Across a 2 month study, we asked sales leadership who’s ultimately responsible for the productivity of individual reps — and it wasn’t surprising to hear that the buck stops with sales managers.
When we zeroed in on the perennial issues that sales leaders care about, two constants emerged:
- Increasing new-hire time to productivity
- Shifting low and middle performers to high performers
Again, nothing earth-shattering here. After all, just 55% of new hire sellers will end up being successful — and the average business loses 29% of its sales reps annually vs. an “ideal” attrition rate of 15% or less.
Don’t forget that every time you lose a rep you pay the price: According to Forrester, the total loss of sales productivity each time a B2B rep turns over comes to more than $200,000 — not to mention the 4.3 months (on average) that it takes to hire and onboard a new seller. This means adding more to the to-do lists of already-taxed frontline managers who have limited time to coach in the first place.
When it comes to moving the needle with low and middle performers, the case is also pretty straightforward: Thanks to Gartner, we know that just a 5% improvement in the performance of your core reps can lead to a 70% increase in revenue.
However, just because the business case seems straightforward doesn’t mean the reality is a perfect match.
Be honest with us — what sounds like more fun? Setting the new hire up on Slack? Or riding shotgun with one of your high performers and closing the biggest deal of quarter?
If you answered “Slack,” we congratulate you. But… we also bet that you see the appeal of the second scenario. It piqued our curiosity, so we set out to learn how sales leaders evaluate the tenure and performance of their teams vs. where managers are actually spending their time — and how critical these questions of time spend are to their future success.
Too Many First Year Sellers are Being Left Behind
For this study we primarily spoke to Mid-Market (500-2000 employees) and Enterprise (>2000 employees) – 80% of participants. Nearly half the leaders we spoke to in these organizations were most likely to have a span of control of 5-20 frontline managers.
While 63% of participants said they had far more middle performers than high and low performers, when we added in tenure to the equation the story shifted. First year sellers were disproportionately low performers, while tenured performers were disproportionately high performers.
70% of participants had at least 30% of their sellers in the first year. Meanwhile, participants reported a 52% improvement in % of sellers achieving goal after the first year – 36% in year 1 vs. 54% post.
If new hire success rates don’t improve, growth rates will stall. As one sales leader shared, “we can’t continue to assign more and more quota to our tenured reps.”
Manager Time is Misallocated
Our brains are hardwired to resist change — and with economic uncertainty still top-of-mind, the instinct to table large initiatives is understandable.
But what if the data was too compelling to ignore? If you had a dashboard that instantly showed you that the overwhelming majority of frontline manager efforts — across your entire sales organization — are being directed at tenured, high-performing reps, could you turn aside the potential sales productivity gains? In our experience, visualizing the opportunity in real-time makes all the difference.
Maybe your organization’s data won’t perfectly match the sample above, but we’re convinced from the study there’s a meaningful opportunity to shift management capacity to get a greater return. Plus, we’re willing to bet that you’ve had your suspicions this entire time.
In fact, 74.3% of sales leaders characterized the delta between who (reps) and where (sales stages) managers are spending time vs. who and where they should be spending time as “medium” or “large.” By shifting manager time spend, sales leaders believe there will be a dramatic increase in productivity, with 94.3% saying that they believed the difference would mean a “medium impact” or “large impact.”
It all starts with having the right data at your fingertips — the kind that makes even the most arduous-seeming change initiatives too impactful to pass up.
The Right Sales Tech
With help from CT Connect, sales leaders gain the benefit of instantly seeing who and where frontline managers are spending their time. Sales managers can make better use of their time by:
- Shifting to focus on engaging new hires and middle performers
- Allocating more time to top-of-funnel interactions
- Identifying and improving the selling behaviors that matter most
CT Connect helps sales organizations drive productivity by making change initiatives easier through:
Identifying Coaching Opportunities: Keep crucial information top-of-mind with snapshots that show a team’s tenure and sales performance — enabling managers to identify critical coaching opportunities for specific team members.
Improving Feedback: Give sellers the information they need with a framework that ensures managers are evaluating the behaviors that correlate to increased sales performance.
Tracking ROI: Use executive leadership analytics and reporting features to correlate coaching to better win rates and goal attainment.