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Enabling Sales Talent: Growing the 'A' Team

“Your goal shouldn't be to buy players. Your goal should be to buy wins.” – from ‘Moneyball’, 2012 

It isn’t a coincidence that the teams still playing baseball in mid-October have payrolls that are among the top 10 of all MLB teams. Grow it or buy it…but you got to have talent to succeed.

 

Buying talent – particularly experienced high performers – is expensive. As a result, many of the senior sales executives we have spoken with indicate that they are looking to balance new talent acquisition with talent development. These executives recognize that productivity gains among a small portion of their average performing sales professionals can make it easier to meet and exceed the sales commitments they have made to their organizations.

 

Budget plans for 2018 appear to reflect this mindset. SiriusDecisions recently reported that more than 70% of ‘high performing organizations’ are planning on increasing Sales Enablement budgets for 2018.

 

Increases in Sales Enablement budgets often result in fiscal year plans featuring more comprehensive computer-based and/or instructor led sales training programs. We are strong advocates of formal, targeted sales training programs and have helped sales executives identify and deploy formal programming that addresses sales performance challenges.

 

We also recognize, however, that 80% of corporate learning is informal (Peter Henschel, Executive Director of the Institute for Research on Learning, 2001) and more than 70% of adult learners find or seek information on their own initiative (eLearning Guild, 2005). These findings suggest that investments in relevant, accessible informal and social sales enablement resources and the navigational aids that make them easier to find may be needed to optimize results and return on investment.

 

Additionally, our experience is that the effective development of average performers – specifically, learning that advances and sustains sales and professional skills, behaviors and knowledge that improve productivity and career advancement – differs for different sales professionals. What works best for one sales professional is often not as effective for another.

 

Identifying the relevant and necessary informal and social resources that can support the diverse needs of average performers requires visibility into their selling, operational, leadership, and administrative strengths, areas for improvement, and gaps relative to those of your “A” sales professionals. Budget dollars may then be more effectively allocated to help average performers “learn at the speed of need” and effectively navigate the formal, informal, and social learning resources available to them. 

 

Roadmap Diagnostics’ tools provide the quantitative and qualitative information that assist in formulating a prescriptive, prioritized approach to the challenge of organic sales talent development. An informed approach ensures that the individual learning maps and coaching plans you and your team develop produces sustainable sales productivity increases.   

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