The 20/80 rule (Pareto’s Principle) abounds in life and in business. This is a pretty scary statistic as noted by Tom Stein in a posting at the AllBusiness website specific to sales. In his article, he provided five (5) steps to build a powerful and effective sales team where the goal to increase sales is realized.
Now what would happen if the sales management could move some of those under performing salespersons in the 80% bucket into the 20% bucket without losing the productivity of the currently performing to over performing individuals?
For this to happens requires these steps to be taken:
First, referring to Tom Collins in Good to Great, it is critical to have the right sales people in the right seats in the right bus. When you understand their decision making styles to their talents (strengths) you can not only achieve great performance appraisals, but have a cohesive team where all members are rowing with the same energy toward exactly the same target. In other words, you have removed the slackers from your team and have helped the under performing to work smarter and not harder.
Second, integrating a proven goal achievement process that unites the following:
Alignment to other departments
The use of the same tool (goal worksheet) ensures sales goals are achieved as well as improves overall communication. Such improvements only strengthen another inherent weakness facing more organizations and that is consistent execution of strategic goals and initiatives. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Many individuals fail to achieve their own personal goals so how they achieve organizational ones?
Third, reviewing the overall organization is necessary as well. The sales department does not work in isolation. Other functions and departments of the firm must all work together. Unfortunately, sometimes the inability to increase sales is just as much about internal obstacles such as structure, processes, rewards and other employees as it is about the individual performance of each salesperson. Sometimes it may also help to take a proven organizational assessment aligned to accepted criteria such as Baldrige.
Fourth, results based, not competency based, sales training is also required. This approach to developing the skill sets of your sales team leverages everyone’s talents. (See Tip #1). When a competency based approach is used, the strengths of individual team members are devalued because a now accepted competency has been created. This also creates an essentially “more hope to” false philosophy which again is not the best performance approach.
By John Hester