Goldman Sachs is cautiously forecasting an economic improvement in Global Growth of 3.5% driven by financial incentives and improvement in the growth of the US GDP. Sales leaders look to an improving market as an opportunity to build stronger pipelines and increase their revenue results. Unfortunately, many sales organizations may face a talent shortage or lose top performers as a result of this market improvement.
The past several years have been a buyer’s market for talent. Salespeople stayed with organizations and tolerated the friction created by organizational drag due to limited opportunities. An improving market reverses this trend, and there is an expectation that it will become a seller’s market in the next few months. Top performing sales talent will be targeted by recruiters that will seek to lure them away with the promise of cultural fit, greater ability for income, and upward mobility. The threat is real and it will be realized quickly.
Many sales organizations have a win-rate of 25% or less and count on 30-40% of their sales team to help them accomplish the revenue plan. That means that they have a 75% (or greater) lose rate and have 60% of their sales organization failing to meet their assigned plan numbers on a consistent basis. It is critical to invest in the development of the entire team to improve results.
Now is the time to reach out to each of your top performers to protect them. The lesson is clear—do not take your salespeople for granted. If you can retain your A-grade talent, develop your B talent, and assess who is C talent for a potential performance discussion, sales leaders will help to insulate their organizations against devastating loss. But this will not be enough.
The problem is further escalated when you realize that new hires for replacement or expansion are a 50/50 proposition. Most sales leaders do not have certainty in the sales hiring process and it will take approximately 10-12 months to determine if they have successfully hired a consistent performer. This cycle can cripple a sales organization and place it in a negative spiral, forcing the team to act desperately to achieve their numbers. The average tenure of a sales leader has decreased from 24 months to 19 months and is attributed to the issue of talent—not managing or measuring it appropriately.
Talent Assessment is available to anyone interested in assessing potential performance BEFORE the hiring decision is made. It is also capable of comparison against competitors to determine where they hold a competitive advantage or are falling behind. If people truly are a company’s most important asset, competent sales talent is worth their weight in gold. The improvement in the global economy will bring rewards and risks. Leveraging the science of Talent Management is no longer an outlying leadership skill. The process is simple, straightforward, and critical. Sales leaders cannot rely on intuition or ineffective interviewing techniques…..they must leverage the science of Talent Management.
Unfortunately, many sales organizations over-rely on 30% of their salesforce to consistently achieve their plan, while 60-70% either fail or are inconsistent at best. Understanding key competencies that will accurately predict success is a solution to this perpetual issue. It may be time to engage a scientific approach to understand what great truly looks like and begin to hire and train to the competencies that make a difference.