Many companies adore their top-performing sellers and treat them like elite athletes. They literally have days of celebrations to reward their success. In the sales world, we call these President’s Club trips. While this reverence has merit, it has also created a double standard that limits company performance. Reverence for top sellers often leads to a different level of accountability compared to the rest of the sales team.
In many organizations, top performers can ignore accountability requirements, such as entering activities, as long as they are making their number. The argument is that it’s better to give them special treatment than to lose them to a competitor. While always a poor practice, this type of thinking had merit when sellers were the core driver of sales. In today’s revenue environment, selling is an orchestration between a revenue team and a buying group. It is also a data-intensive process where insights enable better buying group engagement and improved win rates.
Sales teams are not used to having all their interactions tracked and analyzed, but neither were the athletes they are so often compared to. Nowadays, there is very little that isn’t tracked on a playing field. Insights from tracking are taking athlete performance to new heights. Today’s athletes are bigger, stronger, and faster. The same performance improvement is going to happen in sales. Top sellers need to not only embrace interaction capture but also leverage it to maintain their top-performer status. Here are three benefits that sellers will get when they are tracked like athletes:
- Improved execution reduces administration. Elite athletes no longer manually track their workouts and nutrition plans. Their total focus is on executing these plans to maximize their fitness. With all activities captured, sellers will not need to log anything either. All they will do is engage buyers while their activities are logged and available for review automatically. This not only eliminates note-taking but also gives them more consistent notes and next steps. Once everything is tracked, systems will be updated based on these interactions, removing another level of administrative activities such as updating opportunities.
- New insights improve performance. In the past, athletes relied on coaches to identify and improve their skills at practice or in games. Today, the biggest improvements happen in the film room as athletes analyze their performance alongside insights to identify areas where they can improve. Sellers are starting to do this by analyzing their “game film” through conversation intelligence, along with insights generated from the aggregation of opportunity interactions. Sales managers also leverage these details to identify areas for improvement. These insights will improve performance in complex conversations.
- Optimization eliminates cheat codes. Sports have rules to eliminate athletes from affecting their sport in ways that are outside of the rules of the game. This makes sports much more closely aligned to skill than sales. Many sellers have found other ways to reach their goals that are not related to their ability to sell. Actions such as quota manipulation and positioning themselves to receive higher-quality leads than their peers allow marginal sellers to perform like stars. This will change when sellers can no longer manipulate these variables and are judged purely on their sales ability. The best sellers will be those who can consistently grow and improve instead of finding the cheat code needed to get the right deals at the right time.
The end is near for those stuck in their ways or resorting to manipulating the system. The future is bright for sellers who are truly great at orchestrating and influencing buying and selling teams to win more deals. Top sellers are more important than ever, as they are the model that companies will use to improve the performance of the entire sales team. This means that the best-performing sellers will need to evolve, as middle-level sellers constantly improve based on what they learn from those at the top.