I’ve been working with a handful of sales managers recently as they onramp new salespeople and I have seen a stumbling block occur more than once.  The issue has to do with the sales manager’s perception of the typical sale.

Sales managers, in most instances, work primarily with large, high-visibility accounts as they should.  The issue that occurs is that the manager starts to view these marquee accounts as the model, or even norm, for all other accounts.  What happens is that the manager loses sight of the history of activities that went into earning that customer’s business.

Rarely do new salespeople fly out of the gate and close a marquee account.  In most cases, they start with “mundane” accounts – typically they are smaller opportunities or smaller companies.  Some will grow into marquee accounts, but most will not.  The advantage is that the salesperson learns about the sale, what objections they will face and how an order moves internally through the company.  These are all valuable experiences for the day they latch on to a large deal.

As sales managers, it is important to realize that the marquee accounts are not the standard for a new salesperson.  This means the salesperson probably does not have an established relationship to leverage.  They do not have familiarity with the customer’s decision-making team.  They are not going to have numerous topics to qualify for many different orders.

Simply put, these salespeople are going to be working less efficiently to earn a smaller deal than the power plays occurring at the marquee account.  I’ve seen sales managers get frustrated over this fact.  Frustration should wait until an adequate period of time has passed.  If the salesperson is still at the same level, then it is time to dig in deeper and attempt to kick-start their efforts.

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