The Sales Assessment that Dave Kurlan Developed

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Feb 08, 2010 @ 21:02 PM

I am often asked how I can write so many articles.  I have a few answers for that:

  • Compared to the demands of writing my two books, Mindless Selling and Baseline Selling, writing a couple of paragraphs every day is a piece of cake;
  • From my unique vantage point as a thought leader in two industries - the Sales Development Industry and the Assessment Industry, there is more article material than I will ever have time to write about;
  • I usually choose topics that are bothering me at that particular moment in time.

This is my 600th article since the inception of the Understanding the Sales Force Blog 4 years ago.  It seems that around every 66 articles or so I write an article to explain how inferior all of those other assessments are when it comes to the sales force.  The last time I made an attempt like this was four months and 115 articles ago.  So it basically comes down to a formula where I provide 65 articles with great content, and in return, you read about how our Sales Assessments blow the lid off of any other assessment you place along side them.

I have already written a series of articles on the subject of how assessments compare.

Let me begin with some questions.

If you sell high end business services and your salespeople earn in excess of $250,000 annually, would you want to use the same hiring and selection criteria that they use to hire salespeople that sell long-distance telephone services to anyone who will listen?

If you have a complex technical product with a long sales cycle, would you want to use the same hiring and selection criteria used to hire life insurance salespeople who call on married couples?

If you require your salespeople to call on C-Level executives, would you want to use the same hiring and selection criteria used to hire office supply salespeople who spend all day calling on administrators?

If you are hiring hunters, do you want to use the same hiring and selection criteria used to hire account managers?

And if you are hiring A players, do you want to use the same hiring and selection criteria used to hire office workers?

When I write this type of article, I don't usually get into everything that makes our assessment so much better.  Today I made an exception and got a bit more aggressive.

This is what is available when it comes to assessments:

Personality Assessments - they identify personality traits - these are never role specific and the questions are asked in a social context therefore the findings are not necessarily applicable to a sales environment.  As a result, personality assessments are not predictive and are ineffective as a sales selection, development or coaching tool.

Behavioral Styles Assessments - behavioral tendencies, much like traits above, but can also include cultural needs and wants to identify fit and management requirements. Questions are asked in a social context therefore the findings are not necessarily applicable to a sales environment.  As a result, these assessments are not predictive either and are ineffective as a sales selection, development or coaching tool.

Both of the above assessment types are marketed by their various companies as sales assessments but the only thing about them that is actually sales specific is the language used in their marketing material. See the next category.

Sales Assessments -  there are so many of these now that I can't keep up with them anymore but nearly everyone of them, despite the literature, web sites and white papers they produce, are based on an underlying personality or behavioral styles instrument. They are not accurate or predictive within the sales context no matter what their marketing claims.

Sales Aptitude Assessments - Think knowledge, not ability.  In other words, you know how a computer works but you can't build one.  You know what it takes to play winning, professional sports, but you aren't able to actually perform at that level.  The aptitude test measures what salespeople know about selling, not what they're actually capable of accomplishing.

Objective Management Group - We invented and pioneered the space.  Before OMG came along, nobody ever talked about evaluating a sales force.  Our accuracy is legendary yet we are never content with our world-class, industry leading sales force assessments.  Our sales force evaluations go so wide and deep that we can answer any question that you can imagine about the performance - past, present or future - of a sales force.  Our sales candidate assessments are so predictive that the statistics are nearly unbelievable.  Check this out:

When clients hire candidates that we don't recommend (silly clients), 75% of those salespeople fail inside of six months.

When clients hire candidates that we do recommend (smart clients), 92% of those salespeople rise to the top half of their sales force within the first 12 months.

How do we do it?  Our assessments are not based on somebody else's personality or behavioral styles instrument and they aren't modified to make them appear sales specific.  We built ours from the ground up - purposely for sales - and we continue to expand, evolve and refine it today - 20 years later.  It's a work in progress and that's one of the reasons that it's so good.  We are always working to make it even better.  It wasn't designed using antiquated test publishing guidelines, and it wasn't intended for use in schools or the military. Instead, it was designed by a very successful sales expert who happened to be a great sales diagnostician and researcher. How do I know?  I used to be that guy! 

Our data on nearly 500,000 salespeople and the 8,500 sales forces that have used our assessments provides us with rich sources of information to identify trends and make comparisons.  We recognize true success markers and reliable failure indicators.  We can sort by industry,  role or finding.  Simply put, we know what it takes for a salesperson to succeed in sales and you know what it takes for a salesperson to succeed in your business (and if you don't we can help you figure it out!).  When we combine the two sets of criteria and adjust for difficulty (complexity times resistance), we will either not recommend a candidate, or provide one of four recommendations:

  1. Hirable - Less Than Ideal
  2. Hirable
  3. Hirable with Ideal Ramp Up Skills
  4. Hirable Perfect

Watch out for all of the assessments that pretend to provide sales findings but report only what they can actually measure.  See examples here.

Questions?

Leave a comment and I'll answer it.

(c) Copyright 2010 Dave Kurlan

 

 

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales testing, caliper, predictive index, chally, sales evaluations, sales assessments

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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.

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