Kill The 80-20 Rule

Become a better sales coach and sales manager today.

For years, I’ve managed salespeople. Over two decades later, now as an author and Executive Sales Coach, the one constant I hear when speaking with managers is that the 80-20 rule is still alive and well.

8-Steps to Creating a Coaching Culture by Keith RosenFor those who may not be aware of what the 80-20 Rule implies, it is this: 20% of your sales team will be responsible for roughly 80% of your volume/making quota or achieving productivity goals within a collaborative team environment.

Considering the resources and outsourced professional coaching available to assist in developing a high performance team, this culture seems a bit antiquated in this day and age; one that should have gone by the wayside like pagers did once mobile phones became easily accessible to anyone.

Why does this rule still have to be in existence today? Granted, I know many companies where this doesn’t apply. But what about the population of companies that still breed this culture?

And what does this say about the manager managing the team he or she has? Can we surmise or look past the fact that if the manager is the one responsible for hiring, then the problem at it’s core is that managers are simply making poor hiring decisions.

Same Term, Different Definition

The 80-20 Rule now takes on a new meaning: 80% of the time, management will make a costly hiring mistake.

Unfortunately, this statistic isn’t far from true. So, it’s not a wonder that managers are only getting it right 20% of the time. If you don’t have an HR department or at least someone strictly dedicated to this function in your organization where it would demand this type of position, then the burden typically falls on management, the same managers who are responsible for other people’s production, and quite often along with their own personal productivity/quota.

If you’re still a victim of this philosophy, lets take a look at your recruiting and retention system. Do you have a step by step recruiting process that you follow which reduces the costly mistake of mishires, while continually offering your people the coaching and training they need on a consistent basis? (That means more than 4 times a year or once at the annual conference.)

A depiction of insanity; managing a team of (sales)people who shouldn’t be there in the first place. Oy. Corporate America still has a ways to go. I certainly have my work cut out for me. In the meantime, I’ll keep hunting for those companies suffering from this philosophy.