hopefully inform how we can help them.

The Prescription

We’ve taken a look at all of the KPIs for our SDR, and we need to prescribe a fix for them. What that fix is will be determined by how we read the KPI story. Let’s look at activity and quality conversations together, as they kind of go hand in hand. Where they fall on this chart gives us insight into how we can help.


KPI Matrix


The SDRs with high activity/high qcs? We need to go to their qc reports, dig into them (or listen to their calls if you’re able to record them), and see what’s getting missed. Also, we can look at their lists to make sure that they’re targeting the right personas.

SDRs who fall in the low activity/low qc quadrant clearly need more at-bats, so the fix for them, at the start, is to increase the number of dials they’re making per day. That’s really the easiest place to begin.

The SDRs who have a low activity/high qc issue? Same with them – they need more dials. They’re in a good spot because they’re having good conversations, we just need them to have more. What’s keeping them from making more attempts at reaching their prospects? We need to figure that out.

SDRs in the high activity/low qc section need help making more out of the effort that they’re putting out. They likely need to be taught how to have conversations, how to pull information out of prospects. They have one of the hardest parts of the job down, not being afraid to pick up the phone!

Be sure to come back next week, when we finish up the prescription section, in part two of our three part series entitled, “How to Fix a Hiring Mistake.”


Image Copyright: simplewitz / 123RF Stock Photo

Chris Snell

Chris Snell

Chris Snell is Director of Sales and Marketing for QuotaFactory. As the second SDR hired way back in 2002, when the company was formerly known as AG Salesworks, Chris is currently responsible for the sales and marketing efforts of QuotaFactory. Chris lives in southeastern Massachusetts and is the proud father of his two children.

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