Do You Have The Right Salesperson In The Right Role For Today’s Market?

Author: Mark Allen Roberts, No Smoke and Mirrors
Posted: May 7th, 2020

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Many of the CEO’s CFO’s and sales leaders are taking action now to react to the sales challenges brought on by Covid-19. We do not know when this crisis will be over but we do now have a months worth of data to gather insights and make future predictions and plans. Many organizations have already reduced marketing expenses, operational costs, experienced a reduction in sales expense, and overhead across the organization and now they are forced to strategically retool sales.

Reorganizing and retooling your sales team for the market of today is difficult and emotional  in good times.

What we must consider includes…

What does our sales team need to look like today and for tomorrow based on what your buyers are saying?

Do we have the right people and are they in the right roles?

Who on the sales team needs training and will perform?

In this post we will discuss a data driven way to answer these questions to maximize your sales teams sales effectiveness and performance.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that the Pareto Principle definitely applies to sales team results. The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, advises that 80 percent of any output will be generated by only 20 percent of the total input utilized. Therefore, as applied to sales organizations, 20 percent of sales reps produce 80 percent of the business. Those salespeople in the 20 percent also are more likely to get more promotions, perks, choice-of-territory, and (of course) income.

Your top 20 percent of sales performers typically deliver:

Higher profit margin per sale

Greater new product sales

Higher new customer acquisition revenue

Have a greater share of wallet by customer

Have at least 2 X customer retention rates

More referrals

Higher customer satisfaction scores


For today’s market customer retention is king.

As sales teams retool, right size and reorganize how do we identify those top performers, those on your current team that can be top performers and those that should move into another non-selling roles? 


Disconcertingly, it follows that the 80 percent of a current sales team only brings in only 20 percent of sales, so what does that mean for your return by salesperson? It means odds are you probably have people in sales roles today that should not be in sales roles…and it is costing you.

When your business was busy those sales associates not skilled in sales or having the right mindset for sales were often hidden by sales transactions.

Warren Buffet shared a quote:

"Everyone can see who was swimming naked when the tide goes out"

For many businesses the tide went out quickly and is remaining out.

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, estimated that his own bad sales hires had cost Zappos 100 million dollars.

How do we take a data driven strategic approach to reorganizing our sales teams that ensures we have the right salesperson in the right sales roles for today and tomorrow?


What should we consider when right sizing our sales teams to the market of today and tomorrow?

Here are a few suggestions:

Assess the sales skills, beliefs and motivations of your current team. ( determine current state)

  • Who are your top sales performers in revenue, skills, beliefs and pipeline?
  • Who could be top performers with training, new sales tools and coaching?
  • What sales roles are critical to your success today?
  • Who on your team is best suited for each role?
  • Who on your team is best suited for non-sales roles?

Identify the ideal sales roles and sales process-This is a crucial step. To develop a role description, use these questions as a guide:

  • How are buyers buying today?
  • What sales role and sales process best serves buyers today?
  • What resistance and objections will the salesperson encounter and how must they be trained and what mindset will they need?
  • What sales skills should the salesperson have for this role?
  • What’s the competitive landscape they will confront?
  • What kind of support, supervision, coaching will they get from management?
  • What competencies do your top 20 percent of sellers have in this role today?

Search for the ideal candidate by sales role based on assessment data

Describe the role with leading and lagging indicators and measures of success. Look at your current sales skills, motivations, sales mindset, profit and revenue by salesperson.

Review past performance reviews and assess the quality of their sales pipeline.

We must also understand how buyers are buying today and what they want and need from a salesperson today.

When companies retool and reorganize their sales teams they often make the mistake of running a sales and profit report by sales rep and making decisions based on this data alone.

Things to we must also consider…

What if your top revenue salesperson lacks sales skills but just inherited a great territory?

What if a salesperson with lower than average revenue has a stronger sales pipeline, higher profit % per sale and sales hunter skills?

What if you have a sales hunter in a sales farmer role and if they moved to a hunter role they would be more effective?

If you were to open a new territory, new market, lead the launch of a new product or service whom on your team would you pick?


Retooling and reorganizing your sales team today is much more than drawing a line on a sales by descending Excel report.

Market leading sales teams will use this reset to better define how their buyers buy, why they buy, why they don’t buy and the best terms of trade for each market vertical and customer.

Market leaders and future market leaders will use this time to strategically pivot into what their buyers are asking for and the data insights share and design buyer centric sales processes.

Before you retool your sales organization there are some questions I ask you to consider.

What are the right sales roles for the market of today and tomorrow?

Who on my sales team best fits those roles?

Who on my sales team has high skills but is in the wrong role today?

Who once trained will figure it out and apply the training quickly?

Do salespeople need to be liked by their customers?

Are they rejection proof?

Are they comfortable talking about money?

Do they know how to sell?

Will they sell? (Do they have a sales mindset)?

Can they work remotely?

Do they understand how to use a CRM and what it is for? 

Do they have the skills and mindset you have seen in your top 20 percent of performers in that role?

Remember it’s the talent on your sales team that will determine your success when hitting quotas and achieving your company’s future goals.

Identifying top performers and having them in the right roles is the difference between your company’s victory or failure in competitive markets and challenging times.

Have you ever assessed the sales skills, beliefs and motivations of your current sales team?

Are you sure you have the right people in the right roles for the sales environment of today?

What is the total cost of a bad hire for your sales team? 

What is the cost of having a sales farmer in a sales hunter role?

What is the cost of having someone in a sales role without sales skills and lacks a sales mindset?

Once the salesperson is in a new sales role do you have an individualized learning and coaching plan to fill skills gaps?

When was your last Voice of your customer survey to determine how your buyers buy and what they want and need from a salesperson today?


If you would like to chat more about this subject let’s set a time to discuss your challenges.

If you would like to see a system that answers the above questions and more lets book a Zoom meeting.




COVID-19, Coronavirus, Hiring, Sales Skills, Structure


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