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One topic that never gets stale is how to make sure that you nail sales selection. Whether or not salespeople actually fail, or they simply stick around, but fail to have an impact, the common theme is still failure to select the right salespeople. Recently, I stumbled upon this article about 3 Uncoachable Sales Attributes that you should focus on to get hiring right.
The author is correct in that the 3 attributes she chose to write about are not really coachable. However, it seemed she meant to imply that by hiring salespeople with these 3 attributes, you'll get hiring right. While those 3 attributes may be good ones to focus on for the general employee candidate pool, she is way off base with that approach for hiring salespeople. Let's discuss the many ways where this approach goes off the tracks.
At Objective Management Group (OMG), we are always conducting analyses between top and bottom sales performers, and I can tell you that when someone veers away from the data and begins to compare personality and/or behavioral styles, there is typicially no difference between the top and bottom performers.
The author identified Drive as one of her big three and she defined it as having motivation and competitiveness. OMG measures motivation, and both top and bottom performers usually appear to be equally motivated. OMG measures Desire - how badly a salesperson wants to achieve greater success in their sales role. OMG also measures Commitment - their willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve that success. Together, they form a very strong representation of competetiveness. Guess what? There isn't much of a difference between top and bottom performers with these findings either. However, we never recommend that a company hire a salesperson lacking in either one.
The author identified Brains. There is a difference here...but it's not about brains. It's about one's ability to quickly figure things out. One doesn't have to be smart to succeed in sales, but they do need problem solving ability. We call it the Figure it Out Factor (FIOF) and it comes into play during ramp-up time. Those with scores above 74 ramp up significantly more quickly than those with scores below 60.
The author identified character as her third attribute. Really? Do you really believe that someone who struggles in sales is lacking in character? There is zero difference. Perhaps a better choice of attributes would have been tenacity, resiliance or mental toughness.
There is a huge difference though, in the areas she did not identify.
At OMG, we measure several Selling Comptencies (Hunting, Consultative Selling, Qualifying, Presenting, Closing, Positioning, Account Management and Farming) that each include dozens of findings (sales-specific strategies, tactics and qualities) that do allow us to differentiate between the top and bottom performers in sales.
We also measure several areas of Sales DNA (strengths that support the use of sales process, sales methodology and sales competencies) that further help us differentiate between top and bottom performers.
The author named three attributes that she believed made a difference. How many attributes or findings does it really take to differentiate the sales candidates that will succeed from those who won't? A lot. At OMG, we utilize more than 500,000 combinations of findings to arrive at our highly accurate and predictive recommendations as to whether various candidates will succeed in the various roles for which companies are hiring.
There are a lot of people who think they have the ability to consistently identify sales winners. How can one differentiate between all of them who think that way and other assessment companies that claim to have that capability? OMG has science on its side and it's the science that helps us to consistently get it right.
Most Sales VP's, sales managers, and even sales authors, trainers and coaches, aren't necessarily experts when it comes to sales selection. Neither are recruiters. Who and what can you depend on? Rely on sales-specific tools that are backed by science, use them in a sales-specific, Top-Grading-like recruiting process, and you can't go wrong.