Are Sales and Sales Management Candidates Getting Worse?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Sep 09, 2013 @ 21:09 PM

drop in rateThere are more sales experts, self-professed and otherwise, than ever before.  There is more free content on sales and selling than anyone could have imagined.  There are probably twice as many books on the subject than just 10 years ago.  There are categories of sales tools and CRM applications where none existed a few years ago.  Companies are spending more money on sales force evaluations, sales training, consulting, sales leadership development, sales process, infrastructure and sales recruiting services than 5 years ago.  And selling has changed more in the past 5 years than ever before.

With all that, shouldn't the quality of sales, sales management and sales leadership candidates be on the rise?  Yes, it should.  

But there's a problem.  The quality has not risen.  It seems to have worsened!

Look at this trend where the average percentage of recommended sales candidates has dropped 6%, while the average percentage of recommended sales management candidates has dropped by 15%, in just the last 3 years:

HirableStats

The small dotted line is the trend for the percentage of sales candidates who were recommended by Objective Management Group from 2009-2013.  The darker dotted line is the trend for the percentage of sales management candidates who were recommended by Objective Management Group for the same time period.

There are four possible explanations for this considerable drop.

1.  The first dates shown on this table - early 2009 - represent a time when the country was deep in recession.  When their industries were negatively impacted by the economy, many salespeople and sales managers were laid off or left voluntarily to search for better opportunities.  There were some very good salespeople and sales managers among the mix of the total population of candidates.  During the past 12-18 months, good performers have been a rarity among both groups with mediocre and poor candidates being the norm rather than the exception.

2.  During 2009, only those companies with cash and a willingness to spend it - mostly mid-market companies - were hiring salespeople.  They tend to pay more than smaller and larger businesses and their recruiting efforts, compensation and incentive plans are designed to attract stronger salespeople.  In the past 2 years, the large and small companies have resumed their recruiting efforts, but their less-impressive compensation plans don't appeal to strong salespeople at a time when weak sales and sales management candidates make up most of today's available pool.

3.  Despite the factual nature of explanations 1 and 2, when you also weigh the availability of content, books, video, training, evaluations, consulting and development, the trend should still rise instead of fall.  This would point to an overall weakening of those in our profession.  

4. Dramatic changes have made professional sales a much more difficult profession.  The top 10 changes include:

  1. The need for salespeople to follow a buyer-focused, consultative approach; 
  2. Expectations to utilize a myriad of tools;
  3. Increased price sensitivity;
  4. Prospects are less likely to answer their phones, return calls or respond to emails;
  5. Information previously available from salespeople is now readily available online;
  6. A new type of lead - from inbound marketing efforts - which requires a radically different approach;
  7. Prospects have different expectations of salespeople;
  8. Prospects invite salespeople later in their buying processes;
  9. A growing trend to move outside salespeople to inside;
  10. A shift where sales managers are now expected to devote 50% of their time to coaching.

As a result of these dramatic changes, salespeople who were once quite capable of succeeding, while using a traditional transactional approach, now struggle and even fail with growing regularity.  The growing percentage of salespeople, who don't make the grade, have simply failed to adapt, learn and improve.

The reality is that all 4 explanations are plausible and there could be other explanations as well.  What do you think?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, sales recruiting, sales candidates, sales management coaching, salespeople suck, sales managers suck

Subscribe via Email

View All 1,700 Articles

About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016 and this one for 2017. Read more about Dave.

Email Dave

View Dave Kurlan's LinkedIn profile View Dave Kurlan's profile

Subscribe 

Receive new articles via email
Subscribe
 to the Blog on your Kindle 

 

Audio Book
Top 30 on Kindle
Top 100 on Amazon

Most Recent Articles

Awards

Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame Inductee

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2017 - Article/Post - Gold
 Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2017 - Assessment Tool - Gold

 2016 Top Sales & Marketing Individual Blog - Bronze

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 -  Bronze - Thought Leader

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Podcast - Gold

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Webinar - Gold

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 - Bronze - eBook/White Paper

2018 Top 50 Sales & Marketing Blogs Widget

Dave Kurlan Top 50 Sales Influencer 2015

Sales Pro Insider Blog

Top 50 most innovative sales bloggers

Top100Strategic

Top100SalesInfluencersOnTwitter



Hubspot Top 25 Blogs

 

Free Tools

Sales Process Grader

Sales Candidate Assessment Free Trial

Sales Ghost Calculator

Sales Force Grader

Sales Hiring Mistake Calculator

FREE Recruiting Process Grader