The question was:
“What evaluation criteria do you use when considering a rep position?”
Top reps, those in the top 25%, answered this question differently than the general population.
1. Territory Assignment
“A” player reps are looking for territories with lots of potential. The days of assigning a territory based on some basic dimension, such as geography, are fading quickly. The best reps want to work for companies who can show them, down to the account level, how much revenue potential exists. Our sales consulting research revealed top reps are likely to ask about CAGR for each account, relative market share vs. each competitor by account, consumption patterns for each customer, seasonality impact, likely trigger events for the patch, etc.
In contrast, the “average” reps look for more basic dimensions, such as geographical boundaries (zip codes), # of accounts, or size of the install base. If you are having trouble separating the “real McCoy” from a wannabe during an interview, pay attention to the questions they ask about the territory.
2. Quota Assignment
The best reps do not waste one second on arguing whether the quota is too large. Our sales consulting research suggests they spend their time determining if the quota accurately reflects the territory. Top reps welcome a large quota, if it was set correctly. If they can see the relationship between the potential of the territory and the size of the quota, the bigger the quota the better. It suggests a better territory.
In contrast, the middle of the pack sales reps will tell you the quota is unreasonable, regardless of its size. They do not understand how to determine the potential of a territory. Therefore, they do not have any context upon which to place the quota. When you hand out quotas at kickoff in January, listen to who complains and who seeks to understand. This will tell you a lot.
3. Incentive Compensation Plan
The sales consulting research revealed that comp, often thought to be the most important job attribute for top sales people, is third. Professional sales people want to be paid above market for producing outstanding results. However, they realize that the money they earn is a factor of the territory and quota they have been assigned. They are looking for a well-designed compensation plan, which, is one that is tied to the territory and the quota.
In contrast, below average sales people are looking for high base salaries and extended draws. If you are being asked questions like these, this should be a sign you are not talking to a top rep.
No one likes to work for a jerk. Unfortunately, there are many sale managers that would be described as such, given the rest of you superstars, a bad rap. The sales consulting research suggests that the best reps are never in the market for a job. They are what is known as “passive job seekers”. Because they are often students of their craft, they can spot opportunities. When they see an under developed territory with poor sales representation, they find a way to get introduced to the sales manager in charge. If they come across a sales manager who understands they are there to make the rep successful, the conversation will continue. If they come across a sales manager who is focused on himself, the conversation dies out.
In contrast, the run of the mill reps do not understand the value of a great sales manager. Therefore, they do not seek to evaluate the quality of the sales manager. In your next job interview, if you do not feel as if you are the one being interviewed, you are wasting your time with a “C” player.
What happens to you if you ignore this sales consulting research?
You fill your organizational chart with average-to-below average rep talent, and you know what that means. As they say “You are only as good as your people.”
Most sales leaders, those of you reading this post, are measured and paid based on how well your team produces. If you have a team consisting of “C” players, you are running uphill. In fact, “A” players outperform “C” players by 3x-5x. I want you all to be successful. Please do not ignore this sales consulting research.
How can you attract the best to be on your team?
Put these 4 attributes to work for you. Stack your team with superstars. I have provided you with a list of resources below.
If you leverage some of the resources I have provided above, and have some questions, give me a ring. And remember, sales consulting research is useless unless the findings are put use. Good luck.