You think you know the answer to the obvious question, “Is your best sales person really your best?” You probably know where this is heading.
You have a sales person with the most annual sales, the highest level of customer satisfaction, the greatest client growth, the most referrals coming to them, and the highest margins of all of your sales people. So they’re the best, right? But are they a sales person? Or have they become a great account manager?
Here’s the test to help you figure it out: If you took away all of their accounts and asked them to reproduce their current book of business, how long would it take?
Now think about your newer or junior sales people. Are they currently outperforming that pace? So who is the better sales person? Who is a sales person at all?
Top sales people typically have:
The largest accounts
A strong referral base
Good account retention
Most of the good leads
If they have all of that going for them, how hard is it to close business?
Without any of the above, what they don’t typically have is the ability to hunt for, find, qualify, sell, and close new business. There are cases where the top sales person is also the best, but it’s rare. I’d estimate that the top performing sales person is also the best in only 5% of the sales forces I’ve evaluated. It’s typically an up-and-coming sales person—quickly building a book of business—that is the more capable and proven sales person. They’ve proven by their acquisition of new clients that they know how to sell.
This causes business problems for companies that are focused on growth. While client retention is necessary for growth, new accounts fuel it exponentially. Who is making more money in your compensation plan? Those who grow business exponentially, or those who retain it?
If your best people can’t really sell today like they need to, how much are you giving up?
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