Developing your people and working through a learning and development plan is often a coaching experience that requires time, energy, and deep thought.
As a sales leader, if you have traveled with your reps and provided coaching and guidance after each sales call, then the year-end task of succession planning becomes a bit easier.
The key is saving your coaching notes, feedback emails or memos so you have a track record of what has been communicated. If you haven’t done this, then other tools and corporate resources, like training observations, can be very helpful aids for you as you look to complete a succession planning exercise.
This past year I have worked with several clients as a sales trainer and coach, often providing input for their succession planning effort. At one client, I used a tracking document to track the training and development progress of their sales team, every 90 days.
With this same client, we settled on a very simple Heat Map that had scoring elements of 1-5. We measured the sales personnel progress in four areas. The tracker used below was meant to coach their progress every 90 days. What made it really easy was that we used the tracker as a scientific tool for rating ranges on the 9- Box Succession Planner.
When we got to the 9-Box, (right) we also factored in the sales performance
history so as to have one more lens to rate them, more scientifically versus gut. This helped tremendously. It enabled the client to have even more scientific data as they approached the difficult decision of – do we keep the sales personnel on our books that might not be worth investing in this upcoming year? This can be a very difficult sales leadership decision and one to be taken with careful thought.
I recently began working with another client, in a similar capacity. The sales leadership team also embarked on using the 9-Box for succession planning. The challenge for this particular client was that without the other data inputs from learning and development, the 9-Box became a gut or subjective input.
In closing, there are no easy ways to “rate" or "score” a sales professional. But using and leveraging some science or history of that sales person over time is a good best practice. We suggest a type of tracking mechanism that could incorporate how they are doing against your mission, vision, values, or their attitude. This makes the decision of “are they worth keeping or
not” more fact-based than relying on gut or guesswork.