Today on the funnel we’re going to discuss the sales rep development plan. This plan will help you to better understand your reps goals, growth, and progress within your company, as well as helping them move to forward. Sales rep development plans will give you an insight into how to best get your sales reps to where they want to be, helping both you and them in the long run.


What we’re going to cover:

  • Career opportunity.
  • Goals and desires.
  • Requirements.
  • Develop a plan.
  • More than an annual meeting.


Career Opportunity.

Want opportunity.

“Most people in a job they want career growth and it’s no different for sales people. That career growth could be anything, it could be management, it could be maybe a larger account responsibility, higher revenue responsibility, different sales roles,and understanding as a manager that your employees want opportunities is extremely important.”


Professional goals.

“Top sales performers, they want to develop, they have professional goals, they want to develop those skills and they want that upward mobility and you can attract really good salespeople if you show them a path to development, a path to growth.”

Why employees leave.

“Because that’s why employees leave. They leave because they don’t see an opportunity or a path. And I think in today’s world a lot of the millennials feel like in order to move forward they need to leverage what they’re doing now into a new opportunity somewhere else.”


Goals and desires.


“We use a candidate assessment, we also use a sales rep assessment when assessing an organization. We go into a sales organization and we look at the entire big picture right on down to the individuals. It’s really just to get an understanding of where you are as a company, as a manager, as a sales rep, how the sales rep sees the managers, what kind of processes and programs you have in place, how you support the sales function, the skills, strengths, and weakness of your existing sales force. It helps us formulate a plan to help you improve.”


Goal setting program.

“How do you know where your people want to go when you don’t know their goals? You start out with a goal you work backwards to. In my world, literally everything you are going to do every day and we break it down to the daily activities so we have a real clear understanding of that.

But I also want to know what are your personal goals? What do you want to do with your life? Where do you want to be at 3-5 years? And part of that goal setting should be what do you want your career to look like, where do you want to be a year, 5 years? What is it that you want, what are your desires?”


Personal and professional connection.

“You don’t need to be their best friend, that’s not what we’re talking about here, but I’m interested in the people that I work with. I’m truly interested in them as people. Interested in what they like, what they don’t like, their families. I ask them about their kids not because I’m supposed to but because I want to.”


Understand what they want to do.

“Where do you want to go? And through all of my meetings and discussions and conversations with them we’ll get into that and what that looks like in developing a career path.

And that’s an exercise that’s pretty in depth and lengthy and you should do it at least annually as you begin to set up the year. Then throughout the years you have conversations with them and you get updated.”

Does it fit?

“I need to determine, is it a fit? Is what they want to do something that I think they can do long term?

Now if somebody says I want to be a VP of sales and they’re in their first year of sales, you’re looking for leadership qualities and those sorts of things.You’re not looking for everything a VP of sales needs to have. What I’m looking for is do they display some of the characteristics of someone who would fit in that role and do well in that job and it’s my job to have that conversation with them if it is a fit, or maybe if it isn’t.”




“I want to be a manager, I want to do this, I want to do that. What actions are you going to take to develop into that role? They have to take ownership of that and you have to take ownership as their manager to help them get there.”


Quota achievement.


“So, if you want to be a manager someday and your manager is constantly chasing you around to do the things you’re supposed to do, the basic part of your job, that’s not good. If you’re significantly under quota, that’s not good. How can you expect to move forward when you’re not achieving quota? I’m not going to say we don’t have bad months, or bad quarters but it’s not going to ruin your career.”


Develop a plan.

“You have to have long range and short range goals. Something they can hit and achieve, targeted things that are going to help them achieve their goals long term with the company as well as short term.”

Long range plan.

“So look if this is what you want to do, you’ve been here for 3 years, here’s where we’re going to go with it. This is the long-range plan, you want to be a manager someday, okay you want to learn how to do that. Well there’s some training and support that we give managers here, you are more than welcome to participate in some of that and we’ll lay that out as part of the long-range plan. We’ll lay out your goals in terms of numbers etc. And we have a mentor program, we’re going to put you into the mentor program, you can mentor young reps it will teach you how to be a good mentor.”


Short range plan.

“The short range we have to hit our quota numbers and you have to participate. But maybe there’s a project that needs to be done on a quarterly basis, stuff like that. So, you put it in writing, you develop that plan, and the steps that are necessary to succeed.”


Action items.

“Action items need to be put in place over a period of time so if you have something that needs to be completed you know what to do. We had what we called field supervisors, reps that we’ve put in a place where they’re responsible for one other rep in the terms of day to day management activity levels with significant oversight from a manager to give them the experience to give them the experience of managing. And there were certain things they had to hit to do that and there’s plans in place to do that.”


Steps necessary to succeed.

“The plan should be in writing. It should have action items and goals and steps to hit, just think of it like your sales process. A sales process is milestone centric driven, you hit one gate then you move to the next, then you close the opportunity, same here it’s milestone driven.”


Show me.

“Don’t just say you have to demonstrate leadership qualities, what does that mean? Well let’s define that, let’s clear that up what that looks like and let’s put a long range program together that shows us that. Things that you can do as a rep from me as the manager so I can see you’re developing. And we’ll update the short term, short range plans as we move forward and we’ll completely and clearly define what the steps are to be successful in that role.”


More than an annual meeting.

“Communication is critical here, open door policy.”

Annual meeting.

“So, the annual meeting, first of all, if you’re going to do that commit to it and never skip. Have an outline and an agenda on what you’re going to cover, and it doesn’t have to be a lunch or outside the office. It can be but you sit down and you roll up your sleeves and get down to brass tacks and you work through stuff. But it doesn’t end there.”


Quarterly updates.

“You can have a short quarterly half an hour update. Remember we put the program in place and we put the long range, short range, you explained all of this to me, here are the action items I was to hit, here’s what you were to hit, lets’ talk about where we are today okay? And so four times a year you’re having little mini meetings to discuss it.”


Ongoing conversations.

“Who’s to say you can’t have this conversation just as an update?  Instead of like just the heavy conversation it’s the light conversation. ‘so tell me, how’s it going? Are you struggling with anything? You can really just have some good management conversations about some of the things you’ve done as a manager that’s been successful, imparting some of that wisdom on them in a less formal situation.

Those kinds of conversations and in that sort of open environment, they’re money. They work. And it motivates people because they know you care. It’s not just like oh well he’s got to do this.”


Enjoy it.

“Take it for what is it. And it’ll motivate the living daylights out of your reps and it’ll increase loyalty. Loyalty doesn’t happen because you follow a 6 step process. It happens because you actually care about them and you’re doing the things to help them get better at what they do. In other words, you’re not selfish. You’re opening up to helping others. That’s what it’s about in developing that plan.”


Keep Filling The Funnel

We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this episode. Please feel free to reach out to us if there is a specific sales topic you would like me to cover.  You can find me on Twitter at @Sheajohnr or email me at  And if you get a chance, please feel free to review us on iTunes.


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1 Comment

  1. Alicia

    This was an extremely helpful podcast and a great confirmation that I am on the right path to helping my sales floor. Thank you!


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