When you look at your sales force, do you have some sales professionals that are rock stars, while the rest of your sales team lags behind? The best sales enablement initiatives recognize there is a Pareto curve of successful people in the organization. However, the reality is that 10-20% of your sales team is probably making up 80% of your organization’s revenue. This is staggering.
Sales enablement is always looking to solve this problem, but it’s risky. Why? Your high flyers will always be high flyers. You can’t bottle what they’re doing, but what if they leave the company? You’re left with gaping holes in your business.
Great sales enablement leaders recognize that if only 10-20% of reps are crushing quota, you want to focus your efforts on shifting your core performers into top performers.
Who are your core performers?
Your core performers make the majority of your sales team which presents your greatest opportunity. To compare it to school, they’re your B-grade students. They come close to hitting quota, and show potential, but they’re missing some of the fundamental skills needed to push them to the next level. For some reason, they’re just not there yet.
Why focus on them?
It’s extremely important to focus your training efforts on your core performers, because they can make a huge impact on your bottom line. If each of these reps makes just a 5% increase—which can mean booking just one more meeting per month or per quarter—this can make a monumental increase in the total revenue of your business.
This quote says it best from Aberdeen Group’s report on best practices in maximizing sales productivity:
A mindset shift
Core performers already have a baseline of habit. They just need incremental changes to create new habits that work. Forrester says, to overcome this talent gap sales leaders must devise plans to train existing sales professionals and acquire new talent who will bring a broader and deeper skill set to the role.
However, this requires a mindset shift, and constant application of new innovative skillsets. And I’ll be blunt here—one and done sessions do not cut it anymore. For your rock stars, they only need to hear something once and they understand it. For core performers, you must have a program that has weekly teachings, assignments and practicums and reinforcing of those new skills every week for one quarter.
It’s like a gym membership. You first need to create a baseline measurement of where your core performers are today. Then you need to develop an action plan that creates learning behaviour. Third, you need to test them to see that they’re applying those new skills to a sales outcome. Finally, they need weekly coaching to reinforce their learning.
Like the gym, there’s no shortcut. Training can be time-intensive and can be costly. But when creating these new habits over 90 days can result in even one net new meeting every month or every quarter per sales rep—multiplied by your total number of sales reps—this means millions of dollars in new revenue for your business.
The need for reinforcement
According to Aberdeen Group, sale teams implementing post-training reinforcement see 20% more reps achieving quota.
However, after sales professionals learn what they’re taught, reinforcement is needed so they can apply their new skills. Often we find that sales professionals don’t apply it and if this occurs, the training will be wasted. Ongoing coaching and executive buy-in isn't a great to have, it's a necessity to ensure your sales team adopts what they've learned.