I have been studying the numbers how my salesforce had been performing the past months and I noticed that there are always some very consistent performers at the top of the heap and a large number at the bottom.  Sometimes, there are more performers at the middle, which is much better, but I can’t seem to keep it that way. How do I make things more consistent in my team? --  Francis from Mandaluyong City
Here are some tips to Transform Your Salesforce’s Performance Shape from a ‘Treacherous Triangle’, a ‘Developing Diamond’ to a ‘Performing Pentagon’
It is often observed that there exist three (3) types of sales managers: the performer and the consistent performer. Wait a minute…what happened to the third type? Well, the third type probably got fired, swept away during a channel revamp or had to concomitantly go when the going concern became nothing more than a deep and serious issue and so he had to get going…permanently so to speak.
Are there any indications that a sales manager is heading for the third type? Well there are plenty but there is one that stands out and that is the shape of the sales force performance.  So what sales force performance shapes are there? There are several significant ones: a triangle, a diamond and a pentagon.
The Treacherous Triangle
This shape houses just a few real performers at the top, followed by more average performers and a very wide base of underperformers.  To call a spade a spade, the triangle is pretty much a bad shape. Three (3) Ts of the Triangle reveal the following: ‘Talent limitations’ of people, ‘Trial and error as the predominant practice, ‘Trying’ to succeed as the pervasive culture.
Prescriptions to alleviate the situation are as follows:  from ‘Talent limitations’ of people to Training-supported personnel; from ‘Trial and error as the predominant practice to having an arsenal of ‘Tactical knowledge and ability; from merely ‘Trying’ to succeed as the pervasive culture to ‘Tenacity’ to deliver on commitments as the norm.
The Developing Diamond
This performance shape has drastically reduced the bottom of the pit, retained the small top but has expanded the middle. Four (4) Ds that aptly characterize the diamond shape of sales performance are as follows: ‘Dominated by a few’, ‘Development of mid performers’, ‘Dwindling laggards’ and ‘Drawing out of good practices’.
It is highly recommended that if this happens to be the sales force’s performance shape than the sales manager must continue to increase the top performers’ count (using the prescription discussed above among others) which will eventually lead it to the next shape, the pentagon.
The Performing Pentagon
This time, the shape provides for a large room at the top, followed by a wide middle portion, while having a tapered bottom portion.  There are five (5) Ps that best describe the performing pentagon as follows: ‘People-quality’, ‘Pruning’ mechanism (is) deployed, a ‘Performance Culture’ predominates, ‘Precision Performance Playbooks’ capture best practices, and a highly motivating ‘Payoff’ for performance (is) in place.
Logic dictates that because this shape is optimal, maintaining it is a primordial task of the sales manager so that consistent performance can be replicated.
As you have seen here, just like a human shape can be a visual indicator of health status, the sales force’s performance shape also provides valuable information and corresponding required actions.  Hence, the sales manager who is cognizant of such shapes will predictably benefit from evolving the current one he is facing to the ideal Performing Pentagon.  In the end, the sales manager avoids being classified as Type 3, thereby earning his right to remain in command within the five walls of the Performing Pentagon.
Rowen Untivero is Partner and Chief Sales Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. (www.mansmith.net),the leading marketing and sales training company in the Philippines.  He is the Designer and Training Master of the seminar-workshop “From Selling to Managing”, where related framework, processes, strategies and tools can be further learned. For inquiries, please email info@mansmith.net, visit www.mansmith.net or call (+63-2) 584-5858 /412-0034 or text (63) 918-81-168-88.
Please also send your marketing and sales and strategy questions to mentors@mansmith.net.