Why Sales Welfare Pisses Off Your Best Salespeople

by Chris Young - The Rainmaker

Top_sales_performers_hate_your_sales_welfare_programTop performers hate your sales welfare program

"Sales welfare" is the transfer of wealth from top sales performers to your low performers.

Practically every company has what I call a "sales welfare transfer program" where low performers are paid for breathing.

Your sales wolves hate your sales welfare program is for three simple reasons:


  1. Their compensation is lower because part of their compensation is shifted to pay for your low performers.
  2. They should be winning the Prospects your low performers are losing.
  3. They could penetrate existing accounts at a higher level.   

The irony is you hate paying 40 percent in taxes.

If you are like me it pisses you off to see people live off the government on a permanent basis.  The truth is these people are not living off the government.  They are living off what you produce - what you pay in taxes.  

You hate leaches.

We share much in common.  You came from the trenches.  You know what hard work is.  You believe everyone can succeed if only they work for it like you did.  You stopped working with your back years ago.  Today, you work with your mind.  Your thoughts - your intellectual property has taken years to create.  

You believe in personal accountability.  

If right now you are saying, "That is not me," then please click here.


The definition of "stupid loyal".

The definition of "stupid loyal" is one party in a relationship is far more loyal to the other and there is no reciprocation. Two examples follow:

  • You loyally compensate or "protect" a salesperson who has not produced in the last 18 or more months.  
  • Your top salespeople are at strong levels and you do not pay them what they are worth.

Look. If someone saves your life, there is no "stupid loyal". You are simply loyal for life.  Period. 


Chances are you are stupid loyal.  

Loyalty is beautiful to a point.  But some people are what I call, "stupid loyal".  

I certainly have been stupid loyal at times.  There have been times where I have way overpaid the dues another has paid to me.  I strongly believe in repaying loyalty more than is given to me but there must be a limit. 

Loyalty must be reciprocated.  But being stupid loyal is bad for everyone - especially in sales management.

Are you repaying "loyalty" like the following true story?

Ten years ago "Burt" helped land a colossal deal.  "Burt" went to grade school with the Client's decision-maker.  It was neither ability nor skill that closed the deal.  It was a childhood friendship.  

Other than that particular Client, Burt has not done anything meaningful since then. In fact he gives away price breaks and service whenever he has the opportunity. He should never have been in sales. Burt could not close a book in a library. Unfortunately, Burt is grandfathered in. He is untouchable. Everyone talks about Burt and snickers about his ineptness and his lack of acumen while management says, "Burt's a good guy."

Ask the high performers how they feel about Burt.  They feel sorry for him (kinda) and they also loathe him.  But more importantly - they think the VP of sales is a pushover for allowing Burt to remain on the sales team.

Chances are you are doing the very same thing.  Remember...

  • Losing a sale because a salesperson cannot sell is not loyalty.  It is the opposite of loyalty.
  • Failing to properly penetrate an existing account and add extreme value is not loyalty.  It is the opposite of loyalty.
  • Allowing high performers to see a low performer get paid the big bucks while wasting valuable company time cruising the internet - updating Facebook - and keeping track of sports scores online is not loyalty.  It is the opposite of loyalty.


You are not fooling anyone.  Top_sales_performers_know_who_is_producing_and_who_is_not

Walk into any sales team and pull aside the top performers and ask them who is producing and who is not.  Top performers are as smart as you are.  They all know who is sucking the lifeblood out of the company.  They know who could not close a book in a library.  They know who gives stuff away.  And they know if you are a wolf Sales VP or CEO.

They know!  So stop thinking they do not.

Only morons believe that salespeople - especially top salespeople are not aware of the sales welfare transfer you are pulling.

 So stop.


What you must do right now.

You must remove low performers.  Do it right now.  Do not wait another quarter or another month. Remove low performers this week.  Draw a line in the sand.  Give your sales wolves some hope.  Then...

  • Apologize to your Customers for failing to add extreme value.  Chances are the low performers were doing little more than order-taking.  They will forgive you this one time.  
  • Apologize to your sales wolves for taking commission away from them and giving it to low performers.  
  • Feed your sales wolves.  Give them an increase in their commission.  Give them what you used to give your low performers.