15% of your 'C' players are diamonds in the rough that with the right coaching will perform as 'A' players.

Did you know that with the right coaching that 15% of your ‘C’ turn out to be your best ‘A’ players? Coaching them is extremely important. The first step is to find out how many ‘C’ Players you have on your team.


How exactly do you find these ‘diamonds’ in the coal mine that have the potential to become ‘A’ Players, and why should you care?


‘A’ players generate 5x more revenue than “B” players and 10x more than “C” players.


You need to assess your team to rank your reps.  Obviously quota attainment is the easiest predictor of grading an ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’ player.  However, there are more important metrics to consider:


  • Call Activity


  • Close Rate


  • Sales Cycle Length


  • Average Sales Price


  • ‘No Decision’ Loss Ratio


  • Selling Time Allocation


Measurement of these key basic metrics, along with your assessment based on sales competencies, should be your first attempt to assess your team.


Do you have ‘C’ players on your team?  Do you want to upgrade your team? Identify “A” Player Skill-sets by downloading and using our “A” Player Trait Scorecard to set a solid foundation for a highly skilled team.


For each competency required, construct scenario-based questions for them to answer or for observing in the field, it will allow you both a quantitative and qualitative assessment.  Without this type of analysis, you will let your personal ‘bias’ towards the person play in the decision to devote precious resources (your time) to the ‘C’ player.  You must remove this ‘friendship’ bias when assessing your team.  Loyalty, effort and camaraderie are important, but how important is it at the expense of lost revenue and your job?


Three ways to move ‘C’ players to ‘A’ players:


  1. Look in the mirror.


    Is this person your ‘friend’ and you don’t want to let them go?  Are they a long term employee who you feel loyalty to?  Is he or she a ‘good’ guy?


    Over 38% of lost productivity in a sales force are those ‘C’ players who are not effective anymore.  I have resigned from organizations just because of this ‘political’ environment in which executives protect these ‘C’ players.


    Resolving this issue in your company is the most important and most difficult in assessing, deciding and working with ‘C’ players.  To net it out, will your boss let you terminate this person?


  2. Get them off the couch.


    You must increase their selling time.


    What is selling time? Customer or Customer related activity.  Think of going on a sales call vs. doing an expense report. How much time do they actually sell?  World Class ‘A’ players spend over 73% of their time selling. Increase a ‘C’ player’s call activity.


    When their selling time increases, funny things start to happen.  The increased customer interaction means more personal rejection for the sales rep. It means using selling skills.  It means more on the job learning.  And it will quickly help you determine what ‘C’ player is actually worth your time and attention.


  3. Push them.


    This may require you to be a jerk.  Lets face it, they should be fighting for their job.


    Don’t be abusive in any way, simply hold them accountable for the metrics.


    Not sure of what to do?  Here is a guide of what to expect to keep things focused on objective performance and avoid getting personal:


  • Metric
    • Minimum required activity


  • Call Activity
    • No less than 5 customer interactions per day


  • Close Rate
    • Must be at least 35% (Benchmark numbers have this in the Percentage in the bottom quartile)


  • Sales Cycle Length
    • No MORE than 25% above the average for your sales force


  • Average Sales Price
    • No LESS than 25% of the sale force average


  • ‘No Decision’ Loss Ratio
    • No MORE than 25% of the sales force average


  • Selling Time Allocation
    • No less than 60% of their time


You must be sure to set these goals and monitor them.  After 3 weeks, you will know if you should work with them on a continued basis or begin the exit strategy, which includes sourcing a new sales rep to fill their role. The key is consistent upgrading of talent.  It is a process that never ends.


Once you have applied coaching to your ‘C’ players and you haven’t seen improvement, then it’s time to act.  Review this recent article titled; 3 Reasons ‘C’ Players Must Go.


Upgrading ‘C’ players is difficult. In a past role I hired a sales manager for my worst performing district. He had 7 ‘C’ players out of 7 total team members. His team hit only 25% of quota the year before. Their closing rate was the lowest of 175 sales teams.  A week on the job he called me up to resign.  But instead of quitting, my new manager made a commitment.  He decided to hold himself and his sales reps accountable to the exact same principles above.  So, a year later his team was the top performing district in the company.  He fired 2 of the 7 reps, hired 2 ‘A’ players and took the remaining 3 sales reps to Presidents Club.  He coached the ‘C’ players either up or out.  This sales manager has since left that company for a big VP of Sales promotion.


If you would like help with this subject, come see the SBI leadership team in Dallas at The Studio, SBI’s state-of-the-art executive briefing center. A visit to The Studio typically results in getting 3 months of work done in 3 days. The immersive sessions accelerate everything, dramatically reducing the time it takes to diagnose a problem, develop a solution, and create an implementation plan.


Do you have ‘C’ players on your team?  Do you want to upgrade your team? Identify “A” Player Skill-sets by downloading and using our “A” Player Trait Scorecard to set a solid foundation for a highly skilled team.



Additional Resources


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