It’s still true: Your company’s people are the key to its success. You need the right people in the right places.


Performance conditions matter, of course. Weak players in ideal situations are still weak players. Strong performers in poor circumstances will get below standard results. Good talent and good performance conditions are the recipe for success. But let’s set performance conditions aside now. It’s time to look at the talent side of the equation. How strong is your staff? Will your team hit the 2018 number?


That comes down to your people plan talent strategy. In this post, we’ll look at this critical area of business operations. Access a complete resource of emerging best practices to develop sales talent, by reviewing the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook. Flip to the People Plan phase starting on page 367.


It’s important to recognize talent strategy isn’t about one role, or one department. Product, Marketing, Sales – every functional area is involved. After all, everyone contributes to revenue generation and the company’s success. This is where talent strategy comes in.


Get the Best Marketing and Sales Pros

We use talent strategy to recruit and retain top marketing and sales executives. Comparisons to HR are probably inevitable. But talent strategy is more comprehensive and, as we practice it, highly profession-specific. Benchmarks are in place, and the approach employs a global perspective.


Talent strategy isn’t about filling vacancies. It’s about building a powerhouse team of leaders you can be confident will perform.


Seven Concrete Steps


That’s easier said than done, of course. Still, in seven well-defined steps, you can execute an effective talent strategy. They are profiles, assessments, sourcing, hiring, on-boarding, talent development and succession planning.


Here they are in capsule form, along with a few questions pertinent to each.


1. Develop a profile for your “A” player in each revenue generation role.

  • What competencies and accountabilities go into our hiring profile?
  • What are we willing to pay for this hiring profile?


2. Assess all team members against your profiles to spot talent strengths and gaps.

  • How are the assessments going to be conducted? Download the “A” Player Trait Scorecard to help you get started.
  • What is our development plan for closing gaps uncovered in the talent assessments.


3. Actively source talent for current or future corporate, product, marketing and sales openings.

  • How do we blend traditional sourcing and modern social techniques?
  • How do we reduce the time to put an “A” player in an open position?


4. Hire the top talent to execute all your business strategies.

  • Who is responsible for running the hiring process?
  • Who is responsible for making a hiring decision?


5. Bring newcomers on-board with information and behavior expectations, to shorten their path to productivity.

  • How do we apply what we learn from hiring to develop a ramp-up plan?
  • Who is responsible for ramping up a new hire?


6. Create a talent development plan for each revenue growth team member.

  • What sales coaching program do we need to reinforce the right behaviors?
  • How do we measure the impact of our talent development program?


7. Design a succession plan and cultivate team members you expect to be future leaders.

  • How do we identify internal candidates to place on the succession plan?
  • How do we transition candidates when the time is right?


The Beauty of Strategic Alignment

Be sure to align each of these with your other business strategies:


  1. Corporate strategy – which determines the kind of talent needed to meet corporate objectives
  2. Product strategy – which spots the developers who address the problems your line will solve
  3. Marketing strategy – which identifies the people who handle creative needs and nurture leads
  4. Sales strategy – which defines your reps and how they’ll take your products to market


Let us show you how to use this to make your number. Use this interactive tool to diagnose your strategy. Then request an SBI strategist to review your findings.


Become expert at applying talent strategy to make your 2018 an outstanding year. You’re not just hiring for a job. Create a talent strategy and build a company. Now, next year and every year.


Sales Revenue Growth


Aaron Bartels

Helps clients solve the most difficult challenges standing in the way of making their number.

He founded Sales Benchmark Index (SBI) with Greg Alexander and Mike Drapeau to help business to business (B2B) leaders make the number. The world’s most respected companies have put their trust in and hired SBI. SBI uses the benchmarking method to accelerate their rate of revenue growth. As an execution based firm, SBI drives field adoption and business results.

His clients describe him as a consultant who:


“Makes transformational impacts on me, my people and my business”


“Solves my most difficult problems that to date we have been unable to solve ourselves”


“Brings clarity to an environment of chaos”


“Has real world sales operations experience making him qualified to advise us on a variety of sales and marketing challenges”


“Is able to spot proven best practices that once implemented will make a material impact on my business”


“Constantly challenges status quo and compels us to act”


“Focuses on execution and driving change to stick in our environment”


“Makes good on his promises while enabling our business to realize his projected results”

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