Cloning your Top Performers

In every company there are those illusive TOP performers, the ones that make plan every year in what seems to be an effortless fashion. The question is, what’s their secret sauce?  How do you replicate this success?

The anatomy of a successful seller has many facets:

Innate Characteristics

Skills/Selling Behaviors

Coaching and Support

Use of resources and tools

Let's take each category and drill down on what you would want to know to understand their success.

Are your sellers in the right role?

Everyone is wired differently.  Some people can talk to anyone and get energy from making new "friends", others prefer to deepen relationships and are more comfortable selling deeper into accounts. No rocket science here!  But, the question is how do you know which sales role is right for a new person joining your team?  Some people do a great job asking "behavioral based" interview questions that can give them a fairly good sense of a persons preferences and fit.  But, there are great assessments out there that can scientifically help you find the right candidate for any sales role you have.  My vote is to take a more scientific approach rather than gut-instincts that can vary between hiring managers.

What are they DOING differently?

Undoubtedly, your top performers are behaving in a specific way that helps them bring in more business.  They have a skill set that fits in your selling culture and almost guarantees them success.  The magic question is: WHAT are they doing better and more often than the rest of the sellers on your team?  After helping clients assess their sellers' behaviors for over 10 years, Beyond ROI has established a database of over 300 selling behaviors/skills.  We've perfected a methodology that can determine which of these 300 skills your top performers are masterful at and then uncover gaps within the rest of the sales force that indicate where your training priorities should be.  

Does support matter?

There is a big buzz in our industry right now around skill development coaching -- well... a buzz up in sales training and enablement groups, not so much at the front-line manager level. Sales managers already have a challenging job with more work than they typically have hours in the day.  So, if you are going to ask a manager to take on another important task, giving them a tool that helps them laser-focus exactly where they can support their team member is what you want to do.  The MyView Coaching Profiles from Beyond ROI will show a manager exactly where each team member stands in effectively using the KEY SKILLS that the organizations TOP PERFORMERS use on a regular basis.  This type of tool increases the likelihood of productive coaching conversations ten-fold.

Have you given them the right tools?

Once again, top performers are a great barometer to tell you which sales tools and resources are needed to support their sales process and conversations.  Getting feedback and understanding how the sellers use these tools is critical to the company but, the question is: Will they provide that feedback to an internal resource?  Beyond ROI is an independent, third-party consulting company that collects information with promises of anonymity and then provides companies with aggregated insights that help them be more efficient and supportive.

So when you break it down, the secret sauce isn't that complicated.  The question for you is this: Can you continue to guess at training and support methods, or do you want to be intentional in how you build your sales teams in a way that guarantees your success?  The choice is yours!




Sales Transformation - The Coaching Component

By Susan Trumpler

The Challenge

You’ve been tasked with helping the company grow sales.  You’ve been given a budget and asked to go out and find the magic training that will help sales explode. You do brilliant work on sourcing that training, setting up the deployment, and rolling it out to your intended audience.  Whew!  Now what?  Do you cross your fingers and hope that the magic bullet hits its mark?  Or, are you one of the strategic transformation specialists that goes the full distance and puts a comprehensive reinforcement and coaching program in place? 

Did You Know?  Neil Rackham conducted a study that showed evidence of an 87% drop-off in knowledge acquired during training if reinforcement strategies are not part of the training initiative.

Now, I’m probably preaching to the choir here.  There aren’t too many learning professionals who don’t know the impact that coaching has on post-training sustainability.  Yet, more frequently than not, in the companies where we conduct post-training measurements, we see less-than-stellar levels of coaching.  When participants are asked about how often they receive performance coaching from their managers, the average response is “sometimes”.  Contrast these responses against effectively coached participants and you will find that there is a 20% average increase in skill effectiveness* in this group.  Follow the causal chain and you will find a clear correlation between high levels of coaching and maximized business impact from any transformation effort.

Making Coaching Easier for your Sales Leaders

Being in a sales leadership position is very challenging. They are faced with competing priorities: Revenue forecasts, field observations, participating in critical sales, filling their bench and many others. With only so many hours in the day, who could blame them for not being able to put appropriate effort into developing their team’s skill set?

So, how can you help?  The phrase that comes to mind is from a cult movie Little Shop of Horrors, “Feed me Seymor”!  We have to feed information to the sales leader that will make coaching easy, focused, and fast.  Here is a three step plan that anyone can follow that will result in better coaching and better business results.

3 Steps to Better Coaching & Business Results

Step 1:  Identify the SPECIFIC behaviors that bring success for your top performers; the “Money Making Skills”These are behaviors that top performers exhibit on a more frequent basis than their cohorts.  You can scientifically identify these behaviors via an assessment, or you can conduct internal research through observations and interviews.  Our experience is that any given training course will focus on 15-20 specific skills.  If you have already selected or created your training, document the key skills and then determine WHICH behaviors are most important to your top performers.  The logic here is that no one can make a shift across all 20 behaviors at one time.  Can you identify the most critical and then focus on shifting those first?

Step 2:  Identify the gaps. Now that you know what skills are important, it’s time to uncover which of these money making skills need to be focused on for EACH seller.  If doing a full assessment isn’t possible, ask the sales leader to evaluate each of their team members to create a stack-ranking of these behaviors for them.  This shouldn’t be an onerous task!  Keep in mind that of the 20 key skills mentioned above, it will boil down to 5-7 money making skills.  A sales leader should have a pulse on where each person stands on this subset without too much trouble.

Step 3:  Provide a specific prescription for each team member. Ok, you’ve got everything you need to feed that sales leader.  You can now provide a coaching profile for each of their team members that clearly maps skill improvement opportunities to appropriate reinforcement resources.  The leader uses this profile to have a quick coaching conversation that results in a solid action plan for sustainable improvement.  Our experience shows that feeding this information to the leader greatly increases the likelihood that effective coaching conversations will take place! 

In conclusion . . .

There are so many excellent coaching methodologies in the marketplace.  They do a wonderful job helping you equip your leaders with the skills necessary to have coaching-style conversations.  Coupling a great coaching model with targeted insights to bring into the conversation may just be the ticket to seeing your sales leader’s coaching soar along with your business results. And I would be remiss if I didn’t say it – at Beyond ROI, this is what we do. We succeed when you and your leaders do!