Price’s statistical law states that 50% of any given result is generated by the square root of the number of those who contribute to it. There are many examples of this universal law. Five composers generate 50% of classical music sales and only a small part of their works contribute to this success.
Applied to sales Price’s Law means that only a small part of the sales force (the square root of the size of the team) generates 50% of the revenue. Out of a team of 10 salespeople, 3 to 4 of them in a given year will generate 50% of the turnover (new business).
The difficulty lies in the fact that the square root is an almost linear function but (x – square root) is an exponential function. If the team we were talking about above were to grow to 40 salespeople, only 6 to 7 sales executives would make 50% of the sales. They would be the ones on stage for the award ceremony. Year after year for the majority of them.
The corollary of this increase in numbers is that if 7 out of 10 salespeople collectively carried 50% of the remaining turnover, with a team of 40 salespeople, there would now be 33. And this is why performance is linear and incompetence is exponential. It is also why, in 2019 (and therefore before the health crisis), only 55% of salespeople (/CSO Insights – Gartner/) have reached their objectives.
Effectiveness comes largely from the knowledge of each individual and the credibility that can be demonstrated. The best sellers are those who combine a strong area of expertise with a perfect knowledge of the advantages and benefits of their offer. They are the guarantors of your turnover and everything must be done to ensure that they do not go to work for competitors. In other words, look after them.
As seen previously, if the turnover is €20M and there are 10 sales representatives, €10M will probably be generated by the 3 best sellers and the other 10 by the next 7. Among the latter, again applying Price’s Law, 2 salespeople will generate €5M, the remaining €5M being divided between the last 5 salespeople. These 2 salespeople are the stars of tomorrow. It is on them that we must invest. They are the ones who aspire to nothing but to be among the best and who will be the most receptive to coaching and any form of help you can give them.
Most sales methods have aged badly. They don’t address the causes of the problem that creates the need, they start from the premise that the prospect will not find a better alternative than the one he already has in mind, that the budget must already be fully allocated to this expense and that whatever happens, one of the suppliers will win the deal.
In the current context, the only relevant methodologies are those that 1) value in the eyes of the buyer, in the numerical sense of the term, the change he considers making 2) because the impact of the latter is measurable and 3) enables him to achieve objectives for which he bears responsibility.
Having a sales method adapted to today’s world is key. Salespeople have less time to talk to their prospects and the latter are less and less receptive to pitches because they are solicited 30 times a day.
Even more so today, it has become essential to measure in an effective, objective and intangible way the quality of the opportunities on which salespeople work. They are often, if not daily, asked what they think of a particular deal. The problem is in the question. The point is not to know their opinion (or their hopes) but to be able to measure the reality of each deal on the basis of criteria that are 1) objective, 2) measurable and 3) based solely on facts. In addition to being able to detect as early as possible opportunities that are statistically unlikely to be won, an objective pipeline is crucial in the ability to make realistic forecasts (https://www.linkedin.com/posts/fredkahn_one-of-the-major-changes-the-covid-19-pandemic-activity-6677118735901454336-Q7in).
A statistical law remains a statistical law. There are three choices:
- Consider that the law of Price does not exist
- Saying to yourself that nothing can be done and enduring it
- Implementing methods and tools that, on a like-for-like basis, improve the productivity of each sales representative and thus increase turnover.
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