Are Your Top Sales Performers Really That Good?


What happens when you lose a sale?

If you've got a good track record, your boss will blame tough market conditions, bad product fit or bad luck.

BUT if you have a poor track record?

It's likely your boss will blame your selling ability, closing skills or lack of preparation.

But who says any of those assumptions are true?

There's considerable bias in how managers perceive individual performance, according to research in the Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management ("Evaluating Sales Personnel: An Attribution Theory Perspective").

Making inaccurate assumptions about what led to a deal being lost can lead to inappropriate responses to a salesperson's performance.

Instead of offering training to the top performer, you blame the market.
Instead of blaming the market to the poor performer, you offer training.

Look beyond past performance.

Dig deeper to what's really driving performance results:

  • Economic conditions
  • Salesperson workload
  • Task difficulty
  • Competitive intensity
  • Call preparation
  • Inadequate training
  • Inappropriate products
  • Inadequate supervision and support.

The morale of the story?

Don't assume poor performers are inherently bad, and good performers are just having a bad day.

What do you think?

About the author 

Warwick Brown

Warwick Brown has led business development and account management teams in Australia and Europe for more than 15 years and worked with some of the world's most prestigious firms, including Merck & Co, Deutsche Bank, McKinsey & Company and Vodafone. His mission is to help account managers everywhere who are short on time and big on ambition get results.