The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Sales Guys


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What’s the difference between good and bad sales people,and how can you assess them. Is it activity rates, close rates, total sales, or margin, or customer satisfaction? Maybe it’s just making target quarter after quarter.

The red meat issue, for those who don’t know about selling, is activity. It’s a simple measure, and easy to use when pushing the sales team to work harder. It makes sense doesn’t it – the more calls you make the more business you’ll take.

Does that mean the one making the most calls is the best of the bunch? Not in my book. There are far too many variables, and too often the bad sales rep will win business while the good professional doesn’t.

The best way to assess sales reps’ skills is how they use your sales process. That process is designed to bring in quality business, with good margins and an expectation the customer will be satisfied with what’s delivered; and it should do all that at a reasonable cost of sale.

Sales Probability Process Management shows managers how well the reps use their sales process. We’ve built Fayol’s management principles into the workflow with milestones, and added colour coding to make the review element intuitive.

Here are examples of prospect lists from the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly sales people. The list is ordered by expected close date with next to close at the top. Probability is calculated based on the number of milestones completed. Deals under 50% probability are presented in red. Those between 50% and 70% are presented in amber while deals over 70% are presented in green.

We’ve kept the customers and values the same for each example to help illustrate the differences.

The Good

The good, or professional, sales rep’s prospect list shows how deals progress through the probability curve as the close date nears. Sales opportunities at the top of the list are shown in green whilst those further away need more work.

Prospect list for a professional sales representative

The Bad

The bad, or unprofessional, sales rep’s prospect list shows a different story. At the top of the list the deals are showing little or no probability whilst a couple in the middle are at 60%. This rep isn’t using the process to control the sale. Any success will be down to luck, not expertise and application.

Prospect List of a bad sales representative

The Ugly

The ugly is what you’ll find in most prospect lists – a mixed bag of deals at various levels of probability, with little correlation to close date. This rep uses the process at times but not always. The opportunities in red at the top just shouldn’t be there. S/he should have decided to give up on those and spend the sales time progressing the ones shown in amber. Instead s/he’s left them in the prospect list to pad out the total.

Prospect list for an average sales representative

The Sales Manager

This methodology for forecasting sales helps managers identify reps who need support in the sale, or additional training, or a different job.

When the team’s aggregated prospect list looks like the Bad or the Ugly there are problems with the product and the sales strategy. Effective sales operations management will get the whole team’s list showing the same patterns as the Good. That’s how you’ll know the strategy, product, process are right for the business.

Successful Sales Management

Check out our Sales Management tutorials for more coaching in strategy, tactics, processes, systems and tools; all explained in short courses to help you improve the performance of your sales operations.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steven Reeves
Consultant, author, software entrepreneur, business development professional, aspiring saxophonist, busy publishing insight and ideas. Boomer turned Zoomer - thirty year sales professional with experience selling everything from debt collection to outsourcing and milking machines to mainframes. Blogger at Successful Sales Management. Head cook and bottle washer at Front Office Box.


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