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3 min read
Welcome back to The Weekly Pitch! In this week's Feature Story, we uncover a blindspot for sales teams – thinking our reps who hit their annual goals are engaged and committed. The data says not so.
In The Closer, we link to two attention-grabbing LinkedIn posts and share two articles related to conducting better 1:1s with our teams and keeping them engaged.
Let's dive in with our chart of the week.
This anonymized data set comes from analyzing three sizeable global technology companies with sales organizations ranging in size from 100 to 1,000 reps.*
Sales reps at 80-124% to their goal are the least engaged, signaling extra support and attention given by managers to the top and bottom performers.
Those sellers almost to, right at, or just beyond their goal are being forgotten.
In sales, high performers fly high – they rake in big commission checks (sometimes making more than the head of sales), book that "Club" ticket mid-year to some exotic getaway, and soak in praise company-wide from executives. Their engagement, defined as the commitment, connection, and enthusiasm to the organization, tends to be high. About half of our high-performing reps are fully engaged.
Low performers, however, still show shockingly high levels of engagement too. The reps in the middle? Less than one in three are fully engaged. The data tells us sales leaders give the top and bottom performers extra support and attention but hang out to dry those in the middle. Let's break down why.
Thousands of reps responded to an engagement survey that included a subset of sales-specific statements to rate. Two, in particular, tell us why these low-performing sellers are more engaged than those right around hitting their target.
(#1) From the survey statement, “In more difficult sales situations, I receive extra help from my manager,” the number of employees from these groups who strongly agree:
Struggling account executives not even halfway to their annual quota feel like they get as much extra support as those star reps hitting 150% or more of their target. Sales managers are investing in underperformers, but unfortunately, it's at the expense of those reps in the middle.
(#2) From the survey statement, “I get recognized for my non-closing sales activity,” the number of employees from these groups who strongly agree:
Almost three in ten underperformers strongly believe sales managers notice their non-closing behavior. Recognition for doing the right things for newer reps or those sellers in a slump is undoubtedly a sign of good coaching.
However, not even one in ten who are right around hitting their quota believe they're getting noticed. Our reps in the middle of the road do just enough to make us happy that we tend to forget about them. Whether it's a "squeaky wheel gets the oil" habit or an intense focus to keep our star performers happy, the account executives in the middle need more of our time.
No shortage of research and resources tells us our best shot at increasing overall sales performance is to move the middle performers on the bell curve. This week, let's recognize them for their non-closing activity and send a quick note offering support in more complex deal cycles. Doing so should increase their engagement, enthusiasm, and commitment to our sales teams.
In this current job market, the middle reps are arguably most at risk for leaving. But we can prevent that from happening by showering them with more attention.
Before we go, two LinkedIn posts and two articles grabbed our attention:
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