Can Top Sales Performers Be Duplicated? (Sam vs. Jen)

Moderator:
Can top sales performers be duplicated?

Sam:
Top performers always carry two qualities: a positive attitude and strong discipline. These two critical qualities cannot come from reading a book; they must be developed through experience and by overcoming challenges. So the real question is whether you can duplicate attitude and discipline. I believe that they can be influenced. They key drivers of attitude are vision and motivation. Good sales managers will identify ways to communicate a compelling vision and keep their team motivated. The key driver for discipline is accountability. This comes with regular communication and visibility of the right metrics. In short, top sales performers cannot be duplicated, but good sales performers can be inspired to be their best.

Jen:
Top sales performers must possess a combination of talent and skill. You can teach skill, but you can’t teach talent. I have seen many sales managers try to turn average performers into superstars. It’s like trying to turn a chicken into an eagle! You can teach it to flap its wings, but it still will not fly. You can teach a sale rep a thousand skills, but they will not compensate for a lack of talent. Managers struggle with this, because you cannot measure talent. So when you build your sales team hire people with talent, then you can teach them the skills they need to become top performers. If they lack talent to begin with, then they will become average at best.

Readers, what do you think? Can top sales performers be duplicated? Post your comments.

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2 Responses to Can Top Sales Performers Be Duplicated? (Sam vs. Jen)

  1. ccopple says:

    I actually saw a presentation at the Miller Heiman Client Summit in Princeton that touched on a similar topic. Tom Disantis from the Sales Executive Council discussed “Replicating the New High Performer,” and he had some interesting data to share. The Sales Executive Council found that today’s top performers fall under what Tom called the “Challenger” type personality. While that term may sound a bit harsh, the general definition of this person is someone who teaches his/her customers something new about their business and isn’t afraid to challenge the customer.

    These people do not lead with product, but have a great understanding of the business problems their customers face and can bring that knowledge to the table to help a customer think differently about his/her business. I thought this seemed logical, but it did challenge the notion that the sales rep who necessary works the most hours or is the most disciplined is always a top performer. Essentially, it’s your smart/consultative reps who are really the ones out there winning.

    While much of an “A” player’s performance is a matter of talent, I have seen some of our clients enable reps to move to a more consultative approach through training, messaging, and support/Sales Enablement that brings the conversation up a level and helps reps learn how to tie their products to higher level business needs. Will every rep get this approach and be able to execute it? No, but having the infrastructure in place to help them get there will surely lend a hand to at least a few of your “B” players out there.

  2. SalesMgr says:

    Jen: how do you identify ‘talent’ in your recruitment process? Can you ensure you only recruit talent?

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