Groupon recently announced it will fire and replace the bottom 10% of its sales force. The reason? CEO Andrew Mason said Groupon wants more high-value customers. The news got us thinking, every sales team has a bottom 10%. Who is responsible for the laggards—the sales reps or the company? Let’s explore Groupon’s sales model to see if there are lessons for other companies. An active sales training program is a central component of sales growth. But sales coaching is worthless when it targets the wrong group. Although businesses are investing more in coaching than ever, CSO Insights found no annual increase in the number of reps who meet quota. The reason? Sales leaders tend to coach only the very highest and lowest sales performers. By coaching only their best and worst reps, companies neglect their greatest opportunity for impact—average performers. A recent HBR study shows companies can improve performance by 19% with effective coaching for their middle 60%. What would happen to your revenue if 60% of your sales team sold 19% more? According to David Cichelli, four stages of growth characterize the corporate sales growth model:
- Volume growth.
- Link your sales compensation plans directly to achievable goals.
- Implement benchmarking early when ramping up new reps. You’ll increase your staff retention.
- Be proactive in engaging your sales staff on a regular basis.