But you asked what that really means.  Last year we surveyed over 12,500 sales reps and 4,500 sales leaders. (Click here to view that research)  When we asked that question they answered:  “My boss cares only about himself.”


Some interesting quotes from our conversations with these sales reps and leaders:


  • “Making money is the reason I joined.  But after a while the competition is recruiting me and their cash is just the same.  The only other reason to stay is my boss.  Does he really care about me or am I a hired gun?”
  • “Do I have a future here?  Does my boss have a future?  If my boss doesn’t and I work for him, then I probably don’t either.”
  • “Career development is the key to success.  If I am not learning something new, I might miss my quota. I will become that old sales guy in the movies: washed up, broke and desperate. Your boss is as important as your patch.”


Does this remind you of your sales reps? Are you developing your sales leaders into the next Sales VP? Do you really care about your sales team and want to develop them? Don’t make these mistakes:


  1. Never Perform a Benchmarked Talent Assessment.  Just use the assessments HR gives you. The ones that grade personal attributes like interpersonal skills, communication or ethics. Those that have nothing to do with the actual job.  And never compare yourself against a peer group.  Why care who your competitors are hiring.  They don’t take that much business from us. (Download a Best in Class Talent Assessment here. It will grade someone on the competencies required in the job)


    sales manager competency chart


  2. Forget about Creating Individual Development Profiles.  Just hire sales reps to sell business (a.k.a. mercenaries). Individual development is their responsibility. Why would I want to focus on improvement for my team?  If they don’t make the number, I can just fire them. (Below you can see a sample Individual Development Profile that does focus on development.)


  3. Only use Company material to develop them.  Company internal content has all the rep needs to know to grow. Only have them read product material or HR content on the Sharepoint site.  New capability acquisition should come from the company, not outside material. (Below is a sample of our Career Action Planning Library. Notice the external content used for development)


    career action planning


  4. No use of Internal Personas. Don’t develop or use any internal personas.  You were a sales rep before.  You know how they think, act and do. Understanding how they react to coaching and development is a waste of time. (Below is an example of a sales focused Persona used in coaching and development)


    sales rep persona


Does this sound ridiculous?  I consistently observe these horrible behaviors every day on sales teams.  Sales VPs don’t assess their people regularly. They use competencies not tied to the actual job. They try to develop reps using only internal material.  And they assume the world hasn’t changed since they were a rep.  No wonder why sales turnover rates in poorly managed companies are above 50%.  But it can be quickly corrected.


Gabriel Alvarado did something about it. He was not happy with his sales team’s turnover (50 %+) and quota achievement (