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Don't Fire Your C's & D's - Coach Them Up!

Plus, The Future of Sales Enablement & Help Wanted

The Transparency Sale Blog: April 2nd, 2019

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Over the next few weeks, there will be a lot coming out around The Transparency Sale, including multiple podcast appearances and articles. Plus I'll be yapping at a number of upcoming events. More to come...but for this edition, two topics:


  • Don't fire your C & D players: In today's economy, it may be more cost-effective to coach them up versus replacing them (with SalesAssembly)
  • The future of sales enablement: My take on where it's headed (with Accelerate)
  • Help Wanted: A couple of ways you can help

Don't Fire Your C's & D's: Coach Them Up!

Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, is known for many things. One of the things he's famous for is a belief that leaders should fire the bottom 10% of their staff every year, in an attempt to continuously improve. Now I'm no Jack Welch, but in today's economy combined with what's been learned around employee engagement, this approach is a big money loser.

Of course we all want a team full of A players. I was taught that "Jack Welch" approach myself in my first leadership roles. Always be top leveling. Stack rank your sellers, and the ones at the bottom are to be replaced regularly. That doesn't work today...period.

Today, the supply of skilled sellers is considerably less than the demand. It's a big contributing factor to the massive investments companies are making in sales enablement teams and technology. And while it may sound totally counterintuitive, but you are better off investing in your C's & D's instead of trying to replace them:

  • Time-to-hire is at an all-time high. It's taking months to find the right talent, and given all of the competition for that talent, your success rate in bringing these "A's" on board is lower than before.
  • Time-to-onboard is still substantial, given that companies are having to settle for less experience in their hires, and as a result, are needing to make a bigger investment in focused on-boarding.
  • A % of those hires still will be misses. While you think you're getting an A, that doesn't always work out the way you'd hope.
  • And - if you take a good look under the hood of your C & D problem, could it be because of the pace of promoting inexperienced managers, often times those C & D players simply haven't had their engagement levels and talent maximized?

Your managers are the success or failure of your teams - it's time to focus investment in manager training. Look at your underperforming and/or disengaged individuals. Is there a trend that correlates with a manager? Did you promote that manager into a role and not invest in management training? The knee-jerk reaction is to fire the under-performers, but it's likely the leader that needs the help.

Employee engagement drives performance. When employees are fully engaged, they have a thirst for learning, and maximize their results. Managers who have the keys to unlock that engagement drive company performance, and reduce the need to always be replacing staff. Voluntary turn-over drops considerably, too.

Here's a short 2:30 video talking about this subject above, and previewing an event I'm excited to be playing a role in next month: Sales Assembly's new "New Sales Manager Training Program" taking place here in Chicago on May 23rd.

Here's the link to the nomination form:

Eligible attendees include anyone who has been or is on track to be promoted into their first sales management role anytime during 2019. Individuals who have been in a sales management role at a previous company but are entering their first management role at your company are also eligible. You must be available the entire day of May 23rd, too.

The Future of Sales Enablement:

Recently I was interviewed by the team at Accelerate. As a part of the interview, they asked for my perspective on the future of sales enablement. Here's a link to a Tweet with a short video with my thoughts.

Essentially, with the rapid pace of sales evolution taking place, sales enablement teams have sprung to life over the past ten years. That pace of evolution is not slowing down, and as a result, sales enablement teams can't just do things on their own anymore - they need communities, societies, and to be alloting time every week to sharing ideas with peers OUTSIDE of their own companies. Otherwise, they will fall behind.

Help Wanted:

I could definitely use your help:

  1. Reviews on Amazon: If you've read the book, I would sincerely appreciate a review wherever your bought it. And, I'm fine with 5's! Even my nephew gave me a 4 because of the content of the book stating the perfect range of a 4.2-4.5. Artificially inflating a review score is bad, but so is artificially deflating it. 
  2. Share: If you've seen something you like, please feel free to share it. If you're writing your own content and want to refer to something I've said, I love that, too! Self promotion is hard - I'm doing the best I can - but your help is amazingly useful. @tcaponi on Twitter, or just @-mention me on LinkedIn. 

Let me know what you think - of this format, of the content, or about other things you see. Also, for more stuff, follow me on LinkedIn. Thanks!

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