Sales & Sales Management Expertise

My Dad’s Pick Up Truck & Driving Sales Growth

Tags: sales talent, driving sales, sales competency, running sales organizations


I’ve been working on this post for a week; for some reason, it took a little while to pull it all together. I think I was making it too complicated, so here it goes:

  • In 1971, my dad got his new pickup truck, a powder blue IH 1210.
  • Dad “pimped his ride” by installing an 8-track player with Panasonic speakers.
  • My dad was a slow driver. No matter where we were going or how far, he’d drive 45 mph even when the speed limit allowed 55. 
  • I thought it was a result of his old beater of a pickup.
  • I thought for sure he’d drive faster with his new truck.
  • Nope, he still drove 45 mph in a 55 mph zone.

I’ve been trying to connect this experience with the experience of watching sales organizations look for solutions to drive revenue growth.  Like an engine that needs three things to run, your sales organization needs three things to run.

Spark, fuel and combustion are required to start an engine and make it run. If you have those things, the engine will run.  Get all three at a grade “A” level and the engine runs really well.  If you want the vehicle that the engine is meant to move to perform at “A” level, you need something else.  You need a driver.

Not just any driver; you need a driver that has two things:  Competency and Drive.  Certainly, there are other contributing factors that determine if the driver is right for your vehicle, but basically speaking:

  • Without competency, you might go fast, but there will be lots of damage, crashes and failures.
  • Without drive, there won’t be any risk taken, no failures and, therefore, no success.
  • Without drive, then there will be a lack of coach-ability and trainability.

My point here is this:  The engine size, the transmission, the gear ratios, the tires, the steering, the paint job, the aerodynamics… none of these things really matter if you don’t have a driver or a team of drivers with competency and drive.

When you get ready to put your budget together and are considering where to invest money, time and effort in order to drive revenue growth, focus on three things:

  1. Sales Talent acquisition
  2. Sales Talent development
  3. A Crew Chief with desire, commitment and skills

CRM and other sales enablement tools are nice but, just like my dad’s new pickup, it doesn’t matter unless you want to grow and grow fast.

Hire Better Salespeople Today - Click here!

Keeping An Eye Out For Sales Talent

Tags: sales talent, hiring salespeople, managing sales teams


I had to find some way to work my current hospital stay into my blog post. I promised on my signature that I would keep you posted and figured I better get a post in today.

Here’s the quick story of why I’m here:

  • I had a healthy eye
  • I had vision symptoms
  • I was diagnosed with uveal melanoma
  • I had plaque radioactive surgery
  • I hope my vision returns and the tumor is gone

The long version of the story can read something similar to what sales managers face when they hire salspeople and anticipate those sales people to be successful.

Kind of like this progression:

  • I hired my next superstar salesperson
  • Everything was good for awhile, not perfect but good
  • We had a meeting when sales goals were not being met
  • Things got better
  • Things got worse
  • I put them on a performance improvement plan (PIP)
  • Things got better
  • Things got worse
  • We adjusted the compensation model down because of lack of performance
  • Things were okay
  • I put the producer on a PIP plan with a 3-strike rule
  • Yesterday was strike three, my superstar sales person has left the building

Sound/look familiar? What I know, or at least think I know, is this:

  • Your sales team, assuming you have at least 10 salespeople, is represented by the 80/20 rule. 80% of your results/revenue is being generated by about 20% of your team. (Give or take some percentage points – maybe 70/30)
  • If you plot your sales team in a bell curve many, if not most, of the people in the middle standard deviations set up tent there and never leave.
  • You have some people to the far left of the bell curve that have retired and just haven’t told anyone or are failing and you are looking for a miracle.

What I also know is this: Performance improvement plans, compensation changes, re-forecasting, waiting for them to make the turn and threats don’t work. What does work is this:

5 Steps For Building a More Productive Sales Team:

  1. Hire better salespeople
  2. On-board them better
  3. Coach them more/better
  4. Catch them early
  5. Let them go as soon as you know

Additional resources:

#1 Hiring Tool In The World - Stop making hiring mistakes

Bill Eckstrom – Coachign Best Practices

Tony Cole Blog: Performance management that works