18 December 2023 |

Ignoring Early Warning Signs: A Sales Leadership Misstep

By Alex Alleyne

Early Warning Signs: Talent

We often ignore signs that our team’s talent needs to be aligned. It’s easy to miss, but spotting these signs early can make a difference. Let’s dive into how we can get better at this.

Talent Assessment: The Four Buckets

 Sales talent can be categorized into four types:

  1. High Potential & High Execution: These are your stars, the ones who show immense promise and deliver outstanding results.
  2. High Potential & Low Execution: These folks have great potential but have yet to find their groove. They’re not hitting their numbers but could with the proper guidance.
  3. Low Potential & High Execution: Reliable performers but without significant growth potential. They meet their targets but don’t show traits of high performers in the long run.
  4. Low Potential & Low Execution: The strugglers. They neither perform well nor show growth potential.

Sales leaders often falter by holding onto the fourth type for too long, overlooking the opportunity cost. Swapping low performers for high-potential talents can dramatically shift team dynamics and results.

Early Warning Signs: Pipeline

Another common oversight is ignoring pipeline shortfalls against targets. Wishful thinking won’t close gaps. Leaders must act decisively, utilizing tools like Clari for data-driven insights and increasing pipeline coverage.

Utilizing Tools for Data-Driven Decisions

Clari isn’t just about tracking numbers; it’s about providing a clear picture of where we stand against our targets. It helps us see if our current pipeline is sufficient to meet our goals. If we’re falling short, Clari alerts us in advance, allowing us to ramp up our efforts. It’s about using data to preemptively address shortfalls in our pipeline and adjust our strategies accordingly. 

The Bottom Line

Ignoring early warning signs, whether in talent management or pipeline metrics, can be catastrophic. An effective leader takes proactive action and makes tough decisions in the near term to ensure long-term success.