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Sales & Marketing Effectiveness Blog Prevent ‘A’ Player Turnover

(Posted on Jul 13, 2013 at 05:58AM by William Cosgrove)

This post will explore why all turnover is not created equal.  Measuring sales turnover as a percentage can be misleading.  A lower percentage isn’t always better.  Yet turnover is probably the most measured sales metric.  HR, sales leaders, and Sales oretain emplolyeesps all measure it. 

Instead of focusing on an overall turnover percentage, focus on retaining ‘A’ players.  Many sales organizations are proud that they have a low turnover metric.  But they are retaining the wrong people. 


Want to retain 100% of your 'A' players?  Download the Top 10 Ways to Prevent ‘A’ Player Turnover Checklist.  Print it out and put it on your desk.


The first step in preventing 'A' Player turnover is properly identifying 'A' Players.  This is not as easy as many think.  Here’s an example:

Top Territory Todd:

Todd has exceeded quota the past 5 years.  His quota is approximately the same as everyone else.  Yet he has 3x the average territory potential in his patch.  He has some of the largest current customers.  Prospects fall into his lap with little effort.  His boss does not want to split his territory.  Why mess with a good thing?  Todd hasn’t needed to be a student of the game.  He has made boatloads of cash and played golf on Friday afternoon for years.  Why spend time sharpening the saw?  Because of this, Todd isn’t extremely competent on relevant sales skills.  Is Todd an 'A' Player?  Many would think so based solely on his results.  But place him in an equal territory and watch him flounder. 

Newbie Ned:

Ned has been on your team for 9 months.  He impressed everyone during the hiring process.  He was diligent during onboarding.  His activity is through the roof.  He is teaching others of the team new skills he learned in previous roles.  Yet, Ned’s results are average for his tenure group.  Ned was given the smallest territory and worst customers.  Why?  His Sales Manager didn’t want to rock the boat.  He doesn’t feel Ned knows the product or industry well enough to approach large customers.  He is holding Ned back.   Ned walks into the Sales Manager’s office and resigns.  The Sales Manager looks at Ned's revenue numbers and doesn’t bat an eye.  Once Ned is gone, the Sales Managers labels Ned a ‘bad hire’. 

What would have happened if Ned was given Todd’s territory?  Odds are, his revenue would have skyrocketed. He possesses better hunter competencies and works much harder.  In the long run Ned would have significantly out produced Todd.  But the Sales Manager was focused on the next 30 days.

The Sales Manager in this scenario missed his number by 4% last year.  If he gave Ned a fighting chance he would have hit the number.  Backfilling Ned’s territory led to a $1.2 million year-over-year territory revenue deficit.  That revenue would have bridged the gap. 


This is a common issue.  So how do you solve it?describe the image

  1. Identify ‘A’ Players - determine your team’s level of competency.  Add in performance against accountabilities and plot your team on the 'A' player matrix.
  2. Assess whether your performance conditions are conducive to 'A' player success.
    • Territory & Quota – do 'A' players have a fair shot to hit their number?
    • Leads – are you providing them enough quality leads?
    • Is your Go-to-Market Strategy relevant – dated sales channels will frustrate customers.  Frustrated customers lead to frustrated A players.
    • Reduce non-selling time – admin doesn’t make any sales person money.  Minimize it!
    • Comp – are 'A' players paid fairly for their efforts?
  3. Execute the 10 Sales Leadership Ideas in the tool - ‘A’ players won’t settle for an average leader.  They need a boss that will remove obstacles, provide candid feedback, and challenge them.  ‘A’ players want value from their boss, not noise.  Nothing will lead to ‘A’ player turnover faster than poor sales leadership.
A Player Turnover Prevention Checklist

DealerTalk: Understanding why people buy cars

(Posted on Jul 13, 2013 at 05:37AM by William Cosgrove)
Understanding the “why buy” motivations in potential buyers can have a major influence on the methods your dealership may use to entice these buyers to buy from you and not from the dealership down the street.

Recently I viewed a number of YouTube videos presented by Simon Senek, a motivational speaker, Columbia professor of communications and author of 'The Golden Circle' and 'Start with Why'.


Senek speaks about how most companies normally approach the act of sales and marketing from an 'outside-in' perspective.


Let’s use a dealership as an example:

•    What they do    = We sell cars
•    How they do    = We employ floor salespeople and list vehicles online 
•    Why they do     = We do the same as our competitors

Senek maintains that great companies - and he uses Apple as his example - operate in exactly the opposite way. In other words, they work from the 'inside-out' - for them the sequence of events will be:

•    What they do = In everything we do, we challenge the status quo
•    How they do   = We make our products user-friendly, cute to own and attractive
•    Why they do   = Want to buy one?

In Senek’s world, his belief is that companies should think in terms of having a goal of “doing business with people who believe what you believe”.

When you apply this to a normal customer/dealership relationship it is a process that may not find universal acclaim, as standard practice would be to sell potential buyers what you have - such as that well-priced, high-spec demonstrator. It would not be to sell to potential customers who believe what you believe! 

Bear with me, as I know it also was a tad confusing before I got my head around the argument when I attempted to apply this thought process to a dealership setting. To assist the simplification of this process for a typical dealership setting I was able to draw on the work recently conducted by Cobalt’s corporate storyteller, Jade Makana, in her recent e-book entitled 'Defining Your Dealership Why'.  

A comparative approach to dealership marketing outlined by Makana may be:

Dealer A who adopts a rational thought processes to marketing


* We sell the car you want


* Our cars are on sale


* We offer zero percent financing

Dealer B who adopts a why buy feeling approach to marketing


* Come in and enjoy a pressure free environment at XYZ Motors as our consultants are paid on salary not commissions. Why? Because we believe pressure belongs in your tyres not your car buying experience, or


* Come buy a car from XYZ Motors and get free tyres for life. Why? Because we believe in lasting relationships, not drive-by sales. We want to know your name, not just your credit card number, or


* Come buy a car from XYZ Motors, where $100 of every car sale goes to Child Cancer. Why? We support worthy charities in the hope that you will do the same.

These extreme examples listed above are used for illustration purposes. Dealer B gives up trying to concentrate on commodity features in favour of concentrating on a value proposition - what he believes and why he believes in it, these are his core value propositions. 

He does not concentrate on price or models as they are not a why. For Dealer B it becomes second nature for him to strut his core beliefs and incorporate these into his everyday business. It is what Jade Makana refers to as "a dealer walking the why, will create customers for life”.

To understand why we buy with our feelings we need to look at our brain. The brain is made up of two major parts: the neocortex and the limbic brain. The neocortex or the “what” brain processes rational thought or facts. This is the logical part of the brain, but it does not drive behaviour. 

The limbic brain or the “why” brain is where all our feelings and instincts are stored - it is the driver of behaviour. Hence, potential customers buy with their feelings.

When you think seriously about the why in marketing to potential customers it is far easier to differentiate yourself from your competitive dealers. Jade Makana demonstrates two US dealer examples as marketing case studies, they are:


* Carter Subaru, based in Seattle capitalise on Subaru’s “why equity” and on the brand's core marketing message of safety and responsibility.


Carter Subaru’s campaign is to plant one tree for every test drive, and to plant three trees for every vehicle purchased - and they proudly promote the fact that, to date, they have planted 70,000 trees!

* Sewell Automotive based in Dallas and headed by Carl Sewell has a simple and revolutionary 'why buy'  message. “Do not charge customers for any service you would not charge a friend for”.


Sewell dealerships have on-call service reps 24 hours a day, who are known for doing things like showing up at Dallas Airport at midnight to replace a broken key in a customer’s ignition, for free.


The morale of this story in Makana’s opinion is: “Sell a car at rock bottom price and tomorrow they will leave you for the next great deal. Bail someone out of a jam in the middle of the night and you have a customer for life”. Sewell has expanded his business from 1968 revenue of $10 million to just over $1.5 billion today.

I leave for your perusal the following four dealership examples Cobalt offers as 'why buy' best practice:


DealerNet Services

50 quirky car facts that will blow your mind [infographic]

(Posted on Jul 9, 2013 at 05:39PM by William Cosgrove)

When you take a trip back into the history of the automotive world, there’s a lot of strange and wonderful things to look at. Like, the height of the worlds lowest street-legal car, or, how much a hood ornament on a Rolls-Royce costs, or even a couple flame-throwing BMW‘s. All weird and wonderful things to behold.

Take a look at these 50 quirky car facts that the folks over at Carloan4U put together:


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