1. Additional headcount—With time to hire at 3 months and time to first sale at 6.5, you only have 1 quarter for their results to impact the top line in 2012. Not a good option.
  2. Improve Existing headcount—Take your existing team and make them more productive. Good option.


If you ask a sales manager about the importance of sales training, they will always respond and say it is critical. However, when you dig in and ask what is being done, there are gaps all over the place. If done right, a sales manager can pick up the 12% they need by improving their ‘B’ players. We believe ‘A’s should always be given the most attention and close to that are ‘B’s that can become ‘A’s.


Mitigation Plan—A  sales training programs that moves ‘B’ players to ‘A’ players has 4 components


  1. Classification– Define what an A/B/C player is in your organization. This should be based on what what they do (results)and  how they do it (competencies).
  2. Customization-You must have a tailored development plan focused on competency gaps. See the attached visual for the 4 key elements to a development plan


    Sales Training Competency Chart


  3. Consistency-Sales Managers need to ensure there is consistent reinforcement to develop B’s into A’s. The keys to the various forms of learning
    • Field rides—get in the field at least 4 times per quarter with all ‘B’ players
    • Role Plays—spend at least 2 hours per month in the classroom on developmental items
    • Education—ensure your team is reading and learning from outside sources
    • Peer to Peer—allow your ‘B’s to lean on ‘A’ players for peer to peer demonstration

  5. Cadence-Sales training cannot be an event. It is not a quarterly thing. It is an every week thing. The sales leaders that move the middle make skill improvement part of their daily routine. They never miss an opportunity to help their B’s progress.


Call to Action-


  1. Level Set–Pull out last year’s development plans and review them for completion.
  2. Simplify—work with each ‘B’ player on 2 competencies they need to improve upon in Q1 of 2012 using a simple template like the one provided.
  3. Commit—set a goal to move 50% of your ‘B’ players to ‘A’ players by the end of 2012. This is the true sign of your leadership.


2012’s results are dependent upon your sales training program’s ability to move the middle; if you are looking for a few talent management tips to help you get started, click here .


What is the most productive activity you have used to develop ‘B’ players into ‘A’ players?


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Matt Sharrers

Leads the firm's focus on the CEO’s role in accelerating revenue growth by embracing emerging best practices to grow revenue faster than the industry and competitors. 

Matt Sharrers is the CEO of SBI, a management consulting firm specialized in sales and marketing that is dedicated to helping you Make Your Number. Forbes recognizes SBI as one of The Best Management Consulting Firms in 2017.


Over the course of nearly a decade at SBI, Matt Sharrers was an instrumental early partner guiding SBI as the Senior Partner. Matt’s functional responsibilities included acting as the head of sales where he led SBI’s double-digit revenue growth, and was responsible for the hiring function to build SBI’s team of revenue generation experts.


Prior to joining SBI in 2009, Matt spent eleven years leading sales and marketing teams as a Vice President of Sales. Matt has “lived in the field.” As a result, he is the foremost expert in the art of separating fact from fiction as it relates to revenue growth best practices. CEOs and Private equity investors turn to Matt’s team at SBI when they need to unlock trapped growth inside of their companies.



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