Moving The Mighty Middle

Take a look at the quota results in your organization. Chances are you have a handful of reps that knock their quotas out of the park. You probably have another handful of people that can never seem to reach it.

But by and large, I bet the largest group hovers just below quota – making 80%-99% instead.  Close, so close, but they’re not making it.

While many organizations invest their effort in developing the high performers, there are huge gains to be made by improving the performance of the mighty middle of the organization. Moving them even a few incremental percentage points can have a larger impact on the results of the business than even a dramatic percentage gain from the high performers.

Short-term performance targets and a look at the motivators in the plan can be used to coax this group 5% closer to quota attainment, and that can deliver a much-needed impact on your business. For example, a high tech company we worked with recently realized it was actually de-motivating its reps for selling one-time deals if they were below 90% of quota. The reward was too small compared to the effort. In addition, the rep would essentially be punished the following year with a higher quota. It was better for the rep to wait until the new year to close the sale. It was a lost opportunity for the business and the rep. Simple changes in mechanics and policies made these opportunities much more attractive for the mighty middle and aligned their motivations more closely with the company’s goals.

Many companies find it difficult to separate high performance from high potential, and tend to over-focus on what they perceive to be their top performers.


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