How to Reengage Senior Sales Reps Who've Lost Their Fight


In the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, Jack Lemmon plays an aging sales rep. Once a superstar within the company, he now struggles with his pitches, can’t seem to get potential clients interested in what he has to say, and, ultimately. can’t make sales nearly as well as he used to. This problem is sadly a common issue in the real world as well. Senior sales reps who have been with the company a long time can lose their edge, just going through the motions instead of working hard to stay current with their skill set. Many times, it's not a lack of ability, it's a lack of being as driven as they used to be. Below are 6 tactics to try to resolve this challenge.

6 Ways To Reengage Senior Sales Reps Who've Lost Their Fight

Bring in New Sales Talent

Inject some new blood into your organization; find talented, energetic and competitive salespeople who can shake things up. The competition can help to inject new life into senior sales reps who know they have the talent and experience to give these young hotshots a run for their money.

Change Their Responsibilities

These sales reps have been around for a long time. They know your company better than those who haven’t been there as long. So play to their knowledge and experience. Is there a particular product that they know more about than anyone else? Put them in charge of that product, both selling it themselves and consulting for others on the ins and outs of that product.

Put Them in a Coaching Role

Give them an opportunity to pass on their wisdom to the newcomers. Pair them with a new hire and let them mentor that person, showing them the ropes. Hopefully, they won’t only coach, though. The goal is to have them selling again like they used to. Ideally, coaching others through what they know best will help engage the senior sales reps as well and get them back in the game.

Move them into Key Account Management

Rather than going after new clients, let them handle the mainstays of your company, with whom you’ve built solid, long-lasting relationships. Many of them may even be clients that these sales reps helped bring in. Maintaining relationships and finding ways to bring in more revenue from existing clients might be more suited to your senior reps than chasing new accounts.

Use a Performance Improvement Plan

A tactical PIP can pinpoint the areas where a rep is falling behind and target those areas for improvement. Have them work with a manager who can meet with them regularly and provide feedback, to get senior reps back on top.

Terminate Them

This is, of course, a last resort. But some cases are simply beyond help. If you’ve tried other tactics, and your sales rep’s performance is still below where it should be, then you have no choice. If they’re not bringing in revenue for the company, then they’re costing you, and they need to be let go. Hopefully, the situation won’t come to termination. There are plenty of ways of reengaging senior sales reps and relighting the spark that they once had for their job, and for your company. They’ve given years of good service to your company, and that’s not something you just throw away. If you can work with them and make them an integral part of your team once again, then it’s the best thing you can do, both for them and for your company. 

Sales Whitepaper IconThe 10 Most Common Sales Management Mistakes

  • How to think through compensation
  • How to position selling skills training to experienced salespeople
  • End-process vs. in-process measurement
  • Where sales managers should spend most of their time
  • And more!
Whitepaper Download

Josh Winters

Josh Winters is a Group Vice President/Director of Sales at The Brooks Group, where he serves as the first point-of-contact for organizational stakeholders looking to improve their teams’ sales effectiveness and overall talent management.

Sales Pro Central

Ready to maximize the performance of your sales team? A representative from The Brooks Group can help get you started.