As sales leaders we all know that the top 12-20% of our teams is made up of the same salespeople who make quota every year, year over year. They seem to reach quota regardless of the conditions in which they’re selling.
We also know that the bottom 20% are simply in the wrong job. The best thing we can do for them, and they can do for themselves, is to redefine their career path as quickly as possible and us to offer any assistance we reasonably can to make that happen – stat.
That leaves us with the job-protected, middle 60% – those salespeople who usually miss quota, year over year, but will never be sacked. I told a VC this very thing one time. The dismissive look he gave me is forever stamped on my hippocampus.
“Why risk $18,000,000?”
This is anecdotal but representative of every executive I know with revenue responsibility, two months ago I was talking to a CEO friend of mine who runs a $150,000,000 company. I was telling him about a prominent financial services company that was using the UPtick™ platform (Selleration™ Assessment and Simulation software) to make a decision about a salesperson who was responsible for a $24,000,000 quota, but had a history of making 60-80% of that number. He said he’d keep the guy – “why risk $18,000,000?”, he asked.
Most sales leaders would tell you that in addition to risking the revenue, hiring is a huge investment. It takes a lot of time and effort to prepare to hire, screen candidates, prepare and make an offer, negotiate, onboard, and train newbies.
All in, it takes 18-24 months to know for sure whether you have a “keeper.” AND, this is a major point, salespeople who miss quota but bring in 70% or 80% of their number are profitable. That’s right! They more than pay for their existence.
So where does that leave us as sales leaders?
Fair enough! Those are all great points – every single one of them. And I concur – there’s a lot invested- and a lot at risk. So, where does that leave us as sales leaders? Follow me for a moment.
You’ve already trained the job-protected middle 60%, right? Maybe…maybe not. Most salespeople would tell you they receive a ton of product and market training but not enough sales skills training. So, there’s one data point for you. BUT, I believe there’s a lot more you can do in the area of Selling Intelligence™ scores.
And in particular, there’s a lot that can be done in the areas of Selling Behavior – looking at behaviors that relate directly to reaching quota like Work Ethic, Initiative, Energy, Positivity, Assertiveness, Confidence, and much more – and Selling Judgment™ score – looking at how a salesperson applies their selling behavior, cognitive skills and sales skills.
Once you know the Selling Intelligence™ score of your salesperson, you can make informed investment decisions about improvement. Improving the sales productivity of the job-protected middle 60%, even if only by a few percentage points, is a game changer for everyone involved, starting with your customers.
Click below to enter our gamified sales simulation, the UPtick™ platform, and see how we use virtual customer conversations to collect sales performance data. Plus- see how well you perform head to head with our virtual sales customer: