Cherry Picking

Once in a while a not-so-smart, obsessive-compulsive, cost-cutting boss who knows better than anyone else, wants to move ahead with an evaluation of his sales team but….not everyone. Just a select, hand-chosen few, those about whom he has questions. His strategy might make sense to some. “I know my people. I know who is capable of what. I just have some questions about these folks!”

Sure. Just like, “I know my body. I know what’s right and what’s not. I don’t need blood work or X-Rays. I just need to know why I’m always lethargic and have constant headaches. Can’t you just see me and check out my head?”

Evaluating part of a sales organization may in fact reveal something about the specific people we look at but it is never representative of the sales force as an entity. In fact, the real questions a company should be asking are, ‘Why do we hire people like them?’ or ‘What does this reveal about our criteria, process and effectiveness for sales recruiting?’ or ‘What does this say about our goals, process and effectiveness for sales development?’ or ‘What does this tell us about our thoughts, methods and effectiveness for coaching and motivating?’ or ‘How are we doing when it comes to holding salespeople accountable?’ or ‘Why do we have this inconsistency among our salespeople?’ or ‘Why are so many of our people complacent?’ or ‘What does this tell us about our compensation program?’

Looking at specific people may tell you something about those people. However, when a company’s future is contingent upon smart, profitable growth, much more important questions – systemic questions – must be answered. The only way to provide the systemic answers is to evaluate the organization rather than just a chosen few.