New Analysis Shows the 5 Biggest Gaps Between Top and Bottom Sales Performers

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, May 01, 2017 @ 06:05 AM

competency-1.jpg
Image Copyright Cybrain

It didn't take very long for this to happen.  When Objective Management Group (OMG) announced that it was making its findings data available to the public, we knew that it wouldn't take long for someone with a flair for analytics to dig in and come up with something cool.  Last week, John Cousineau, creator of Amacus, got me on a video conference and shared what he came up with.  Hint:  Another way to differentiate top performers.

He analyzed the average scores of OMG's 21 Sales Core Competencies for the top 10% of salespeople and identified 5 that account for 36% of the gap between top and bottom performers.  The first image below shows the 36% gap in the 5 Competencies.  Each point represents a competency, the darker gray shows the average scores for the top 10% and the lighter gray has the scores for the bottom 10%.  The 5 competencies with the largest gaps are shown in blue for the bottom performers and brown represents the gaps between the two groups.

Abacus1.jpgThe next graphic below shows the 5 competencies John identified.

Abacus2.jpg

Translating just a bit, he says that the biggest gap in average scores between top performers and bottom performers - 36% - occurs in the sales core competencies where salespeople:

  1. are comfortable discussing money
  2. take responsibility for their results and don't make excuses or rationalize
  3. thoroughly qualify their opportunities
  4. are able to sell value instead of price
  5. are effective hunting for new business

We must also consider that there are approximately 10 attributes in each core competency and while the gaps certainly exist in those 5 competencies, are there specific skills where the gaps between top and bottom performers are even larger?

The following table shows the biggest gaps between top and bottom performers but instead of showing them by score, they are presented based on the percentage of salespeople who have the findings as strengths. Can you find anything in common between this table and the 5 competencies above?

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Hunting, Qualifying, Comfortable Talking about Money and Taking Responsibility appear on both lists, but instead of value selling, we see consultative selling.  

Did you notice the other gaps on this list?  Desire and Commitment are the two most important Sales Core Competencies of all.  They also represent 2 of the 5 competencies in Will to Sell.  All 6 Sales DNA Core Competencies appear on the list as well.  In addition to Comfortable Talking about Money, the list includes Not Needing to be Liked (Approval), Controlling Emotions, Rejection Proof, Supportive Buying Behaviors and Supportive Sales Beliefs.

OMG's data, based on the assessment of more than 1,100,000 salespeople from more than 11,000 companies definitively shows that there is an elite group of 7% - the best salespeople in the world.  These great salespeople are followed by another 16% that are strong.  And then there is the bottom 77%, who all suck.

You can access OMG's findings and compare them to your salespeople and other salespeople in your industry by visiting this page.

When you compare your salespeople to the rest of the sales population it looks like this example where the reader's sales force is worse than the bottom 10% at Taking Responsibility.

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You can also make sure you never make another sales hiring mistake by checking out OMG's accurate and predictive sales specific candidate assessments.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales core competencies, sales excellence, accurate sales assessment

Which Salespeople are Easier to Train - Millennials or Veteran Salespeople?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 @ 06:04 AM

Photo Apr 16, 5 49 45 PM-2.jpg

We brought home a puppy and we had him completely housebroken in 4 days.  He's really smart and we've done this before, a combination that makes it nearly impossible to screw up.  To see him go to the door and touch it with his little paw, whimper when he is in his crate, go outside and do his business, and run back to the door is great. But it got me wondering, why is training a puppy relatively fast and easy while it is so much harder and takes so much longer to train salespeople?

The puppy only has to learn a handful of behaviors that he can repeat without the variables that affect salespeople.  There's no resistance, objections, competition, fear, rejection, budget or decision-making issues and the puppy is eager to learn and please.  Millennials are eager to learn and tend to be less resistant to change while veteran salespeople must first be sold on why they need to change.  Even then they may resist for a while.  And what they must learn in order to become more effective is quite comprehensive.

I was comparing the average scores in 6 Sales DNA Core Competencies and was very surprised to discover that the scores for sales candidates were a few points higher than the scores for salespeople at companies where we conducted a sales force evaluation.  Millennials make up a good portion of the candidates. Typically, they are recent college graduates with no sales experience and applying for BDR roles.  My first thought was that if sales candidates had higher scores and millennials were part of that group, then the non-millennials surely have scores that are even higher.

After considering that for a while another thought came to mind.

Most companies complain that there aren't enough sales candidates out there and most who are looking for sales positions suck.  The reality is that they aren't all bad and a large percentage of the salespeople who are applying for new positions are passive candidates. They were recruited. It seems that while there are a lot of crappy salespeople out there right now, they don't take the assessment when prompted, but the good sales candidates do!

An unintended benefit of having your sales candidates take OMG's Sales Candidate Assessment is that it is not only accurate and predictive, many of the the bottom 77% filter themselves out by not even completing it. And the millennials?  Many of those who apply for sales positions actually have Sales DNA that supports selling even though their scores in the 7 tactical Sales Core Competencies are low.  You can always teach the tactical competencies!

You can learn more about the sales candidate assessment here.  Once there you can check out samples, start a free trial and sign up.

If you're not hiring salespeople right now but you're interested in learning how your salespeople measure up in the 21 Sales Core Competencies, or you just want to see how salespeople score in each competency, you can check out our data here.  Warning:  The stats site is very cool and you might not want to leave.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales training, sales leadership, sales core competencies, accurate sales assessment

The Official 2017 List of 21 Sales Core Competencies

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Mar 15, 2017 @ 18:03 PM

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Image Copyright Bluberries

These days, changes happen faster than ever and the same can be said about professional selling.  Selling is evolving, the rules of business are changing, there is more information available on line than there was last week and sales organizations must evolve accordingly.

Back in 2014, I introduced what was then the most current version of Objective Management Group's 21 Sales Core Competencies.  But just 3 years later, we have again found it important to modify the makeup of the 21 Sales Core Competencies and I want to share the changes below, along with the data that makes up each competency.

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Sales Posturing has been removed from the Tactical Selling Competencies and over the next several months it will receive a makeover.  In its place, Selling Value, always an important OMG finding, has received a promotion and is now one of the 21 Sales Core Competencies.

Likewise, the Sales Motivation competency has received a promotion and is part of the Will to Sell category, while Goal Oriented has been downgraded to an attribute of the Sales Motivation competency.

But the real news is not a couple of changes to the 21 Sales Core Competencies.  I've written more than 1,600 articles for my Blog since 2006 and most of them reference important data points from the almost 1.1 million salespeople that OMG has assessed.

Drum roll.  Now, for the first time, you can access the same data
that we use to find interesting statistics about salespeople!

That's right.  We have gone from private to public and you can see some of the same amazing findings that I write about.  Not only that, you can slice and dice the data by geography, industry, experience, Sales Quotient, and more.  You can even see how your own salespeople compare to the entire sales population and sales organizations in your industry.  We are very excited to finally share this with you!

Welcome to our free Stat-Finder tool, your ticket to actual sales statistics that are backed by science.  No fake news, no personal opinions, no popularity lists, no personal observations, nothing anecdotal and nothing to be misinterpreted.  Instead, you can see the average scores in 21 Sales Core Competencies for salespeople in more than 200 different industries, who sell everything to everybody, with every possible experience level and skill set, from companies of all sizes, selling to every possible vertical, and decision-making title.  Give it a spin!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales core competencies, accurate sales assessment, sales statistics, OMG Assessment

Not the 3 Most Important Sales Hiring Attributes

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Oct 24, 2014 @ 06:10 AM

Sales Selection

Image Copyright: Lightwise / 123RF Stock Photo

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.

Sales Candidate Assessment Free Trial

Topics: Dave Kurlan, accurate sales assessment, hiring sales candidates, sales hiring tools, sales selection, objective management group

Will This Sales Candidate Really Fail If We Hire Him?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Oct 25, 2011 @ 22:10 PM

This week I called the type of candidate that traditional HR professionals love - his resume was formatted, there were no typos, his background was exactly what my client craved - but the assessment wasn't so impressed with him; he was a borderline candidate at best.  Normally this candidate would not have received a call from me but because he was a good fit, I was looking for a needle in a haystack candidate (again) and was on the cusp, there was no downside to a 3-minute call.

What a disaster!  He didn't engage me ("Hi"), couldn't articulate how his experience met the description in the job posting ("I did all of that"), failed to string a complete sentence together ("Mine was more money") and didn't provide a single example, detail or explanation.  He also failed to ask a single question.  And he was on the cusp.  Weak salespeople don't sound that bad so why didn't the assessment tell me about this issue?

It turns out that while the major findings we typically focus on were acceptable, there was one finding - The Sales Posturing Index - that was the lowest I had ever seen.  On a scale to 100, "Fred" scored 20! 

SalesPosturingWhile Fred was confident enough, he had no clue how poorly he came across, how awful his first impression was, and how badly he presented himself.  Most obvious during the 3-minute call were the following Posturing Qualities that he didn't possess: "Develops Relationships Early", "Consultative Skill Set", "Sales Optimism", "Sales Empathy", "Sales Assertiveness", "Goal Oriented", and "Controls Emotions".

As always, this assessment is very predictive and you only need to believe in it?

Which side of the cusp was the candidate on?

Dashboard

When it says Not Recommended, you really need to believe the science behind the recommendation - if you dare to hire one of these candidates 75% of them will fail inside of 6 months.

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales recruiting, Sales Candidate, accurate sales assessment, predictive sales assessment, sales selection

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About Dave

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

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