Leaders: Here’s Why Your Sellers Are Underperforming

1 Mar 24

The sellers that worked in the past may now be holding you back, but why did they stop excelling and what would be the next step?

CEOs want to retain the playmakers and managers that have proven themselves in the past. But for many companies, their talent may now be holding them back. It goes beyond tech augmentations and enablement, it is the fundamental hiring framework that is flawed. How has sales evolved from the past, and what should leaders look for when finding new talent?

To help growth leaders navigate evolving talent frameworks and customer demands, SBI organized a discussion between Mike Hoffman, SBI CEO, and Nick Toman, SBI Chief Strategy and Product Officer, exploring the evolving requirements of sales functions and how outdated talent frameworks could be slowing companies down.

The Good Days are Over

“For two years there we were just getting anybody into seat we could and sort of doing our best. And the shift moved from great talent towards, well, how do we digitally enable them, how do we make them talking puppets effectively run the process?”

The great resignation had changed how leaders handled sales talent. The key was ramping up sales operations. It was about expanding the sales team, adding headcount, and giving them the best tools the industry had to offer. Because no matter who was in the front, they could be empowered to deliver value to the company.

“What was the number one thing boards we're telling companies do to grow, right? Oh yeah, go hire more salespeople. It was a simple formula for a long time there because demand was good, the times were good, and with certainty you could put a warm body into place and something positive was generated.”

But it wasn’t to be.

New Customers Demand New Proficiencies

“We got lazy in the great resignation from a hiring standpoint. We got lazy, you know, oh, my gosh, you know, they've got two years’ experience in our sector? Fine, bring them in, give them a territory, because having somebody in seat is better than not having anybody in the seat.”

“And while economically there might be some truth to that, I think we're paying a price today. And you look at the sales managers who now are in place, they got those battlefield promotions during the great resignation and they're carrying terrible biases and terrible understanding of who to hire into their roles.”

With more conservative buyers and slowing deal cycles, leaders are now faced with the prospect of having the right people for the wrong customers. Hence, sales leaders need to take a critical eye to their reps and focus on what customers want from their sellers to drive win rates. Enable the traits that resonate with their customers, and be ready to reallocate the sellers that may not be performing anymore.

“Either those individuals kind of got lazy and that does happen. We do see that, right? There's instruments we can we could put in place to kind of see some of that, or the market conditions, the buying conditions have changed and they just haven't, they haven't kept pace.”

“And either we need to move them in a to a different role or, you know, maybe we need to show them the door.”

Tune into the full conversation in Episode 10 of the GTM Value Creation Corner Podcast. Listen to the podcast here.


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