Last week I wrote a blog (http://asalesguyrecruiting.com/2014/09/02/the-8020-rule-in-sales-is-stupid/) about how I think the 80/20 rule in sales is stupid. The point I tried to make was that sales managers/Directors/VPs (whatever title you have) should not accept the rule and not allow the majority of their sales force to underperform. I loved the back and forth debate that resulted and have decided to write a short series of my opinion on how to turn around the 80%ers and make them more successful. Part 1 (today) is about understanding/evaluating the individual sales person Part 2 (9/16) will be about why many exceptional sales people make horrible sales managers Part 3 (9/23) will be about the process needed for sales success Part 4 (9/30) will be about how to put the entire process together to increase productivity of the 80%ers As a small business consultant, the first thing I do when I have been hired to turn around a broken sales team is give every person a survey questionnaire. One specific question asks them to tell me the three things they would change if they were the CEO. Another question is “do you feel your suggestions/ideas are being heard by management?” This gives me a baseline of the person and an understanding of what they consider the good, bad, and the ugly of their department/company. I then take this information and using the SPIN selling process, interview the sales people, managers, and key decision makers for the company. What I am looking for is the Situation (why the sales person has this job), the Problem (why they are one of your 80%ers), the Implication (how much they cost you in revenue and how happy/unhappy they are in their role), and finally the Needs Payout (what they can do if they have the right motivation and process). The next thing I do is to find out what specific motivation each person has. See my blog (http://asalesguyrecruiting.com/2014/04/22/push-my-button-please/) on the different types of motivators people have. People are driven or motivated by many different things, the most common are money, praise/accolades, advancement, or flexibility. Once you understand this you can “push their button”. You often have elements of several involved in a person’s motivation, but one should be the overall driving factor. Now, let’s put this all together and see what we have. I know the sales person’s emotional feelings on the company, what they would do to change what they don’t like, and what drives them in life. Sometimes with a large enough team, I would immediately have changes that need to be made as a company in order to improve sales. Other times, I would find people in sales roles that needed to be set free to pursue their life’s goals (fired). From this “evaluation”, I can lay out a plan on how to motivate each person. This is not an easy process and takes considerable time. For a sales manager wanting to improve sales though, it is vital to creating success from your 80%ers. Stay tuned for next week’s addition to the series.