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Why Current Top Performers May Not Be Future Top Performers

top performers

What kind of reaction would you get from your sales team if you incentivized hitting their next target with a brand new iPhone 1?

Crickets, most likely.

That’s because the technology that was cutting edge in 2007 no longer feels relevant today. In the same sense, what defines top performance on your sales team now will never be equal to what defines top performance in the future—at least it shouldn’t be if you’re motivated towards growth and improvement.

Sales leaders should always be striving to improve the effectiveness of their sales team, and that includes continually evaluating what makes a top performer.

To sustainably drive sales growth, it’s critical to recognize the gaps that exist between the current level of talent in your organization, and your organization’s future needs.

When you’re looking to add new members to your sales team, it’s not always the best strategy to try and clone your existing top performers. They might be the best thing you’ve got going for you now, but will they remain to be as your organization grows and progresses into the future? Here are 3 reasons why your current top performers may not be your future top performers.

Your Market is Changing

If there’s any constant in the marketplace, it’s that it’s always shifting.

The style of selling that works for your industry now may very well change in the future—aggressive hunter salespeople may need to trade in their strategies to adapt to a market that rewards a farming approach. If this is the case, your top performing salesperson may not continue to be successful if they are unable to adapt and remain innovative.

To combat this unavoidable flux, focus on creating position benchmarks that emphasize what a specific role will require for success in the future, not for satisfactory performance now. You need to fill your bench with people that can perform at high levels in a world that is still being created. That means looking for candidates with a capacity for growth and responsiveness.

Your Top Players May Only be Average in the Industry

If you create an ideal sales profile based on your top performer, but they’re actually only average in your industry, you’re setting the bar too low from the beginning.

It’s easy to only pay attention to what happens in your own back yard, but expand your focus to see how your team measures up to those around you. Making your top sales performer the “ideal” will stunt growth, not only in your A-players but in the rest of your team as well.

You never want your team sitting still, and defining an “ideal” that is not yet achieved by anybody on your team keeps everyone motivated towards constant improvement.

You May Not Fully Understand Your Customer Base and It’s Potential

Maybe your sales seem ok for now, but if you’re doing the same thing—targeting the same people with the same messaging—and you’re not experiencing growth, you may need to take a closer look at your strategy. And that means a closer examination of your customer base.

Who is your ideal client? Is your current top performer approaching the right people with the right kind of conversation? If you find out that’s not the case, you know that your future top performer will need to be able to have those higher-level conversations with the clients you want to be spending the majority of your time and resources on.

When you’re looking for your next generation of top performers, keep an eye towards your organization's growth and development plans. Measure candidates against a profile of what your most successful salespeople need to be doing, not necessarily what they are doing today.

Take the guesswork out of hiring by determining exactly what a position requires for high performance with an ideal sales profile. TriMetrix assessments measure candidates against this benchmarked profile and reveal the best match for long-term success in your organization. Learn more.

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Soft Skills Behavioral Interview Questions

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Will Brooks

More articles written by Will Brooks

As Chief Operating Officer of The Brooks Group, Will draws on his leadership, marketing, sales, sales management and operational experience to help develop and execute the company’s overall growth strategy. Drawing from over 15 years of experience in the training and development industry, Will combines his deep institutional knowledge and client experience to optimize operations at The Brooks Group.