Our buddy Don Gray is occupied with some family challenges, so I thought I’d comment on a post that appeared recently by Scot Guber at Sales Benchmark Index’s Sales Force Effectiveness blog.
Scott’s point was that you should automatically give your top accounts to your new top sales rep, and we don’t entirely disagree, but we think there are a lot of facets that you must consider.
Don may well have different comments on this particular topic than I do, because his sales force consulting operation works with larger clients than I do.
1. Top accounts always want to see the President or the CEO, so there might be a limited amount a top sales rep, even and possibly especially a new one, can do. He/she can certainly help with top accounts, so some sort of shared account relationship might be in order.
2. In our experience, just because you’ve hired what should be a top performer, and are probably paying he/she accordingly, there’s not going to be evidence for several months whether he/she is going to fit in with your company.
3. We think that giving a proven top rep a top account should be something like a reward for becoming the top rep that you thought he/she would be when you hired him/her. This suggests doling out top accounts as the new person fits into the job.
4. Fitting in is a loose term, because top salespeople aren’t necessarily best at fitting in…they may not ‘get along’ with your sales and or marketing people, for example. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because he/she was presumably hired to fill a role in your company that wasn’t being addressed, and the upshot of this is that there will be some new attitudes and opinions coming out of the newbie.
5. So there are no misunderstandings, when you hire what you expect to be a top producer, you should set your expectations with him/her about what is expected on turnover of top accounts. Sure, the lure of top accounts is a great carrot, but there has to be, in our experience, some stick, too, because without some goals, many top producers might back off for a bit.
But, none of us in the sales business is exactly a potted plant, so here are my comments.