Is Your Sales Team Operating at Just Half Their Potential?

13 Jun 24

Leaders acknowledge the importance of their commercial talent to their value creation goals—but many admit that they have yet to reach their full potential.

Based on SBI’s observations, most Sales teams operate at just half of their potential—and yours could be one of them. Data from our Q1 2024 CEO Survey found a significant gap in the percentage of CEOs who deemed talent factors critical to their value creation goals compared to their level of confidence in the ability of their commercial talent to deliver on those goals.

While over 80% of these CEOs believed in the importance of having the right people with the right skills in the right roles and spending their time in the right ways, only slightly more than half of those leaders were confident that their companies were getting it right.

CEO Ratings of Criticality and Adequancy of Contributors to Value Creation Goals

Why Aren’t Sales Teams Living up to Their Full Potential?

We believe that for companies to ensure highly productive commercial talent, all functions involved must rigorously treat the full talent lifecycle.

Do you already have profiles of ideal candidates in mind when sourcing for and hiring new talent? Do you use codified processes and playbooks when onboarding new talent? Is there an ongoing effort to help your talent develop their skills and work to get promoted? How do you use learnings from exiting talent to improve the talent lifecycle in your company further?

But the reality is that many companies don’t consider all these questions regarding talent acquisition and development—only some of them, at best. From the thousands of projects that SBI has worked on with clients, we’ve seen several recurring patterns that significantly impact commercial talent productivity:

  • The Sales Manager role is dysfunctional. Lack of proper onboarding or coaching creates inadequate sales managers, which trickles down to the rest of the Sales team.
  • Commercial roles aren’t clearly defined, resulting in talent spending time in ways that do not align with the company’s value creation goals.
  • Lack of A-players on the team. Quota attainment falls when sales leaders don’t know what success should look like and take too long to act on performance management.
  • Coverage leakage from poor time allocation. Performance falls when sellers spend too much time on admin tasks versus activities that create value, for example.
  • Sellers lack contemporary skills. When sellers aren’t equipped to keep up with changes in selling motions or the development of helpful technology, the yield per seller will not grow.

Drive a 5% to 25% Uplift in Productivity per Quota-Bearing Headcount

As the CEOs that responded to our survey correctly believed, for a company’s commercial talent to perform optimally and achieve their targets, they need the right people with the right skills in the right seats, allocating their time in the right ways.

SBI's Talent Map is our answer to helping clients improve commercial productivity in the shortest time—weeks or months instead of quarters or years.

Built from our experience and research on optimizing talent productivity, Talent Mapping gives your organization a data-driven approach to understanding your talent organization, identifying revenue gain opportunities, and creating a plan to develop a winning commercial team.

Here’s a preview of what the process looks like:

  1. Immediately identify revenue gain opportunities by mapping your entire Sales team on a single chart based on their performance and competency. Learn who your A-players are, who could benefit from training, and who may need to be transitioned out.
  2. Learn which approach is most used by your sales team and determine which of the four approaches would be the most effective for you in recruiting new talent or training existing talent.
  3. Create individual development plans for every Sales team member based on their performance.
  4. Identify the winning competencies of your top performers, which can be used to guide talent acquisition efforts or talent training plans.
  5. Figure out if your sales team spends optimal time. A time study can reveal if sellers have been overburdened with admin tasks, which could limit the amount of time they spend with potential customers.

Visit our website to learn more about our Talent Map solution. Your organization can start with a demo by booking a complimentary consultation with an SBI GTM expert today.


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