clock-95330_640All sales reps need coaching and guidance, but rainmakers deserve extra attention.

The sales manager announces the top performers of the year. Drum roll, please. The “winners” learn the exotic location of the President’s Club. Applause resounds throughout the building as these sales champions are paraded like Superbowl winning gods across the sales floor. The rest of the team looks longingly on as their new super sales heroes march off; obviously they don’t have anything left to learn.

Now it’s up to the sales manager to coach, motivate, and incent everyone else—the average performers.

This is how it’s always worked in most sales organizations. But new research shows we might have been doing it wrong all along. When it comes to coaching, are we focusing on the wrong group? Does increasing sales and revenue require spending more time with those who are already the top performers?

We All Have Room to Grow

Retaining top talent is an ongoing battle for any sales organization. All team members need a coach to raise the bar, to challenge and push them outside of their comfort zones, and to help them get to the next rung on their career ladders. Top salespeople—and those with high potential—thrive on new goals and value learning from the best. Achieving President’s Club alone won’t be the reason they stay. Opportunities to grow, learn, and advance are much better incentives.

Want Proof?

In “Why Top Sales Performers Need You the Most,” Andrew Urteaga of Sales Benchmark Index shares some surprising data about sales coaching. He writes:

Time allocation is the most difficult decision a Sales Manager faces every day.  Trying to decide how to balance between the team and corporate.  The Sales Manager has become one of the most difficult jobs in corporate America.

Furthermore, how should a Sales Manager split their time inside the team?  Ask most Sales Manager’s and they will give you one of two answers.  Focus on the middle 60% or focus on the bottom 20% to improve performance.  This leaves your top performers on their own.  Is this correct?  No.  This will push your top people out the door. (Read the rest of the article.)

Urteaga goes on to explain the pitfalls of neglecting top performers and the benefits of coaching them. One of my favorite insights: “Most Sales Managers think of coaching as strictly fixing something … In fact, sales coaching can be about leveraging strengths as well as improving deficiencies.”

Invest more time into making your best and brightest even better and brighter. Bookmark this post and come back to share your results. Your story might even show up in a future No More Cold Calling blog post.

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