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How to Turn
Core Sales Performers
Into Top Performers
turn core sales performers into top performers | jbarrows
By John Barrows | March 24, 2016

I’ll be speaking at the upcoming Digital Growth Conference with a good friend of mine, Ralph Barsi, on the topic of How to Turn Core Performers into Top Performers. This has always been the front-line manager’s biggest challenge and should be one of their top goals as a manger. The “Distribution of Talent” or “Vitality Curve” theory talk about how 10-20% of your workforce are A players, 60-70% are B players and 10-20% are C players. There is plenty of debate about this and how it’s applied with top grading, etc., but in general I tend to agree with the overall ABC premise. If you agree that the majority of employees in a workforce are B players (Core Performers), then you see why it’s so important for front-line managers to focus on them.

As a general management guideline for each group, I tend to over-communicate with my As, set long-term goals for them, which they decide the reward for (in addition to commissions), and let them do their thing.  For my Bs, I set mid-term goals for them, which we both agree on and spend the majority of my coaching time with them. For my Cs, I let them know where they stand, what they need to do to improve and set very short-term, attainable goals for them to try and get them back on the winning track, but I don’t spend a ton of time with them.

In order to coach my Bs to be As I need to know what an A looks like, which is why it’s important to try and profile your As and find out what makes them so good at what they do. The challenge is figuring out what to profile. Their work habits, time management skills, how they engage with clients, etc. There are tons of different areas to look at and some people are way better in some areas than others. You can use personality profiling tools to get some kind of baseline, but I like to focus on the sales process and how A players navigate through it.

A players know that negotiations start from the minute they engage with the prospect, not just when pricing comes up. They also understand the need for equality throughout the process related to what they are giving away and what they are getting in return. There’s not a winner and a loser in negotiations, or at least there shouldn’t be. Both parties need to feel like they got something out of the deal in order for it to work. The best reps inherently know the “score” of each deal they are working on and how far ahead or behind they are.

I like to work with my A reps to outline all of the gives and the gets that they see throughout the sales process and understand how they prioritize each. With this, I can build a scorecard that I can use to coach my B and C reps on how to improve. Ralph and I will be walking through how to create and use this scorecard during the upcoming Digital Growth Conference. Join us if you’re interested in learning more.

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