Strength in Numbers – Maximising the Middle

This month, we had the pleasure of joining the Scotland User Group for its September gathering in Edinburgh. CloudApps was invited to discuss ‘Scaling Sales & Service Performance’ by maximising the behaviours of core employees. Here’s a quick summary…


Scaling Performance with Behavioural Motivation

We don’t mean to make assumptions but, hands up if your Sales or Service teams look a little like the bell curve bellow:


sales and service performance


Standing proudly at the top and systematically meeting personal and business targets we find Paula Perfect (or Ian Ideal, if it suits you best!) – she’s your star player, following procedure, filling in her meeting notes on time, inputting updated contact information into the system, closing deals and bringing in the bacon. We love Paula.

Somewhere in the middle, there’s a large cluster of inbetweeners – they occasionally close deals, sometimes update lead info and always try, although sometimes fail, to expand and accelerate their personal progress and that of the organisation.

And, whom do we have at the lower side of our curve? Well, it’s the infamous Larry Laggard (or Susie Straggler!). He often closes deals but refuses to keep any data up-to-date. His ‘magic’ technique is frequently fruitful but his bad behaviour trips up others’ abilities by starving the system of collaborative information and his habits often rub off on his team members who don’t always get as lucky as Larry. This enfant terrible disrupts the order of your well-balanced system and causes the rest of the team to wonder why they’re bothering with a CRM platform that Larry seems to dismiss with impunity. Does this sound familiar?

We all want to sell more, we want to close bigger deals and have more customers renewing their contracts – we aim to scale our businesses, year on year with the help of our team. It’s this team that needs our attention if we want to succeed. Our reps can’t reach the desired destination without first mapping out the appropriate journey towards it. Here at CloudApps, we have labelled this journey as ‘the winning way’ – a set of behaviours that consistently lead to meeting those targets – and our aim is to get every member of the team on that track.

Yesterday, we joined the Scotland Salesforce User Group to talk about how behavioural motivation can hugely aid their coaching techniques and redirect their team towards their own particular winning way.


Scotland User Group


When asked the same question proposed above ‘how many of you can recognise this bell curve in your own teams?’ almost everybody raised their hand. Most businesses have a gleaming Paula and a lousy Larry but every business has a core team that’s teetering in the middle. It’s this group of individuals who can actually have the biggest impact on your overall outcomes.

Just take a look at this statistic from the Sales Executive Council:


5% shift in performance of the core performers yields over 70% more revenue.

Compared to a 5% shift in high performers productivity.


Logically, this is because our star employees are sadly few and far between. You can’t rest the entire weight of your monthly targets on a few stellar individuals – they’re already delivering as much as it’s humanly possible and any higher demand would either burn them out or make them move on to greener pastures.

So, here’s the trick – we concentrate on our core performers and nudge their behaviours to closely duplicate those of Ian Ideal and Paula Perfect. How do we do this?

First, we drill into these gold activities our starlets are creating. Luckily, these are being recorded daily in our CRM system. What is it that they are doing and how often? What’s the cadence, the rhythm of their success? Map these out and you’ll have created your ‘winning way’. Now, we want to get our team closing more deals/signing more contracts BUT this enormous task isn’t a realistic target. It is only the behaviours around it that can truly be motivated and that will naturally lead to our overall goal.

If your core members are being motivated to keep data clean, if they’re being rewarded for correctly qualifying leads or collaborating with others online, just think how much more effective your data will quickly become, and in turn, how efficient your users will be if they are properly using the system and feeding on that accurate information.

We have to stop looking at the sales/service process as a one-dimensional concept. Success can no longer be measured at the end of the quarter by how many deals closed on a win. We have to insert our attention at each step of the way – drilling into those activities and studying their possibility of success or failure as they happen.

Let’s take a look at the video below – if only Murray had had access to this information as he went along, he would have known that the techniques used weren’t working out for that particular game. Only by having this type of live view into our users’ actions can we effectively steer them onto better paths. It’s no longer appropriate to take out your stick when the target has been missed; it is imperative that as managers we provide appropriate guidance, that is data-driven and current, through the entire process.



Keeping targets transparent and avoiding the common mistake of rewarding only for the outcome will inspire your teams to achieve daily. Set goals they can clearly identify with and milestones they can successfully attain and watch as your bell curve starts shifting right, bringing more Paulas to surface and creating a united force solidified in a stronger, proven process.

Innovative Sales Leaders Turn to New Sales Coaching Techniques to Scale Sales Success


Now you’ve got your team working at an amazing rate, it’s time to say thank you for their top performance.

Here are 115 ideas to give them a well-deserved pat on the back!



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