How to Double Net New Customer Acquisitions

Tuesday, 29 March 2016  |  Tuck Mixon

Hire the Top 25%, Fire the Bottom 25%, and Double New Customers

Last week I wrote about how the top 50% of salespeople produce 326% more revenue than bottom 50% salespeople. When you look at the top 25% versus the bottom 25% of salespeople, the difference is even more stark: the top 25% produce 208% of average, and the bottom 25% only do 15% of average.  In this study of 50 sales forces, a top 25% salesperson produces 443% more revenue than a salesperson in the bottom 50%, and the top 25% actually produce 51% of revenue.

Salesperson Revenue by Quartile

The purpose of sharing these differences is to highlight how important it is to hire the salespeople that make it in the top 25% or 50%. The problem is that most companies hire bottom 50% performers half the time. And based on these numbers from 50 growing companies, they hire duds one out of four times! Despite how expensive and frustrating it is to hire bottom performers, most companies keep doing it.

If possible, you want to avoid hiring people in the bottom 50%, and you want to do everything possible not to hire the people in the bottom 25% that only produce 15% of expected revenue. There are many reasons why companies continue to hire bottom performing salespeople. Here a few:

  • You cannot tell whether a candidate will be in the top 50% or the bottom 50%. Many people, even those with years of HR or sales leadership experience, have not learned how to separate top performers from bottom performers in the interview process.
  • You do not use a sales assessment that separates the top candidates from the bottom ones for each of your sales roles. The easiest, most reliable way to identify top sales candidates and to disqualify bottom salespeople is to use an  assessment proven to predict sales success.  
  • Your job ads or your recruiters are not attracting top candidates - if you don't attract good candidates, you settle for mediocre ones. You can learn how to attract top salespeople or if you are too busy to recruit internally, you can hire recruiters who know how.
  • Your sales compensation, your value proposition, your leadership, or your reputation make it difficult for you to attract and keep good people. You can't get or keep good people if your company treats its employees poorly.
  • Your hiring criteria exclude too many top candidates - when you disqualify candidates for lack of education or industry experience, you miss out on many good candidates. Change your hiring criteria - even Google hires a significant number of people without college degrees.

The good news is you don't have to hire duds. You can hire top salespeople consistently by using a predictive sales assessment and a proven sales hiring method called STAR (over 90% of new hires make the top 50% in their first year). And you can make sure you never hire a dud again. The STAR method works. I know because I teach it to clients and because I use it myself when clients are too busy to handle the hiring themselves. Learn more here: Hire more in the top 25%, fire the bottom 25%, and double your business. 

If you are wondering whether it is really worth it to hire top salespeople, look at the chart of how the Top 25% produce compared to the rest on a 1 million dollar quota. Clearly, top salespeople are worth it. Adjust the numbers to fit your business, and you will find that it makes sense to hire top people.

Salesperson Revenue Example

If your sales hiring success rate is less than 80%, it makes sense to fix it. Get our free report How to Hire Top Salespeople or if you already know you want to fix your Sales Hiring Process, schedule a Free 30 minute Sales Hiring Strategy session with Tuck Mixon.

When we discuss your situation, a common question is: Should I really let go of the bottom 25%? In many cases you do not need to fire the bottom 10% or 25%. Some of your bottom performers are worth developing and some are not. We will discuss how to know who can be developed and who is not a fit for their current sales role in a future blog post. If you want to know now, schedule a Strategy Session with me.
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