It is essential that sales executives responsible for performance and accountable for results, create a high performance sales culture that relies on the frequency and effectiveness of resources devoted to developing the potential of the sales team.

During our 40 years of experience consulting with sales professionals, we have learned that 80% of sales results typically come from 20% of a sales team. Ironically only 20% of the resources were often devoted to the top 80%.

In the ideal coaching system, the continual investment in resources needs to ALIGN with the sales results.



As evident in the above grid, most sales cultures have a mix of the number (%) of individuals in each of the four categories.

GOLDEN EAGLES – High performers who work hard and get excellent results. They are fun to coach and provide a great ROI on management time and corporate resources.

EFFORT EAGLES –  This group works hard and benefits from coaching and resource allocation. New skills and competencies are immediately implemented and increase performance and results.

TALENT TRAPS –  They are very talented (high potential) and get average results but tend to frustrate coaches and managers. The trap is the attempt to motivate, allocate time and resources based on the perceived potential. Reinforcement theory simply states that if you want something to reoccur reinforce it. By spending more time to motivate the traps, managers end up reinforcing the lack of activity often at the expense of the Eagles. Attempting to motivate through reinforcement is called COAXING.

MIRACLE TRAPS – It is a miracle they remain on your team as they don’t work hard and don’t get results. Again, any attempts to motivate require COAXING.


From our experiences, successful top managers and organizations spend 80% of their resources and coaching time on the Eagles and 20% on the Traps. Inexperienced managers spend more time coaxing the Traps than coaching the Eagles. Through using reinforcement theory, by spending more time on the Eagles, the Traps begin to recognize that if they value management and corporate resources all they must do is work HARD. If you ignore your Eagles or spend more time with the Traps, the Eagles will FLY AWAY.


  1. Align company resources, coaching and training to invest in the Eagles
  2. Set the team up for success by identifying Traps during the selection process

*View our previous blog about Predictive Sales Performance and Retention for more inspiration