Hiring Salespeople Should Not be Like a Coin Flip

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Feb 06, 2019 @ 18:02 PM

coinflip

For most companies, hiring the right salespeople has always been problematic.  With the shortage of quality sales candidates, it's now more difficult than ever.  The pressure to fill a role often causes sales management to hire the best from a limited and deficient pool of candidates instead of hiring the right candidate for the role.  The difference is huge, especially if you have a complex sale, a long sales cycle, a high-priced product or service, or a lot of competition.  If you rush to hire someone and get it wrong, three things usually happen.  The first and most obvious is that you will inevitably have to begin the hiring process all over again in several months.  Second is the lost opportunities from having a weak salesperson and for periods of time, no salesperson.  Finally, there is lost revenue from customers who are stolen away, creating negative territory momentum, where the pendulum swings to favor the competition in that territory.

Hiring salespeople does not have to be like a pot luck supper or a coin flip.  If you are selective instead of impulsive, good things will happen.  Take a look at the image below.The spreadsheet shows the difference between one company's top 3 producers and their 3 worst producers.  If you notice the difference in color between all of the green at the top and the red down below, you'll see the findings and competencies that differentiate the two groups.  At Objective Management Group (OMG) we call this a tailored fit.  It's the last of two levels of customization to fine-tune our sales candidate assessment criteria and that is what allows us to make such accurate recommendations and achieve predictive validity.

WFTF

For the real company in this example, from 180 possible findings, 27 clearly differentiated their tops from their bottoms.  Of the 27 differentiators, the following were represented:

Candidates who meet at least 80% of these 27 findings WILL succeed in the role.

You can easily hire the best salespeople for the role with help from (1) a predictive sales candidate assessment that provides the equivalent of a crystal ball and (2) having the discipline to be patient enough to wait for the right candidate.  What's holding you back?

There is one more thing you are required to do.  After hiring your salespeople, you must provide them with a comprehensive 90-day on-boarding process so as to assure their success rather than setting them up for failure.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Candidate, hiring mistake, sales recruiting, sales assessements

Applicant Tracking and Sales Candidate Assessments Fit Like Ducks Take to Water

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Nov 21, 2016 @ 06:11 AM

duck.jpeg

I was reviewing this page which shows the market share for most of the known applicant tracking systems.  I was impressed with the analysis and with how much of the market share is held by Taleo.  I was also disappointed that there isn't a comprarable study available on sales candidate assessments.  But that's a rant for another day.  Back to the Applicant Tracking analysis.  My first takeaway is that it validated what I knew only anecdotally -that just about every mid-market and large company are using cloud-based applicant tracking systems and smaller companies are quickly moving in that direction too.  It makes sense. If companies are using cloud-based job sites to source candidates, then it only makes sense that they would be integrating applicant tracking as well.

My second takeaway is that with all of these companies sourcing from the cloud and tracking from the cloud, why aren't more of them using the best sales candidate assessment in the cloud?  I have 4 possible answers to that question:

(1) Legal groups in some companies warn against using an assessment for selection puproses.  In an effort to protect their company and its CEO from legal action, they fail to recognize that role-specific assessments do not present any vulnerabilities.  While personality assessments present a legal risk when used for selection, role-specific assessments, like Objective Management Group's (OMG) Sales Candidate Assessments, do not present a risk because they assess to determine whether the candidate has the necessary skills for that specific role.  You can't say that about personality assessmenta.

(2) Some Sales Leaders don't utilize sales candidate assessments because they believe their own instincts and experience will outperform an assessment.  And Sales Leaders do get selection right - about half of the time.  Unfortunately, getting it right doesn't mean that they didn't have turnover. Getting it right should mean that the new salespeople met or exceeded quota.  Using that criteria, 50% right would be a generous number. Ironically, sales leaders could get selection right close to 90% of the time if they used OMG's accurate and predictive Sales Candidate Assessments.

(3) Some HR Leaders won't use sales candidate assessments because they have a sense of familiarity with some of the popular personality and behavioral styles assessments.  Ironically, they don't need to stop using those assessments as they do provide some nice information about candidates.  However, those assessments weren't built for or intended for sales and they aren't predictive of sales performance.  Using a predictive sales candidate assessment along side of a familiar personality or behavioral styles assessment will vastly improve sales selection accuracy.

(4) Some CEO's don't use any assessments because they don't belive in them!  I can understand that.  If their only experience with assessments was with a "lighter" assessment - like one of the many versions of the popular DISC behavioral styles assessment, it makes sense that they don't believe that one of those will help improve selection.  But they need to look beyond what they themselves are comfortable with and have experience with and trust their HR and Sales Leaders and do what's best for their company, not what's best for themselves.

Why should a company use applicant tracking and sales candidate assessments to improve their sales selection consistency?  To avoid the cost of a hiring mistake.  For sales hiring mistakes, estimates run from between $100,000 to over $1,000,000. Of course it depends on the role, salary, length of the sales cycle, recruiting, training and development costs, and whether or not a company includes lost opportunities in its calculations.  If you don't know how much a sales hiring mistake costs at your company, you can use this free sales hiring mistake calculatorto figure it out.

Our statistics show that just one hiring mistake will cost between 20 and 50 times the investment you made in a predictive sales assessment.  

For example, let's say that you were going to hire one salesperson.  If you get selection right half of the time, you'll actually hire 2 salespeople to get the 1 that performs.  Your cost to use the assessment was no more than $2,500 and your cost to recruit, hire, train, develop and compensate the salesperson who failed was $65,000 for six months - 26 times the cost of the assessment.

Let's try it with 10 salespeople.  Let's say that you are better than average and only 3 of the 10 didn't make it.  You paid no more than $10,000 to use the assessment and your hard costs for the 3 salespeople who failed totaled $195,000 - 20 times the cost of the assessment.

There really aren't any good reasons to avoid using a proven, accurate, customizable, predictive sales candidate assessment.  What's holding you back?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales candidates, hiring mistake, sales selection, sales assessements, personality test

Top 4 Reasons a Great Salesperson Can Fail at Your Company

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Oct 09, 2014 @ 13:10 PM

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Earlier this week, I spoke to a great audience of sales leaders at the EcSell Institute Fall Sales Coaching Summit in Dallas where my topic was, How to Hire a Great Salesperson that Will be Great.
 
I asked the attendees if they had ever hired a great salesperson that still failed and everyone there said, "Yes!"  I asked if anyone could explain how or why a great salesperson could fail, and the group offered up many guesses, but weren’t able to come up with my top 4 reasons. Here they are:


 
1. They can’t replicate the environment in which they had their success.  For example, suppose that Company X is a huge, well-known enterprise with a model that calls for salespeople to visit with buyers, quote on programs, and come in with the lowest price – regardless of margin.  One salesperson, Joe, has the biggest of those accounts and backed by a pricing model without a bottom, he is their best salesperson by far.
 
Now let’s pretend that in order to succeed at your company, your salespeople must call on the C-Suite and your prices are higher than your competition.  To make it even more interesting, your company is not very well-known, and your product offerings are new.  Joe, formerly the best salesperson at Company X, applies for a position in your company, and with his winning personality and track record of #1 finishes, you hire him.  This is how one company’s great salesperson can fail at your company.
 
2. Great is relative.  Let’s use Joe for this example too.  By now, you can see that Joe is more lucky than great.  He was working for the right company, at the right time, and had the best customers.  When compared with the other 150 salespeople in Company X, order takers at best, Joe appears to be great.  I wrote about great being relative earlier this week in this article.

3. They weren’t great at all.  You were feeling some urgency, you needed to fill a position in an important territory, and Joe (with his winning personality, award-winning fictional resume and tremendous interviewing performance) comes along.  It’s love at first meeting.

4. Your Culture is in the way. Sometimes it's just not a good fit and other times the company's on boarding, training, accountability and coaching aren't strong enough to get a new salesperson, even a great one, over the hump to where they are consistently bringing in new business.
 
The thing is that, in 2014, there is absolutely no reason for companies to be so inept when it comes to hiring salespeople.  Sure, you’ve hired some salespeople that have worked out.  But you’ve also hired salespeople that didn’t work out.  Hit or miss is not a model for success.
 
So why do companies continue to go it alone, make the same mistakes and continue to hire the wrong salespeople?
 
Ego.  “I’ve done this a hundred times – I don’t need any help.”  “I know how to recruit salespeople – I don’t need any help.”  Do you know what else this is?  It meets the definition of stupidity.
 
You can get help building a world-class, sales-specific, recruiting process which, when followed, will save time and money, and consistently result in great sales hires.  At Objective Management Group (OMG), we call that process STAR and most of our certified partners can provide that help.
whitepaper banner You can use a predictive, accurate, sales-specific, candidate assessment at the top of the sales candidate pipeline.  This quickly and accurately identifies the candidates that you do want to interview by phone and in-person while eliminating the candidates that will likely fail in the role for which you are hiring.  OMG’s Sales Candidate Assessment has been voted the Top Sales Assessment Tool in the World for 3 consecutive years.
 
In our latest version, we added video camera icons alongside all of the findings on the dashboard.  Click and I’ll explain the finding!  When it comes to the actual recommendation, there are more than 500,000 possible combinations that make up the video you will see!  Even better, if you need to hire great salespeople, click the image below for a free trial.
Sales Candidate Assessment Free Trial You can use online applicant tracking to gather additional information to help you streamline the process, and determine which of the recommended candidates have the right background for success.  We partner with New-Hire.com.
 
ALL of your management issues will disappear when you hire the right salespeople. Truly great salespeople don’t need to be managed, they don’t need to be replaced and you don’t need to babysit them!  All of your time can be spent coaching them up and helping them become even greater.
 
Isn’t it time that you stop repeating a process that is broken and get the help and tools that will make you a hiring genius?

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales recruiting, sales candidates, hiring mistake, sales selection

Surprising Statistics from the Sales Force Grader

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Dec 22, 2008 @ 09:12 AM

The actual results are even more surprising than the number of people (several hundred) that have already visited the FREE Sales Force Grader.

To date, the worst score is 0 - definitely a surprise.  While we would expect there to be some sales culturally challenged companies, we didn't expect any to be that bad....

To date, the best score is 81 (out of 100) - a surprise there too since I would have expected at least a few companies to score closer to 100.  This tells me there is still work to be done to improve sales effectiveness at even the most effective companies.

To date, the typical score is only 30 -a surprise...while I know that most companies need a tremendous amount of help, I didn't realize that so many companies needed so much help - even the companies (maybe yours) who tell us that everything is OK...

In a related finding, we have also found similar statistics on the sister page, Free Sales Hiring Mistake Calculator.  The cost of a typical company's sales hiring mistakes is $1,367,250.00!  Yes, that's the typical company; the average company is even higher - $5,659,032.00 And the highest cost recorded so far? $32,583,450.00

What can you learn from all of this?

If your sales force scores below 80 and you need to positively impact 2009 sales, then passively waiting to see if things improve (hope) is not a strategy. While there are always some things you can do by yourself, most of the things that need to be done to make a sales force significantly more effective require outside help.  After all, you are already doing some of the things that need to be done - you simply aren't doing them effectively enough!

(c) Copyright 2008 Dave Kurlan

 

Topics: sales competencies, sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales recruiting, sales management, improve sales, sales excellence, salesforce grader, hiring mistake, salse candidate, sales effectiveness

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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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