When Is It Time to Upgrade Your Sales Force? Embracing and Encouraging Turnover in 2017

November 28, 2016 Monday Morning Wake Up Tips

Dave Kurlan from Objective Management Group believes the old 80/20 adage applies to most sales forces. He believes that 80% of your sales force will suck (Dave’s words, not mine) and you should replace them with overachievers. Dave has also said, “Companies with a stable sales organization have a turnover problem – not enough turnover.”

Now at face value that can seem harsh yet alluring at the same time. You know there’s truth in his statements, even if you might not want to hear it. Let’s face it – upgrading your sales force can be daunting even when you get to the point where you know it’s a good idea.

Great sales managers are committed to their people. Great sales managers train, and coach, and motivate their sales people and their sales team. They are, rightfully, committed to their people. After all, they hired them.

Often Sales VP’s make a serious mistake and replace sales people once sales goals have been compromised. That’s too late.

What if our attachment to our people is getting in the way of performance? The very same performance sales managers were hired to achieve. I could spend a few minutes lamenting the challenge of finding great sales people, which happens to be 100% true. And, there are many other objections to having turnover which may – or may not – be true, but let’s put those to the side for now.

Since we are talking truth right now, how about the truth that underperforming people are not happy people and there’s a cost to them to stay in a position where they are failing? Of course, there’s a cost to the others on the team as well. Mediocrity lowers everyone’s standards, and that’s a bad thing no matter how it’s diced.

Now you might ask, why is the sales development trainer and coach lobbying for hiring talent? Doesn’t she want to get more business by training the people who need it? Well, here’s the last truth – I’m a really good trainer and coach and committed to your sales people, too, but the best sales development in the world won’t work if you don’t have the right people. Give me trainable, talented, open-minded sales people, and I’ll help take them to the top.

2016 is closing fast, and as we look to 2017, I encourage you to take a hard and honest look at the results your sales people are bringing to the table.

Cheers to upgrading and non-attachment.

By Mary Anne Wampler,