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UpYourTeleSales Sales Bell Curve Manifesto

What would your production look like if 68% of the people on your team made goal one more month next year than they did this year?

What would a 1% sales increase among 6 or 7 out of 10 salespeople do to your total sales production?

How could one additional appointment set each week, by over half your team, help your company?

Now it’s time to start to think about your team, where to spend your time, and who to spend it with.

A Non-Scientific Sales View of Bell Curve Math

Mid-level sales performers = 68% of the bell curve AND your sales force.

Before jumping into a manifesto about where and who to spend your time with, without any explanation, let’s take a look at the math and your sales team.

68% of the people on your team are within 1 standard deviation

The lower than the middle 34% (down to -1 on the graph) are hitting sales goals/quota infrequently.

When as people they aren’t an emotional drain on the organization or disruptive to the team – these salespeople are seen as ambling along. They are still on your team.

The better than the middle 34% (up to +1 on the graph) make their sales goals/quote more than half the time.

They are salespeople with a spark that motivates themselves. They do better than most and appear to be working well on their own, so they are ignored.

95% are within 2 standard deviations.

This number looks at most of your team. We already talked about -1 up through +1 now it is time to go past there – there are less people in this part of the bell curve, yet it is still over ¼ of the salespeople of your team.

Low Side 13.5% are on a performance plan (from -1 to -2 on the graph)

These salespeople are not making their goals. As their inside sales manager, you are forced (sometimes by HR) to pay attention to them.

Either they get better or they get fired with your attention. The attention you are forced to give them takes up much more than 13.5% of your time.

High Side 13.5% regularly make goal (from +1 to +2 on the graph)

These salespeople will demand attention when they need it. Plus, they get the attention they demand BECAUSE they’re making their sales goals/quota regularly.

As their inside sales manager, you end up leading more than managing this portion of your team. Informal investigation has uncovered this is where most inside sales managers like to spend their time. The deals and accounts you work with this 13.5% of your team on, are very likely to turn into business.

99.7% are within 3 standard deviations

In real life, this is your entire team that extra 00.3% doesn’t register from either a sales production perspective, or from how you as an inside sales manager spend your time.

What does matter is that last little bit the 4.7% that brings the numbers up from 95% to 99.7%?

From -2 to -3 or 2.35% leave the organization.

These salespeople have failed to meet their performance plan. You as the inside sales manager have either encouraged them to leave or fired them.

From +2 to +3 or 2.35% are ROCK STARS

Some teams have a rock star and others don’t. In sales, most rock stars are left alone to do whatever they want. Either because of their “rock star status” or because their inside sales manager is concerned that any attention or intervention may disrupt the sales performance status quo.

Striking Information

According to Sales Benchmark Index: in B2B sales, the top 13% of salespeople are responsible for 87% of revenue generated.

Let’s look at our bell curve with the Sales Benchmark Index “top 13% salespeople” piece and where you are going to spend your time.

+2, +3, and Beyond

On the positive side of the Bell Curve, this 16% of your inside sales team currently isn’t taking up all that much of an inside sales manager’s time.

They are also making 87% of your sales.

Spending more time here, than you already are, would not increase sales significantly as these inside salespeople are already producing most of your sales.

They are at the top of their personal capacity and it will be difficult to prompt additional sales production out of them.

-2, -3, and Below

On the negative side of the Bell Curve, these inside salespeople currently take up the majority of a typical inside sales manager’s time.

HR requirements about documentation, hand-holding through every deal, correcting missteps they make, coaching them, extra skill-building effort, and cleaning up the messes – all take time.

Then, unfortunately, much of this effort walks out the door as the salesperson’s performance never turns around.

The magic from -1 to +1

34% + 34% = 68% of your team is where the Bell Curve Manifesto comes into play.

The Bell Curve Manifesto©

Mid-level sales performers (that 68% of the bell curve) are forgotten and represent a missed revenue growth opportunity.

Consider how much revenue is attributed to that 68% of your sales force.

Now, think about what would happen to your team’s performance if:

  • Each person inside your bell curve made goal one more month this year than they did last?
  • Your bell curve sales production increased by 1% (how about 5% or 10%)?
  • Over half of the salespeople set one more appointment each week?

These are the inside salespeople on your team who are comfortable living in the middle of the performance bell curve. There is a Can’t, Won’t, or Don’t Know How holding them back.

As the manager, even if you’d like to spend time with them, you typically can ignore them because they deliver consistent, although, mediocre sales results year after year.

On a team of ten you 1 or 2 top salespeople demanding your time, along with 1 or 2 at the bottom who you HAVE to spend time with.

Then you have 6 or 7 salespeople who each get a little bit of your time, energy, and effort.

What happens to their commissions, team and territory performance, and total corporate sales when their mediocre performance is dialed up a notch or two within their own comfort zones?

What happens when these mid-level performers become a factor in overall company profitability?

These inside salespeople have the greatest potential to positively impact corporate top and bottom-line revenue and profitability.

Inside their current buying accounts, they are already excellent at customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty.

They have the potential to become your solid sales engine.

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