The Sales Assessment Client Who Didn't Renew after All These Years

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Mar 05, 2012 @ 10:03 AM

correllationHe has been a client of Objective Management Group (OMG) for over 20 years.  He had a license to use OMG's Sales Candidate Assessments and, as most clients do, had renewed it each year.  When we met for breakfast recently, he told me that he had a new VP of Sales and would not be renewing his license this year.  I was surprised for two reasons:  

  1. OMG clients nearly ALWAYS renew their candidate assessment licenses unless they are hiring just one or two salespeople, after which time they are done - they find who they are looking for and then they are finished hiring.  Companies that hire salespeople on an ongoing basis always renew their licenses because the salespeople they hire with our assessments are much more effective.
  2. He told me that the reason for not renewing was that the assessment did not correlate with their performance.  Seriously?  Our top-rated, highly-predictive assessment didn't predict success and failure?  "Send me the names and the outcomes".
I reviewed everything he sent me.  He gave me their names along with their scores for the OMG Assessment , Predictive Index Assessment, Industry Knowledge, Industry Experience, Group Interview and Performance Results.  Each score was rated on a 1-3 scale with 3 being the best.
They hired seventeen salespeople in the past five years.  I ran a simple face-value correlation analysis: How predictive was each score - at face value - at predicting the performance outcome?  Here are the results:
Step Face Value Correlation
OMG Sales Candidate Assessment 68%
Predictive Index 50%
Group Interview 54%
Industry Knowledge 38%
Industry Experience 38%

Face value correlation alone isn't enough. At OMG we have a mantra that we expect our clients to follow.  A candidate that is "Not Recommended" should never be hired.  A "Recommended" candidate can easily become a "No" based on their phone interview, whether their experience meets your requirements, and how well they perform during a face-to-face interview.  "Recommended" is not a license to automatically hire without further due diligence.  It is simply a recommendation that the candidate belongs in the pool of candidates that move to the next step.  This client was hiring candidates that were not recommended!

I reviewed the seven assessments that did not correlate at face value.  Two of the five met performance expectations and four were recommended by the OMG assessment, but with warnings and conditions.  In the table below, the scores in columns two and three are how the client conducted the scoring, not how OMG scores its assessments.  The client's scale is beneath the table.  Here are the findings:

ID OMG Score Performance Comments
1  3  1 Candidate's Assessment showed that while she had strong DNA, she is an excuse maker, isn't motivated by money, and had zero skills other than top-of-the-funnel skills and had will prospect as a weakness. It was there in black and white that while she met the criteria,  Salesperson #1 would not build a pipeline or move opportunities along!
2  3  2 Assessment was nearly identical to Salesperson #1 but with additional skills that went beyond top of the funnel.
 3  1 Assessment showed that he lacked direction - no goals, plan, tracking and would be unable to work independently.  He was assigned a remote territory!
 3  1.5 Assessment also showed will prospect as a weakness and not money motivated and 7 of the 10 skills we identified were top of the funnel skills.  Like Salesperson #1, Salesperson #3 would not build a pipeline or move opportunities along!
 2  1.5 Salesperson #5 was assessed twice - the first time not hirable, the second time with a huge red flag saying less than ideal. 
 3 Salesperson #6 had the lowest group interview score, industry experience score, and the lowest overall score of any candidate.  That correlated with the assessment's finding showing his inability to develop rapport early in the process. 
 1.5 Salesperson #7 met expectations only because of how likeable she was and her high scores in food service, and industry experience - she had a following.  She would have been more successful, but as the assessment showed, she wasn't a hunter, made excuses, wasn't money-motivated, and had zero selling skills other than her top-of-the-funnel skills.
3 - Exceeded    2 - Meets    1 - Failed

Conclusions: Inclusive of our recommendations not to hire, and the warnings and skill gaps associated with recommended candidates, the assessments accurately predicted the results in 16 of 17 cases between 2006 and 2010 - a batting average of 96%.  In the 17th case, Salesperson #6, the client failed to follow his own hiring process and would not have hired the individual based on his non-OMG scores.

The client assessed 2,500 candidates over this time period.  As a result, they were saved from having to speak with at least 2,300 candidates.  If they spent just five minutes reviewing 2300 resumes (191 hours) and ten minutes on the phone with one third of the candidates (126 hours), the assessment saved them 317 hours (two business months) of manual filtering.  If they value their time at $100 an hour, the license more than paid for itself in the value of time saved over five years ($41,700).

Monday morning quarterbacking is easy if you take the time to do it.  I chose to take the time.  This client is probably similar to many clients who either don't read the warnings, or don't factor the warnings into the decision-making process for bringing a salesperson on board. The warnings were certainly incorporated into the development plan or accountability requirements for success.

Message to Clients and Would-Be Clients of OMG:  Our assessments are incredibly predictive, but you need to pay attention to more than a single finding, recommendation or score!  Every assessment tells a story and if you take the time to read the story on the candidates who are recommended, you'll be able to determine whether your current sales management resources are up to the task at hand for borderline candidates:

  • How much hand-holding will they need?
  • Will they fill the pipeline on their own?
  • Will they be able to move opportunities through the process?
  • Will they be able to generate urgency?
  • Will they qualify thoroughly?
  • Will they be able to close?
  • Will they self-start?
  • Can they work independently?
  • Will they take short cuts?
  • Will they be ineffective because of weaknesses?
  • How long will it take them to ramp up?
  • Will they stick?
It's all there - it's all accurate - it's all predictive - one just has to read it!

Topics: sales assessment, omg, kurlan, Validation, Correlation, sales candidate assessment

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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, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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