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Does Efficiency or DNA Help to Increase Sales?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 @ 02:38 PM



Dave Kurlan is a top-rated keynote speaker, best-selling author, sales thought leader and expert on all things sales and selling.

efficiencyThe Salesforce Blog published a new article of mine today - Read How to Create Perfect Sales Conditions.  It's really an article about how to use tools and efficiency to increase your focus and sales.  Speaking of efficiency, Kyle Dougherty, from Prialto, sent me this very cool video today.  Talk about a tool that helps you to be efficient!

Some people have efficiency in their DNA.  Matt Heinz wrote this article for the Hubspot Inbound Sales Blog, asking whether great salespeople are born.  I usually like what Matt writes, but I take issue with this particular article because the science just isn't there for what he wrote.

Compare that article with this article on the same subject.  Or this article, or even this article.

Science has a lot to say about sales selection!  And there's plenty of science available for us to make sales selection more effective, more consistent and more efficient.  

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And that returns us to where we began this article - efficiency.

Efficiency and effectiveness are choices.  Do things the same way as always and sometimes get it right; or do things in the best possible way and nearly always get it right.  As always, the choice is yours.

 

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Look for Potential in the Next Generation of Sales Hires

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 @ 09:57 AM



Dave Kurlan is a top-rated keynote speaker, best-selling author, sales thought leader and expert on all things sales and selling.

potentialThe Harvard Business Review finally published a relevant article that I agreed with!  Yeah HBR.  Much too frequently, their articles on selling are written by out-of-touch researchers with little field experience and lots of theories.

21st Century Talent Spotting points to coming talent shortage and the importance of hiring for potential.  The article also instructs readers to evaluate using a predictive tool.  

Resumes tell you where a candidate has been, how long they stayed, and what they did.  References verify that information.  Interviews spotlight the candidate's presence, show their ability to make first impressions, present, and answer questions.  Track records represent their past performance.  With all of that information about their past, how can you possibly gauge potential when hiring for your sales force?

Objective Management Group (OMG) has three candidate assessments that provide companies with exactly that for sales, sales management, and sales leadership (VP/Sales Director).

While personality and behavioral styles tests tell you about a candidate's make-up, OMG's assessments tell you about their Sales DNA, Sales Competencies, Will to Sell (Desire, Commitment, Motivation), and Potential.  Yes, potential.  Make-up is nice to have.  DNA, Competencies, Will to Sell and Potential are must-haves.  OMG is uniquely able to determine and accurately predict whether or not a candidate's combination of will, competencies, and DNA will allow them to succeed in a particular sales role, in your business and industry, selling to your ideal decision-maker, against your competition, with your pricing, sales cycle and challenges.  It's all about potential.

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Findings Related to Potential 

There are eight findings that point to potential:

  1. Growth Potential - how much improvement we can expect from this point forward.
  2. Trainable - whether or not the candidate has the incentive to change and adapt.
  3. Coachable - whether or not the candidate is open to constructive criticism and believes there is room for improvement.
  4. Competency Scores - 8 scores, competencies and tables show both the gaps in each competency as well as the skills that must be developed.
  5. Sales DNA - 6 scores and findings show the gap for each element of Sales DNA and pave the way for improvement.
  6. FIOF - the Figure it Out factor shows how quickly a particular candidate will ramp up and begin selling consistently.
  7. Compatibility - this shows how compatible a candidate is with your selling environment.  The more compatible, the shorter the learning curve.
  8. Longevity - this predicts the likelihood of the candidate still being with you at the point in time where they produce a 5X Return on your investment in them.
  9. Recommendation - this finding predicts whether or not the candidate will succeed in this role.  It's predictive, accurate and lets you know which candidates are worthy of your time throughout the rest of the sales recruiting process.

We believe that hiring for potential is smart hiring.  But beware, the greater the potential, the longer the wait for results.

If you're looking for a candidate to have an immediate impact, you'll want to select a recommended candidate with a lower score on Growth Potential.


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What Percentage of Sales Candidates Are Hired?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Sun, Jul 20, 2014 @ 08:07 PM



Dave Kurlan is a top-rated keynote speaker, best-selling author, sales thought leader and expert on all things sales and selling.
sales selection

 

Do you know what percentage of sales candidates eventually get hired?  I posed that very question to Google search and none of the results, that appeared on the first page, answered my question.  Two results pointed to my article from earlier in 2014 that answered the question, "How Many Sales Candidates are Worthy of Being Hired?"

That article addressed several classifications and roles and revealed that, on average, 28% of all sales, sales management and sales leadership candidates assessed were recommended using Objective Management Group's (OMG) assessment.  

 

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It's not quite as simple to figure out how many were actually hired, but we have our ways.  I'll spare you our steps and calculations, but when all was said and done, the data showed that 6% of all candidates assessed were hired.

What Does 6% Mean for You?

In very simple terms, 6% means that 20 candidates must be assessed for each one who is hired.  With an overall recommendation rate of 28%, those 20 assessments will yield approximately 6 candidates who are worthy of your time.  But there is much more to consider.

In order for 20 candidates to take the assessment, you'll probably need 40 to submit their resumes and at least 30 of them to complete an online application.  

We instruct our clients to run a 5-step process where the first 2 steps are to follow a link to an online application, and after completing that, follow another link to the online sales assessment.  The most casual of the applicants will drop out at the online application.  Too much work.  If they can submit a resume and get an interview, they'll take it, but any more effort than that and they'll remain with the company for which they are currently working.  The least qualified will drop out at the online assessment.  Too role-specific.  When they begin to complete the assessment and have difficulty answering all sales-specific questions, they quit, knowing they aren't qualified.

What if You Don't Get 40 Resumes Per Role?

If your flow of resumes is poor, you are probably doing several things wrong.  It's likely a combination of things including, but not limited to your ad title, the ad itself, the compensation, the geography, too much information, the wrong information, who you are targeting, where you are targeting them, etc.  The assessment is only as good as the pool of candidates you find and attract.  That's why a lot of recruiters become frustrated with OMG.  

Why Do Recruiters Get So Frustrated When Their Clients Use OMG?

Recruiters don't want to work any harder than they need to and when an OMG Candidate Assessment is involved, they quickly learn that, of the candidates they send to their clients, the majority (72%) are not recommended.  Recruiting is a lot like real estate sales.  Recruiters tend to send candidates who have curb appeal and a relevant resume, as opposed to candidates who have the required skills and competencies, but might be a harder sell because they lack curb appeal or their resume doesn't scream "hire me!"  The OMG Candidate Assessment differentiates between those candidates quite well, and its accuracy and predictive qualities are legendary.

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What is the Most Effective Way of Using the Assessment?

The assessment is most effective when used very early in the process - as a first or second step prior to reviewing a resume or speaking with a candidate by phone.  Years ago, I observed that most employers used assessments incorrectly.  They were using personality and behavioral styles tests which are not in any way, shape or form predictive of sales success, and they were not being utilized until after they had narrowed the field down to the final 5 candidates.  Unfortunately for them, the 5 they identified were usually not the best 5 to consider.

Used early in the process, companies eliminate the candidates who won't succeed, don't waste time talking with them, and can invest all of their time speaking with and interviewing the strongest sales candidates.  Best of all, those top candidates are identified using a customized, scientific and objective analysis, not one based on resumes and industry experience.  As a bonus, companies who assess all of their candidates are EEOC Compliant, while companies who cherry-pick to assess are being discriminatory.

Isn't it Expensive to Use That Many Assessments?

Several years ago, OMG moved to a subscription model that offered unlimited assessments, providing employers with a financial incentive to use the assessments correctly and efficiently at the beginning of the process.  Subscriptions control costs, get the actual per assessment price to a ridiculously low number, and allow companies to assess every candidate.

Companies, who use OMG for sales selection, enjoy incredible consistencies, reduce their turnover, improve their on-boarding time, and significantly increase their success rate.  That could be you...

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Top 10 Sales Recruiting Lessons to Hire Great Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 @ 07:21 AM



Dave Kurlan is a top-rated keynote speaker, best-selling author, sales thought leader and expert on all things sales and selling.

sales candidatesOne of the first emails I came across this morning was a LinkedIn update telling me that 16% of my network had started new jobs.  16%.  That's one of every 6.25 people I am connected to.

That brings us to this question.  Who's in a LinkedIn network?

I'm very selective about who I connect to on LinkedIn.  Some would suggest that you should connect with as many people as possible.  I'm of the belief that you should connect with people who you know and who know you.  I believe that you should also connect with those who fit the profile of your customers and/or clients as well as the people who can connect you with them.  

I receive twenty requests to join someone else's network for every one I send out, and I don't accept invitations from people I don't know unless they are connected to my target audience. I admit it, I'm a LinkedIn snob.

So with all that said, 16% of my small network, with fewer than 1,000 connections, still means that after we account for those people who I know, but aren't in my target demographic, more than 125 CEO's, Presidents, HR Directors, Sales Directors and Salespeople took new jobs.  2 of them left my company, a bunch of them left clients, and another bunch took jobs with clients.

This is actually very consistent with what we see and what our clients see when recruiting for positions.  There are plenty of senior sales candidates out and about, getting fed up, discouraged, mistreated, and terminated.  At the same time, very few of them have the competencies required to be effective in sales management and sales leadership roles.  You must be extremely selective and that's where it helps to have an awesome Sales Management or Sales Leadership Candidate Assessment like Objective Management Group (OMG) offers.  It is of enormous help in filtering the good-looking candidates from the strong, competent candidates.

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When it comes to sales candidates, there is a certifiable shortage.  Sure, if you post an ad, you'll get resumes, but most of the available (I can't call it talent) candidates are of poor quality.  

 

We have several tricks that we use to find and attract top talent (I share an awful lot in my blog posts, but we get paid for our best stuff), but the real lessons are these 10:

  1. You must be patient.  Wait for the right one and don't compromise.
  2. Don't hire because of a resume or references.  The success may not be transferrable.
  3. Don't disqualify because of a resume.  It may not be their fault.
  4. Don't disqualify because of a failure.  It could have been cultural or industry-specific.
  5. Track record is good, but not a guarantee of future performance.
  6. It comes down to Motivation, Competencies, Capabilities, Sales DNA and Fit and those must be measured, not claimed or guessed at.
  7. Everything you think you know about recruiting salespeople is probably only half right.
  8. If you don't use an accurate, predictive, sales-specific Candidate Assessment, you'll have better luck spinning the wheel.
  9. Most recruiters are no better at spotting and/or recommending good sales candidates than you.
  10. A good, new salesperson, without formal, structured on-boarding, direction, accountability and coaching, is just as likely to fail as a lousy salesperson.

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What is the Best Sales Process for Increasing Sales?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jul 14, 2014 @ 05:39 AM



Dave Kurlan is a top-rated keynote speaker, best-selling author, sales thought leader and expert on all things sales and selling.

sales process

If you were on vacation the past two weeks, this is what we were discussing:

June 30: The Top 10 Reasons Your Great New Salesperson Could Fail 
July 1: The One Sales Question I've Been Wrong About for Years 
July 2: The One Thing Missing from the New Way of Selling Part 2 
July 7: Leads are Making Salespeople Lazier Than Old Golden Retrievers 
July 8: Top 21 Keys to Making Your Sales Force Dominate Today 
July 10: The New 21 Core Sales Competencies for Modern Selling   

The following article first appeared in the July Issue of TopSales Magazine.

I’m a baseball lover, die-hard Red Sox fan, and proud father of a 12-year-old baseball star.  Having founded Kurlan & Associates in 1985 and Objective Management Group in 1990, the only surprise should be that it took so long to combine the two passions and write Baseline Selling – How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball, in 2005.

Baseline Selling

Companies have terrific results when they implement Baseline Selling, and last week a well-known expert asked, “What is the big secret that makes Baseline Selling so powerful?"  He thought it would make for a great article discussion, so let’s attempt to answer that question by starting with a few questions of my own.

Is it the sales process that makes it so powerful?  The big difference between the sales process in Baseline Selling and other sales processes is that rather than having outcome-based steps, time-based steps or task-oriented steps, it has customizable milestone-centric steps.  You might think that a step is a step, but there are huge differences.  With time-based steps, you may have achieved a certain number of calls or meetings, but you may not have actually achieved the desired outcomes.  With task-oriented steps, you may have completed the tasks, but you may not know whether you are any closer to having a new customer or client.  With outcome-based steps, you may have achieved the desired outcomes, but as with time and task-based steps, you may not know what will actually happen next.  With a milestone-centric process, the sequence of steps is extremely important because the steps build off of each other, and as each milestone is achieved, a salesperson gains more evidence, thus leverage and confidence that they are closer to the sale.

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Is it the methodology that makes it so powerful?  Nothing is more important in today’s selling than the conversation that takes place between the salesperson and the prospect.  While other methodologies are based on relationship-building, strategy or tactics, the Baseline Selling methodology is based on the conversation that continues across each stage.  Milestones are known only to the salesperson, achieved within the conversation, and invisible to prospects.  The methodology then, is consistent with the conversation that moves the process from step to step and stage to stage.

Is it because of uncovering compelling reasons to buy?  Unlike needs-based, buyer-journey, or pain-based approaches, the compelling reasons as to why a prospect would move their business to you, or buy this product, service or program in the first place, provides the salesperson with leverage.  It allows the salesperson to build a case using the prospect’s reasons, and helps the salesperson to position the solution in such a way that resonates with what is most important to the prospect.  On the other hand, a need may not be reason enough to change.  The buyer journey includes the salesperson at a point where it is difficult to move backward to gather the necessary information, and pain only works when there is a known problem and a desire to fix it.  While pain could be the source of a compelling reason, the desire to take advantage of an opportunity could just as often be compelling enough for a prospect.  In that scenario, the salesperson seeking to find pain would conclude that in the absence of pain, the prospect should be disqualified.

Is it the concept of SOB Quality?  Before we can discuss SOB Quality, you really need to know how that concept was developed, what it refers to in baseball, and how it translates to selling.  Watch this impromptu 3-minute video for my complete explanation of SOB Quality. 

Now you should understand just how accomplishing SOB allows salespeople to differentiate themselves from their competitors, internal adversaries, and become trusted advisors.  SOB does not exist in other processes, methodologies, sales strategies or tactics.  The closest anyone has come, since this was introduced in 2005, is The Challenger Sale; however, that describes a certain type of salesperson, whereas in Baseline Selling, achieving SOB Quality is simply a milestone that any type of salesperson can achieve.

So what is the big secret that powers Baseline Selling?  While all four of these concepts are important to Baseline Selling, SOB brings selling to a whole new level.  It causes prospects to think, “We need to work with Dave.  He gets it better than anyone else, he asked great questions, he got us on the right track, he helped us realize that we were approaching this the wrong way and we’ve never had a conversation like before that with anyone else!”

There are hundreds of experts offering dozens of processes, methodologies, approaches, strategies, styles and advice.  It’s all good.  All you have to do is choose one that meets the following 10 criteria: 

  1. It resonates with you.
  2. It’s easy to understand, teach and learn.
  3. It’s easy to customize and apply.
  4. It works today and will work tomorrow.
  5. It’s time-tested and proven.
  6. The methodology was designed for the process.
  7. The process is intended to be integrated into your CRM or pipeline management application.
  8. The process and methodology are rich enough to offer layered or stepped learning and application.
  9. The trainer has lived and breathed the process and methodology.
  10. The trainer understands your goto market strategy.

 Most of the executives, who reach out to us for help, tend to incorrectly believe two things:

  1. They already have a sales process - They have some steps, but steps don't make an effective sales process.  It's effective when it's predictive of outcomes, every salesperson follows it, and every sales manager coaches to it.
  2. They have good salespeople, but just need some tips - They may have some good salespeople and some of them can be coached up.  A company has good salespeople when they all overachieve stretch goals.
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