So David Obrand, CEO of Salesloft, had a great post the other day on consistency being one of the biggest challenges with enterprise sales.

In SMB sales, you see the variance in performance among reps really fast, and you can take action fast.  That’s the nature of a very short sales cycle.

But in the enterprise, a “B Player” rep can take over a year to fully and clearly … be a B Player.  You don’t have that time.

David points out one of the top super skills of a great VP of Sales:  They Make the B Players Good Enough.

In theory, everyone should be a top tier player at your startup.  The reality is in sales, it won’t be the case, especially as you scale from reps 3-300.   You’ll end up with an A Team and a B Team in sales.  A group that exceeds quota and crushes it.  And another that struggles to hit it, but comes close-ish.  That still puts points on the board.

The best VPs of Sales know this.  They know they need their top performers.  But they also know they need a broader qualified, trained team to hit the plan.  So they will hire a more diverse set of reps than you would at the founder-led stage.

Some … you won’t quite see it.  You’ll tell them not to hire some of the reps your VP of Sales wants to hire.  But they’ll tell you they can get Jim or Jane to work.  They’ll tell you to trust them, it’s the right hire.

And it often is — for a great VP of Sales.  Because they know how to backfill, train, and support their B Team as well as their A Team.  They move the C players out, that’s part of the job (the failing VP of Sales often keeps the C players, however.  That’s a flag).  But the folks at 70%-80% of quota?  Your VP of Sales may need them too.  So they’ll help them more.  Join them on more deals.  Do more training.  Put them on smaller accounts.  Pair them with more help.  Etc. Etc.

The Best VPs of Sales?  They’ll have a plan for both The A Team and The B Team.

The mediocre VP of Sales?  You’ll only end up with a B and C Team here anyway.  It’s all a mess.

Either way, you’ll have a B Team on your sales team as it scales.  Get used to it, and judge your VP of Sales by the aggregate numbers.  Not the individual rep choices they make.

More here:

What Makes a Great VP of Sales and How to Hire One: The Complete Guide

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