2 Talent Management Steps to Save Your Year (and Your Job)

August 11, 2012 at 7:00 AM

The Olympics, just like sales organizations, are full of incredible successes, as well as unparalleled shortcomings. For every triumph there is a broken heart, for every jubilant gold there is a disconsolate silver. For every organization that crushes revenue targets, there is one falling 50% short. Don’t be caught standing on the wrong podium, VP of Sales.  Get access to cutting-edge advice on how to hit your sales targets with the Make the Number Program (click this link).

Just as in the Olympics, if you truly want to build a world class sales organization, there is absolutely no room for error. If you’re experiencing some of the things listed below, you may want to consider taking action sooner rather than later:

  • Not making your number, and not totally sure why
  • You know you have sub-par talent
  • You’ve been told next years number will only be larger
  • Need Results Now (Request a Consultation)
  • Need a Sales Force Effectiveness Solution that will keep your job from feeling uncomfortable or threatened

Don’t allow yourself to continue feeling out of control. Seize control of your destiny and follow this 2 Step Plan to Improving Your Sales Force Effectiveness.Sales Talent Scoring

Step 1 - Assess Your Sales Talent

Think of this as the Olympic Trials. You’re the coach, and it’s time to decide who is coming to London, and who will get left behind. The decisions aren’t always easy, but you know what level of talent you need to be successful. Assessing your Sales Talent has five parts to it: 

Create a scorecard to determine which players on your team make the cut. You can use the guidelines below as a template.

  1. Create a specific scorecard to determine which players on your team make the cut:
    - Assess Competencies: 
    Do your sales team members hold the attributes required to reach Olympic-level performance and Gold Medal accomplishments?
    - Explore Accountabilities:  Do your sales team members have the qualities (e.g. character, culture, chemistry, goals) to mesh with the business and thrive in the role?
  2. Immediately conduct assessments of your entire sales organization using the scorecard you’ve created (Competencies & Accountabilities).
  3. Plot your A / B / C Players on a Grid in order to get a visual understanding of who is performing and who isn’t. See the Grid below as a sample.
  4. Terminate the C Players today. It may sound harsh, but if you need results now, the time for coddling is over. If athletes aren’t prepared by the time the Olympic Trials come along, they don’t make it to London just for fun. They get left behind, and the level of the team is elevated because of it. It’s too late for your C Players if you want to save your year (and job).
  5. Reallocate the C player territory to your A players. Think of swimmer Michael Phelps. The ultimate A-Player, he is a fine-tuned machine of Olympic dominance. In fact, there have been studies stating that his physical size, shape, and dimensions make him the pinnacle of swimming perfection. In a brilliant move, instead of allocating his swims across 5 different decent swimmers, the coach gives them all to Phelps. He comes away with the most medals in Olympic history.  I advise following this model – let your A-Players shine.

This process clearly indicates to your sales team that you won’t tolerate under-performers (C-Players). Your A-Players are going to welcome the new opportunities they can add to their pipeline and revenue stream this year.  Make no mistake about it, this move dramatically improves your chances of achieving this year’s goal. 

Step 2 - Landing Top-Tier Sales Talent

Bill Eckstrom from the EcSELL Institute indicates that 97% of sales leaders across the country believe that Proper Sales Talent Acquisition is either “extremely important” or “important.” If you are part of that 97% (which, let’s be honest, you probably are) what is stopping you from recruiting with the sense of urgency that the words “extremely important” should inspire?

How to acquire top sales talent:

  1. You need to be recruiting constantly. If you need top-tier sales talent now, you better be looking now. And if you need top-tier sales talent next year, you also better be searching now (Get hiring templates here to hire top sales talent fast).
  2. Use the scorecard you’ve built to assess potential candidates. Are they truly A-Players? Can they compete and contribute? Are they your Michael Phelps?
  3. Use a proven methodology like Topgrading for Sales to put together your A team. Understand how proper staffing, benchmarking, and management work together to create an imposing, successful sales organization.

Don’t let your Michael Phelps slip through your fingers. Follow the tips above to increase your chances of finding him.

In order to keep building on your soon-to-be Olympic sized improvements, see how your peers are allocating people, money, and time in order to make their numbers. Keep up, and maintain your world-class performance.

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Topics: sales strategy, Talent Management, VP of Sales Resources, Sales Management, CSO

Posted by Tony Albachiara

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