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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Does it Pay to Invest Resources in Bottom Performing or Top Performing Salespeople?


For most sales organizations, your sales team most likely represents a wide range of personalities, experience levels as well as performance levels. Organizations typically have top performers or “all stars” as well as those that struggle each month to meet their sales quota or budget for the month. If your organization has determined there are some areas where your sales team can perform better and resources of time and money are available, where do you invest these limited resources? Do you focus on coaching up your bottom performers, do you bring in new talent, or do you focus on maximizing the performance of your top performers?

Investing in Your Top Performers

If you are looking for the greatest return on money invested in your sales team it’s going to be keeping your top performers updated with the latest technology, sales training, and compensation structure. Let’s face it… keeping your top performing sales people happy and well compensated leads to more sales and revenue for your organization. Do everything you can to keep them happy and performing to their best ability. 

What About Bottom Sales Performers?

It’s often debated that it’s better to invest resources (time, money, training, technology, etc.) in the bottom or middle performing sellers to help bring them up towards the top performers in terms of meeting their quotas and sales budgets. While investing in training and technology can make someone struggling perform better, it’s usually not a great long term answer for most bottom performers. Let’s face it… if you have salespeople that struggle month after month or quarter after quarter to meet their quotas and you have spent time coaching them and providing them with the resources that they need to be successful with limited success, you are probably best letting them go and bringing in some new sales talent or assigning their accounts to a high performing seller that can grow the accounts and ensure renewals.

Hiring for Sales Talent

As a Sales Manager, if the scenario of letting bottom performing salespeople go after a certain period of non-performance makes you a little uncomfortable, it might be time to take a look at your hiring process and how it is you continue to hire bottom performers in the first place. Note that when I am referring to bottom performers, I am not referring to those that are performing well but just not as high as your top performers. No, I’m addressing those salespeople that are really struggling and having a difficult time to even make sales or come close to their quotas. The ones that you might sometimes have asked yourself, “How did this person get a job as a salesperson?”

Hopefully it’s not that bad where you work and you have some great salespeople. But if you are constantly struggling with the issue of what to do with bottom performers, it might be time to ask yourself if your hiring process is helping you or hurting you? A good hiring process identifies those with not just great personalities and charm, but truly spots those that have a talent for sales. Unlike a bottom performer without a talent for sales, someone with a talent for sales doesn’t give up when a prospect fails to return a call after 10 times and has the intuition as to when to put a proposal in front of a lead at the exact right time. These people are simply wired for sales and don’t need as much coaching or investment in training because they were born for sales. If you are not born to be a salesperson and don’t have a talent for it, sales can be a pretty harsh world.

If you don’t have a systematic process in place for knowing how to spot talent that’s something we do everyday. We help companies hire the most talented salespeople and then train them to be the best.  

Talent Resources

Topics: hiring salespeople sales training