Only 53% of sales reps hit quota and most sales leaders don’t know what to do about that. At the end of the year there is a conversation between a manager and a rep and that conversation is summed up usually as “do better.”
That doesn’t work and sales leaders know it but what can they do differently? Some leaders turn to their CRM and try to determine why some reps achieve quota while others don’t but the exercise typically brings minimal benefits.
To solve this challenge, sales leaders need REAL visibility into what their reps are doing and not doing to build pipeline and close deals and that’s where we come in. XANT has recently created an assessment called the Sales Effectiveness Quadrant™ (SEQ).
How to Measure Your Sales Effectiveness
The SEQ is a prescriptive assessment that turns your bottom performers into top performers by analyzing and segmenting your sellers on characteristics that lead to pipeline creation and more closed deals. We asked Ron Hollis, Enterprise Director at XANT, to run us through the concept of Sales Effectiveness – how you measure it and how you coach your sales reps to increase their performance .
The Sales Effectiveness Quadrant identifies and solves the problem of quota attainment in sales teams on an individual level, rather than having a broad, general approach. It’s also customized to each company, market and product – as metrics for success are defined differently in each company.
“Things are going to get incredibly difficult, the landscape is getting more difficult. Buyers are becoming more educated, and the way that they approach the buying cycle is getting more complicated. It’s harder to spend money because we’re trying to solve more sophisticated problems. More people are getting involved,” said Ron, on the Playmakers podcast.
So, how do you get sales representatives to perform well and reach their numbers?
The response is to judge the health of your sales team: evaluate sales performance and identify your top performers.
The methods and processes that these top salesmen are using are then disseminated and repeated throughout the company.
Why Most Sales Leaders Don’t Act To Right The Ship
The truth is, that when quota attainment is only 53%, very few sales leaders actually get up and try to fix the problem, says Ron. This is because they have a short tenure – an average of just 18 months, during which they just focus on their top quota achievers. Sales leaders need to step up and find a way to scale the organization based on what their top achievers are doing, said Ron.
“As sales leaders think about their career, I think there’s actually a fairly significant transition that’s happening. They are going from this kind of this monarchical , top-down approach (“Hey, you got to do it this way,”) to understanding what are the successful people doing in the field,” said Ron.
“How can we leverage the insights, the motion, the innovation and then disseminate that? We need to capture it and then disseminate that throughout the organization with the notion of high tide rises all ships,” added Ron.
Using Data and Science to Find Your Top Performers And Coach the Others
Ron advises organizations to use a scientific method in trying to identify their top salespeople and making sure their process is known repeated throughout the company. Rather than removing low performing sales reps from organizations, it’s less costly and more efficient to coach them to increase their performance.
“I think sometimes identifying the problem is often the problem. If you look at health care, people don’t just go, ‘Hey, my hip hurts. I’m going to get a hip replacement.’ They actually go in and they talk to the physician. They will pick one that has done surgeries before, he probably has a pretty good track record and he’s figured out the best method to do so. He has a fellowship team, which means they really studied this,” said Ron.
The Top 2 Skills That Matter for Sales Effectiveness Training
Sales leaders – Chief Revenue Officers or Sales Vice Presidents – are always looking for ways to reach quota, and this really translates into two simple concepts, adds Ron. Sales reps need to build more and better pipeline, and they need to close deals. These are the two metrics that truly matter and should be included in sales effectiveness training, added Ron.
“It’s not always about quantity. It’s about quality. Right? There’s a lot of people that go, ‘Hey, you got to bust so they get the activity up.’ It’s not about activity. It’s about the right activity. The reality is, we need more quality.
“The second piece is how do I convert opportunities for revenue? So it’s pipeline development and then opportunities for revenue. This really means, how do I articulate what’s going on in the marketplace with my solution and how we might be able to solve business problems? And then once I get somebody into a conversation, how do I navigate through the buying process? We’re seeing this get more complicated. There’s more decision makers in this process,” said Ron, on the Playmakers podcast.
The Sales Effectiveness Framework
The model perpetuated by famed businessman Jack Welch is the 70-20-10 model, added Ron. In this model, 20 percent of employees are high performers, 70 percent are mediocre and another 10 percent are low performing employees. Jack Welch would recommend removing the 10 percent from your ranks, and coaching only the 70 percent that are engaged.
Ron suggests a slightly different approach, making sure that ALL sales reps have access to the knowledge and process that the top performers are using to reach their goals.
“The reality is that the sales industry is very, very competitive. It’s a competitive marketplace to get people, to keep people to stay in the game. My approach is to be objective. Let’s look at the data. Let’s let the data tell us, because we’ve spent a lot of money on CRM, let’s leverage it. We need to look at the CRM system and figure out what’s impacting success and failure at my organization. We’re smart enough to do that right now,” said Ron.
Rather than re-cycling 10 percent of the organization that is underperforming, sales leaders can up-cycle and increase their capacity to sell, moving them up through the ranks and increasing the revenue generated by ALL their employees.
Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
In This Episode You’ll Learn:
Industry benchmarks for pipeline management
What behaviors may be leading to low quota attainment
How companies are trying to solve the quota challenge
What is the Sales Effectiveness Quadrant™ and how can it help sellers