You just wrapped up your first quarter review of the sales teams results. 80% of the number came from 20% of your reps. A select few are carrying the team trying to make the number. This type of activity is not sustainable. As the sales leader, you know that your sales managers tried everything. You are asking, “What is out there in the market that I’m not using?”
The only way to turn results around is by getting everyone to contribute. This post is about using role-plays to transfer key sales skills to your team. Doing this effectively balances production equally across the team. Download the Skills Development Guide to get started. Learn how to leverage role-playing as a way to increase team production. To access a comprehensive talent resource, review the People Plan phase of the sales strategy starting on page 285 of the PDF workbook.
Why is this important? Relying on the heroic efforts of a few eventually catches up with you. When 20% of the sales team produces 80% of the revenue, something is wrong. The labor expense associated with the sales team incurred by the company has to be justified, or a head count reduction is warranted. Tolerating under-performers, hiring mistakes, and very long new hire productivity cycles all lead to missed revenue targets — and job loss for the head of sales.
Why Role Plays?
- Reinforces Process- Having a well-defined sales process helps duplicate success. You have to demonstrate how to execute this process with your team. Doing this effectively increase deal velocity. In the field, reps will stumble. If not shown properly they will abandon the process.
- Teaches Agility – Not every sales call is the same. Showing mastery of key selling skills allows you to develop adaptability. You can better read the buyer on the spot. This allows you to align your selling activities with the buyer. This reduces friction in the buying process and facilitates a buying decision.
- Builds Credibility – You want your team to apply what you teach them. To do this effectively you have to show them. Demonstrating the process gives them confidence it can be done in the field. You have to practice what you preach.
- Uses Real Life Ammo – No scripted role-plays! You want real case studies from the field. The rep plays the buyer and uses real life scenarios from the previous week. Doing this consistently builds muscle memory for every situation a rep might encounter.
- Practice Makes Perfect – Even the top athletes still warm up and practice with the team. Selling is the same and you have to be sharpening your skills. Role-plays are the best means for a sales rep to practice their craft. By consistently practicing, you accelerate the development of your team.
How Does This Benefit You?
- Time – When team production is low it means you have to sell business. Spending time closing business only nets short-term results. You will be working long hours trying to catch up with your other responsibilities. Train your reps properly and you will have more time to effectively coach.
- Improve Results – Creating skilled sales reps improves overall team performance. This will not happen overnight, however you have to start somewhere. If you ignore training, you are only avoiding the issue. Frankly, your A players are tired of picking up the slack for the team.
- Career Progression – Leadership is watching how you develop your people. Ramp your team, hit the number and see how quickly you are promoted.
- Level of Effort – Anticipate when the team is going to miss the forecast. In order to avoid another miss you start spending time closing deals. You might land 1 or 2 deals that get you closer. This takes a high level of effort for a small return. Contrast with time spent training your people. The level of effort is high but the returns are greater.
You are time strapped and feel like you work harder than your team. To avoid this self-inflicted pain, coach for higher performance. Implement a systematic approach to change behavior. Download the Skills Development Guide and start coaching your people how to sell effectively. This will help move the needle on the 80% not producing to expectations. As a guide to go deeper, download our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017 and turn to the People Planning phase on pages 285 to 293 of the PDF workbook.