Creating Space for Risk in the Sales Organization

Cruising quietly in the middle lane of every sales organization are the 70%ers, a vast group of sales reps whose performance lands them square on them on the hump of the sales performance scale. What differentiates this group from their incentive winning peers? Aptitude for risk-taking.



The best salespeople are excellent problem solvers. They anticipate obstacles and devise creative means to overcome sales objectives. They go out on a limb and reach out a 5th time to a “cold” lead. In short, top performers are more willing to take risks – some of which will ultimately pay off for the sales organization and some of which won’t.

When risks pay off, they can change the course of a rep’s selling behavior. For example, a sales rep takes a risk with one prospective customer which pays off with a closed deal. You can bet that they will use the same approach next time they are presented with a similar situation. Over time, this approach become part of their selling behavior. Every subsequent deal that rep makes could be positively affected by taking that one risk. But not everyone is willing to take the risk.

As a whole, 70%ers are less apt to take risks. But, risk-takers aren’t just born, they can be made.

Getting reps to take more risks sounds like an oversimplification of a complex problem. But it’s actually one of the key ways that behavior is effectively changed – and an essential element to learning that is discouraged in the business environment. It’s a tall order since taking risks is something that every sales organization tries to minimize. Whole departments within corporations are dedicated to mitigating it. It’s something many 70%ers may not have done since childhood.

As kids, we jump down from a fort and learn the limits of our own physical capabilities. We argue with friends over whose turn it is and in doing so learn how to wield the power of persuasion. Play gave us that safe space to take risks.

One way to create a safe environment for risk-taking within the sales organization is to create it online with a layer of gamification to further engage 70%ers. UPtick™ by Selleration™ offers an engaging virtual sales environment where reps can go head to head with a virtual customer, take risks and get immediate feedback. A leaderboard offers incentive for the rep to hone selling skills.

The power of the 70% lies in their numbers. Even a small across the board increase from middle performers translates into a massive boon for the sales organization. The potential benefits are huge. According to Qvidian, “a simple five percent gain in the middle 60 percent of your sales performers can deliver over 91 percent greater sales than a five percent shift in your top 20 percent.” Try the UPtick™ platform for yourself, get your Selling Intelligence™ score and experience the safe – and fun – sales environment where risks can be taken and rewarded.