Why & How to ?Clone? Your Top Performers

Who is your best rep? Wouldn?t you like to clone him or her? If there was ever a time when you needed to clone the behavior of your top salespeople, it?s now. Firstly, your best reps account for the bulk of your business. Studies show that the top 20% of a sales organization generates upward of 60% of its revenue. Secondly, relying only on your top reps to make the team’s quota is not a winning formula. CSO Insights reported that in 2009 only 52% of reps made their quota. That?s the worst performance in the 16 years the research firm has been tracking the metric. And it is only getting tougher because in 2010, according to the same study, 85% of companies raised their targets. So getting the rest of the team to act and perform like your high achievers could substantially move the needle toward the green zone of your ?percent-of-quota? Dashboard.

In lieu of ?cloning?, what else can you do to transform your sales organization to become more effective and performant? One strategy is to try to ?buy? talent by spending top dollar to hire industry-experienced sales reps with proven track records. The problem with this approach is that it?s expensive and not scalable because, like in professional team sports, there are only so many high-impact free agents on the market. Another alternative is to hire a sales methodology training firm to try to infuse your sales organization with a new way to sell. A viable option except that it suffers from one significant limitation, namely, it?s not your methodology.

We believe that your sales methodology should be exclusive to you, and stem from your best practices, taking into account your company?s unique sales culture, talent, business, and strategic objectives; not based on one that is externally-branded and tries to squeeze you into a one-size-fits-all formula. In a world of increasingly commoditized products, the Sales function, one could argue, is the most critical component of the value chain for B2B companies. Instead of using a third-party sales methodology that hundreds of other companies are already using or can easily replicate and, worse yet, that buy-side executives have grown weary of hearing, we suggest you instead develop your own so you can turn how you sell into a competitive advantage. Your best and most knowledgeable sales methodology trainers already work for you. Help them help you.

?Cloning? your top reps’ best practices is how you transform your sales organization from the inside out, and start to develop a methodology that is uniquely yours, and hence more likely to be adopted and have an impact on performance. To do this, best-in-class sales organizations assemble and interview the reps at the top of their leaderboards to identify and document what best practices they effect at each stage of the sales process, then disseminate these learnings through some combination of playbooks, training, certification programs, and CRM-enabled reinforcement.

Use of technology-based sales playbooks help make the top performers’ best practices easily accessible by the rest of the sales organization. A methodically-developed and well-constructed sales playbook captures and codifies your A-players’ best practices, messaging, content, and tools so all your salespeople can easily find and apply them at each stage of your sales process to more effectively advance and close business. These solutions are particularly useful for large sales organizations that have a high percentage of salespeople remotely located.

The key, we believe, to ?cloning your best salespeople? is to initiate a program to systematically identify what it is that they say, ask, do, and use throughout your sales process, and then document and organize these learnings in the form of a digital playbook that makes it easy for the rest of the team to follow the lead of your heavy hitters and boost your performance in the process.

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