Ever since I broke into sales, I’ve heard leadership talking about ‘cloning the best reps’. The best reps seem to deliver year after year, even as the company grows and the product mix changes.
Figuring out a way to capture that genie in a bottle is a great idea.
So good, in fact, I’ve spent the better part of the last two decades working this problem with my own sales teams and the sales teams at my consulting clients.
I’ve built dozens of sales playbooks, I’ve used playbook platforms, I’ve video-taped role-play sessions — you name it.
I even started a software company four years ago to do it – SharperAx makes capturing stories from the top reps easy and makes it easy to share them with the rest of the sales team and makes it easy to practice and master them.
But even all that still misses a big piece of what make a top rep a top rep.
Cloning the best reps is more than cloning what top reps do – more than their process, more than capturing the tools they use and the questions they ask, more than documenting the stories they tell.
To clone a top rep, you not only need to capture what they do, you also need to capture their pipeline to new stories. You need to capture their networks.
Top reps know how to get the stories they need to keep winning. They’ve established relationships over the years with key people inside and outside the company. Not only do they typically have strong relationships in the marketing, product and service organizations, leadership always wants to talk to the top reps.
The best reps are continually accumulating the context and insights that keeps their sales conversations current, compelling and credible, even as the products they sell and the markets they sell into change.
So, how do you clone a top rep’s network?
One way our customers have been able to simulate this story pipeline is by using their role-play automation system to capture the insights and stories from the people in the company that know them.
We’ve seen founders tell the company story, client service reps tell customer stories, CEOs tell the acquisition stories, product managers tell the product origin stories, product marketers tell the competitive positioning stories and so on.
Once these stories are captured, the entire salesforce can use the role-play automation system to watch them, practice them, get coached on them and master them.
Certainly there are things about top reps you can never clone, but capturing their stories and story pipelines are two big steps of the journey.