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Polaris Profiles


The Problem

It has long been accepted that 80% of all products and services are sold by just 20% of the salespeople. The so-called "80/20 Rule" is a challenge to all sales executives who strive to build exceptional sales organizations. Tom Maze, President of POLARIS, reports on tools and processes for those who want to break with tradition and banish the 80/20 Rule forever. Maze discusses ways to measure the essential qualities of salespeople and help managers identify, hire and retain top salespeople for their product or service.

Who Are Those People?

When people make an honest effort to do a good job and fail, it is usually because they were in jobs that they did not fit, according to quality guru W. Edwards Deming. An analysis of people working in sales shows that over 50% of them are miscast. They should not be in sales at all. Of the other 50%, half of them are selling the wrong product or service. That leaves 20-30% of the salespeople who are in the jobs they fit. These are the people who sell about 80% of the world's products and services.

The Final Analysis

This suggests that about half of the people in sales should never have been hired for sales jobs in the first place and another 25% should have been hired to sell something else. Thus, the typical employer may be making three hiring mistakes for each correct one. Obviously, the best place to attack the 80/20 Rule is in the hiring process.

"Clone" Your Top Performers

Sales managers can develop benchmarks for their top salespeople in different positions or territories. You can use the benchmarks as the standard: you hire, coach, train or re-deploy to the benchmark. How would you like to shorten sales cycles, build better client relationships and close more business than before?

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