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The "Rule Of Thirds" In Enterprise Sales

October 11, 2011

The Rule Of Thirds In Enterprise Sales

The "Rule of Thirds" is really quite simple, but we think a powerful lesson lies within. Follow me for a minute.

Group A

This is the top 1/3 of your sales pros that drive the lion share of revenue and profit. These are the perennial "President's Club" winners. It doesn't matter which troubled accounts they have, or which storm-prone industry they work in, they will not be denied. They have the ability to engage decision makers and consistently stay in front of them. Cold calling new business seems to come naturally for them. Always growing.

Group B

This is the middle 1/3 of your sales pros that are always bouncing around their goals. Sometimes hitting 100%, but often having to pull a rabbit out of a hat at the end of the year to do so. When talking to these sales pros in Group B, they look and sound just like the ones in Group A, but something is missing. These sales pros normally know who their account decision makers are, but rarely speak with them. No growth, but no losses.

Group C

Unfortunately, in every sales organization there is a Group C. Group C is the 1/3 of the sales pros that interviewed well, they looked good on paper, but for reasons that could take up the rest of this blog...they just don't work out. Enough said.

This all sounds pretty familiar, right?

Here's the catch, and the real opportunity. There really isn't that much difference between the sales pros in Group A and Group B. And getting Group B sales pros to perform more like those in Group A might be easier than you think.

The difference is that Group A's top sales performers are resourceful. They will not wait for marketing or sales leadership to empower them. To get the competitive edge, they will spend the extra two or three hours digging through the internet looking for buying triggers, personal interests, and pain points critical to C-suite engagement...all well beyond the tools and resources you currently provide them. Providing this group with more "data" does little for them. Providing them with finger-tip strategic insight makes them instantly more efficient and you become the hero again. No coaching needed.

Your real opportunity to move the revenue needle lies within Group B. This group is not as resourceful. They may not prepare for sales calls adequately (or at all) because they "can't" invest the research time needed to prepare adequately. They will wait for management to provide direction, for marketing to give them the business intelligence tools to elevate their game.

So give it to them. Take the "I don't have time to research" excuse out of the equation. Give them a simple, but deeply researched resource that is easy to bake into their voicemails, emails, and in-person dialogue. It doesn't matter how cleverly integrated they are, this group will waste tons of time with the "data-by-the-pound" information tools most enterprise marketers provide their teams. This group needs simple - easy – fast, not noisy and complicated information tools.

So I ask again, what would happen to your sales goals if you could get some of your second-tier sales pros to perform more like your top-tier performers? 

Looking for the right tools to help your Group B salespeople perform more like Group A? Take a look at our sample profiles and see the difference true executive intelligence can bring to your team. 

Executive Profiles by Boardroom Insiders

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Lee Demby

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Lee Demby