Keys to Improved Sales Performance - Part 1 of 4

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Sep 02, 2014 @ 11:09 AM

social selling

This is the first in a four-part series that will run this week.

If you are like most folks, you were away for at least part of the summer, took as many long weekends as you could, and worked fewer hours on the days you actually did work.  As part of getting the work done, you deleted as many emails as you could where a reply wasn't required and visited fewer websites and blogs.

That means you misssed a lot of what we were discussing this summer.  This series will catch you up in a hurry.

Four days, four categories, with related articles.  Easy.

 

Day 1 - The Social Selling Articles

You don't have to know a thing about social selling.  Just go to Google Images and type in social selling or click this link and you'll see just what an industry it has become.  While it does provide a myriad of new ways to connect with potential buyers and customers, most who are providing the tips, steps, methods, tools and opinions are selling those very services that support the existance of a social selling industry.  Take it all with a grain of salt and review these articles first.

Getting Emotional at Dunkin Donuts, and Over Social Selling 

Top 10 Reasons Why Inbound Cannot Replace Sales (includes video)

Leads are Making Salespeople Lazier Than Old Golden Retrievers 

One Thing Missing from The New Way of Selling - Part 2 

This is the One Thing Missing from the New Way of Selling - Part 1 (includes video)

These articles were very popular, very polarizing and should cause you to think.  Read them, enjoy them, and add your opinions where appropriate.  We would love to hear what you think!

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Personality Tests, new sales core competencies, social selling, sales assessments, objective management group

Starting with the Sales Management Team - Is it a Bad Decision?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Aug 21, 2014 @ 16:08 PM

Sales Management Team

The CEO said, "We really like what you do, your sales force evaluation is exactly what we need, the information, data, science and intelligence that you provide is perfect for us.  This is the right time to move forward, and we're ready to go."  

Waiting for the other shoe to drop, I said, "But..."  

And he said, "But we don't want to evaluate everyone right now.  We want to start with our sales management team."  

I hate being right.  

Small and mid-market companies don't usually request this particular approach because their management teams are usually quite lean and it doesn't make sense for them to take this approach.  But large companies tend to start all of their initiatives with the sales management team, and when that has been completed, move on to the salespeople.  If we were talking about training, I would agree with that approach.  It makes absolutely no sense to train salespeople until the sales managers are on board, bought in, and can expertly coach to the process, methodology, strategies and tactics.  Always start with sales management.

[-Related Promo - Absolute last chance to register for my September 10-11 Sales Leadership Intensive in the Boston area where you can learn to expertly coach just like that.]

Companies typically have 5 reasons for starting with the sales managers:

  1. It's how they always do it (my favorite).
  2. To make a smaller investment up front.
  3. To pilot a program and see if they like it.
  4. To begin with a smaller, more manageable group.
  5. To give the managers a head start.

Those reasons all make sense - for training.  But we weren't talking about training, we were talking about the crucial step that precedes training, defines training, tells us who can be trained, what it will take, and how much improvement we can expect.  It tells us where the skill gaps are, where Sales DNA gets in the way and why we lose business.  We were talking about OMG's legendary sales force evaluation.

[-Another related Promo - request a free sample sales force evaluation]

It's wrong to perform a sales force evaluation with only the managers for just as many reasons as it's correct to begin training that way:

  • We get only sales management data. 
  • We get only one part of the sales management data at that - the part provided by the sales managers.
  • This limited data cannot fully explain how the sales force is dealing with the challenges they face.
  • It does not answer the questions as to whether the company is hiring the right people, changes they need to make to their sales selection criteria, if their people are coachable and trainable, and where the skill gaps are.
  • It does not answer the questions as to whether they can sell more consultatively, whether they are capable of finding and closing more new business, shortening their sales cycle, or becoming more effective selling value.  And lots more.

A better way to start a limited sales force evaluation is to begin with a region or team.  Let's review the 5 reasons for starting with the managers again.  Only this time, let's see if we can meet those conditions while including the salespeople.  

  1. It's how they always do it. - Gulp. They'll need to change that!
  2. To make a smaller investment up front. - That still works.
  3. To pilot a program and see if they like it. - That works too.
  4. To begin with a smaller, more manageable group. - That still works.
  5. To give the managers a head start. - That works too.  All the managers can learn from this initial experience.

Are you familiar with the expression, "Life is like a sewer - You get from it what you put into it"?  That analogy won't work here.  But this one will:

sales force is an apple pie

The sales force is like an Apple Pie.  The sales management team is the crust, and the salespeople are the apples and the filling.  If you evaluate only the sales managers, you get crust!

When you evaluate a region or a team - you take a slice of the sales force.  You get the good stuff - apples and filling!

That is always more satisfying, more valuable, and leaves a better taste in everyone's mouth!

 

image Copyright: andreypopov / 123RF Stock Photo

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales force evaluation, sales performance, omg, Personality Tests, sales assessments

The 21 New Sales Core Competencies for Modern Selling

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jul 10, 2014 @ 06:07 AM

core competencies image

Image Copyright Kheng Guan Toh via Shutterstock.com

[Note - While you may still wish to read this, the 10 Competencies were updated again in 2017 and this article has the latest lists as well as a link that allows you to see the data behind those competencies.]

Can you name 10 Core Competencies of a great salesperson?  Let's see, there's prospecting, qualifying and closing, and then there's....wow, this is difficult!

For the past 20 years, every Objective Management Group (OMG) sales force evaluation and sales candidate assessment has been tied to 21 Sales Core Competencies.  We constantly improve, update, enhance and perfect the science of evaluating sales forces and candidates.  For all that we do though, I found it disheartening that we had not updated the Core Competencies to reflect the changes that have taken place in selling over the past 8 years.

Today, I'm relieved to report that this summer, for the first time in 20 years, OMG will integrate my revised and updated, new and improved, better than ever, much more relevant, 21 Sales Core Competencies.  

Here you go:

Core Competencies

Each competency is populated by several or more attributes.  The biggest changes, since our original set of 21 Core Competencies in 1994, are the addition of categories that compliment our dashboards as well as the inclusion of Sales Posturing and Social Selling.  

It's worth noting that social selling skills are one of the attributes of Hunting - the ability to find new opportunities - but mastery of the various social selling tools themselves is now a competency.  I'm sure this will cause outrage and debate from those who so strongly promote social selling, but when you look at an entire sales cycle, social selling takes place PRIOR to a first call or meeting, before we can consider whether or not to enter an opportunity into the funnel or pipeline.  

My next statement will cause even more outrage.  In its essence, social selling is really a component of marketing for which many more salespeople are now taking individual responsibility.  They are marketing themselves.

Intrigued?  

Click here for samples.  

Click here to check out our accurate and predictive sales candidate assessments.  

Click here for a free trial of our Sales Candidate Assessment. 

[Note: this article is from 2014 and the 21 Sales Core Competencies were updated again in March of 2017]

Topics: objective management group, Dave Kurlan, Personality Tests, sales assessments, social selling, new sales core competencies

Why Can't We Hire This Sales Candidate?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jul 22, 2013 @ 12:07 PM

sales recruiting processWe interviewed him; she's from our industry; we really like him; but your assessment says she is not recommended.  Why can't we hire her?

That's probably the single, most frequently asked question that we hear.

So, to answer the "Why can't we?" question, there are two more questions:

  1. Why is this happening?
  2. Why isn't the candidate recommended?
#1 is easy.  It happens when clients fail to follow the proper sequence of events, jump the gun and interview a candidate prior to assessing.  That is the only way for a client to fall in love with a candidate who isn't recommended.  If the proper sequence had been followed, the candidate would have been assessed, and if not recommended, there would not have been an interview.  So, whenever this scenario does occur, we must look at compliance: Who is allowing managers to not adhere (and/or why are managers not adhering) to the sales recruiting process that was established?
#2 isn't as simple.  Not recommended occurs whenever the candidate fails to meet established minimum requirements for the position.  We customize our assessments to the degree where we are able to accurately predict whether a particular candidate will succeed selling your specific product or service, with your price points, against your competition, to your market, by title, with all the specific challenges and nuances that your salespeople face, and with the support, management and expectations that sales management will provide.  As a result, there are dozens of criteria variations and it is not practical to address all of them here.  To keep  it simple, let's take a macro look here:
  • The candidate must have both strong desire and strong commitment for sales success.  Deal breakers.
  • The candidate must enjoy selling and be highly motivated.  Deal breakers.
  • The candidate must possess the minimum required sales DNA (the strengths that support successful selling) for their role at your company.  Deal breaker.
  • The candidate must have the minimum required selling skills for the role.  Deal breaker.
  • The candidate must meet all of the client-specific selling criteria for the role.  Deal breaker.
Most frequently, the push back on the recommendation has to do with Desire or Commitment.  A salesperson could be quite successful and strong, but lack desire and/or commitment.  What clients fail to understand is that these are not inaccurate findings relative to the candidate's history; they are accurate predictions relative to the candidate's future!
It doesn't matter what a candidate has achieved to this point in time:
  • They could have struggled and be at the point where they can make a tremendous contribution;
  • They could have succeeded and be at the point where they can't do it (build a territory, book of business or customer base) again;
  • They could have struggled and, because little has changed, they will continue to struggle;
  • They could have succeeded and be well-positioned for continued success.
It's all about what this candidate will bring to the table tomorrow and beyond.
When a strong candidate lacks Desire or Commitment for sales success, it doesn't mean that they are no longer strong.  It means that when the going gets tough, they may not have it in them to do what they used to do - hang in there, persevere, do what it takes, overcome resistance, navigate the politics or red tape of an opportunity.
How much of this can you get from a personality test?  None of it!

How consistent is your sales recruiting process?  Use this free sales recruiting process grader and find out.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales leadership, Personality Tests, sales assessment tests, sales assessments, objective management group

Personality Tests, Sales Candidate Selection - How Tests Measure Up

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jun 17, 2013 @ 08:06 AM

sales assessmentA recent article in Columbus Business First discussed background checks and use of personality tests.  The most important line in the article read, "Personality often is the best insight into whether a person is a good cultural fit for a specific company."

Notice that they didn't say that personality is the best insight into whether a person will succeed in sales.  That's because it isn't.  Never was.  Never will be.

Despite that, article after article points to the advantage of personality tests as a sales pre-employment tool.  And most personality assessments now claim to be able to help you eliminate sales hiring mistakes too.  The reality though is that almost every available "sales assessment" is a marketing-modified version of a personality assessment.  By marketing-modified, I mean that the actual findings are the exact same findings you will see on their standard personality test, but the names or labels of the findings have been modified to sound as if they are sales findings.  As with costumes, you only need to take off the mask and you'll see what's underneath.  No exceptions.  No apologies.

Personality tests aren't predictive either.  Oh, they say that they are?  Then why is their validation of choice "construct validity" rather than "predictive validity"?

There is only one original, sales-specific assessment that collects, measures, and provides true sales findings and its predictive validity is incomparable.  Objective Management Group (OMG) has been perfecting sales selection for 23 years and you can't beat these two statistics:

  • 75% of Candidates, who are not recommended but get hired anyway, fail within 6 months.
     
  • 92% of Candidates, who are recommended and hired, rise to the top half of their sales forces within 12 months.

Are you using the right assessment?

The right assessment is only part of the solution to developing consistency with your sales hiring and selection.  You also need a best-practices, sales recruiting process.  You can see how your existing process rates by using our free tool, the Sales Recruiting Process Grader.

And of course, sales management plays a part in your hiring process too.  They're responsible for on-boarding, messaging, coaching, accountability, direction, guidance and support.  If they don't perform any one or more of those functions effectively, even a strong salesperson can fail.

Finally, no process is stronger than its weakest link.  In the sales recruiting process, that weakness could be your job posting.  Most companies get that part completely wrong, attracting the wrong salespeople into the candidate pool and if you don't have the right candidates in the pool, the process, assessment and sales management become non-factors.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales candidates, omg, Personality Tests, sales aptitude tests, sales tests, sales assessment tests, sales assessments

Latest Research on Personality Assessments for Sales Selection

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Apr 15, 2013 @ 10:04 AM

ambivertTwo articles caught my attention today.

The first, 10 Traits of Successful Salespeople, was typical of the misinformation that often passes for must-read information:

  • The data came from commission-only insurance salespeople in just one company, so it has limited application in other industries.  
  • The author says that some of the most successful salespeople share 10 personality traits, but doesn't say how many were in the study or how many shared the 10 traits!
  • Because all of the salespeople worked for the same company, they reported to that one company's sales management team, further skewing the results.
  • The author incorrectly classified the 10 traits as personality traits, but some of them are actually behavioral styles.  When styles and traits are combined, they become qualities.
  • Using Objective Management Group's (OMG) data on 650,000 salespeople for reference, we know that just as many unsuccessful salespeople share those 10 qualities as successful salespeople.  That's why only some and not most of the successful people shared the traits!
  • Even when salespeople possess all 10 qualities, there are still dozens of reasons why they still may not succeed.  OMG identifies weaknesses on its Sales Candidate Assessments that predict why someone who has all the greatest personality traits could be expected to fail.   OMG's top 4 are:
    • Lack of Commitment toward sales success;
    • Lack of Desire for sales success (different from Drive in that Desire in this context is sales specific);
    • Poor Outlook; 
    • Excuse Making.  A sales candidate with either the Lack of Desire or the Lack of Commitment would neutralize all 10 traits the article referred to!
  • OMG's next 7 would be: 
    • Non-Supportive Buy Cycle (the way the candidate buys does not support the sales cycle); 
    • Need for Approval (their need to be liked outweighs their need to sell); 
    • Discomfort Talking about Money; 
    • Becoming Emotional; 
    • Difficulty Recovering from Rejection;
    • Too Trusting;
    • Self-Limiting Beliefs.  

Any combination of 3 or more would certainly neutralize all 10 of the traits referred to in the article.

The second article appeared on the same site and was called Busting the Personality Myth about Salespeople.  This article is not as far off the path as the first article, but it's still full of misinformation.  It's claim, that ambiverts are more successful than extroverts and introverts, may be or may not be true.  There were only 300 salespeople in the study and data was collected for only a 3 month period.  We weren't told what they were selling, who they were selling it to, what the cost was, or the type of competition they faced.  Even if the data is sound,  you would not be smart to go recruit and select ambiverts!  I guarantee that 74% of them will suck at sales too!

It is becoming more and more difficult to separate opinions, experiences and musings from appropriately collected, time-tested, sales-specific, trans-industry data.  That's probably why OMG has earned the Gold Medal for Top Sales Assessment Tool from TopSalesWorld for two years running.

For more on the differences between Assessments and which ones are the most predictive, see this series of articles.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales candidates, omg, hiring salespeople, Personality Tests, personality assessments, sales assessment tests, sales selection, sales assessments, objective management group

Compromises in Sales Candidate Assessments Compromise Revenue

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 @ 20:09 PM

compromiseWhen I first began to evangelize the importance of sales force evaluations and sales candidate assessments in the early 90's, no other assessment company was focused on the sales force or developing a sales-specific (built for, rather than modified for, the sales force) assessment.  22 years later, my message has been so well-received that it spawned a sales assessment industry.  Most of the so-called sales assessments are from companies and individuals which have modified or created derivative works, based on existing assessments to make them appear to be sales-specific.

Experience has demonstrated that there are three areas where companies tend to compromise with sales candidate assessments and those compromises always lead to revenue shortages:

1. Compromising Assessment Choice  -  Other than the sales-specific assessments developed by Objective Management Group (OMG), assessments generally fall into the categories of personality tests (like Caliper), behavioral styles assessments (like DISC) or sales aptitude tests.  Personality tests and behavioral styles assessments are not predictive of sales performance and, as much as their marketers would suggest otherwise, the only things that are sales-specific are their marketing materials and the names of some of their findings.  They report on what they measure and they measure what they collect which are answers to questions asked in a social context rather than sales context.  Sales aptitude tests measure only what an individual knows about transactional (not consultative) selling, but not how they are likely to perform.  The compromise takes place if a company chooses an assessment for one of the following five reasons:

    • Familiarity - A company has successfully used a personality test or behavioral styles assessment to better understand their employees.  While it seems to make sense to expand its use to sales selection, these assessments do not accurately predict performance or success in a sales role.
    • Faulty Assumptions - An executive receives a referral from someone who has used personality or behavioral styles assessments and recommends them, incorrectly assuming that they would be equally effective for sales selection.
    • Misled - A company chooses a sales aptitude assessment because the name implies fit and alignment when it only measures interest, knowledge and awareness.
    • Price - An assessment may cost less, but the savings are dwarfed by the cost of a hiring mistake.
    • Comfort - An executive may be more familiar with a particular assessment, but knowing the assessment language, buzzwords or reporting format doesn't magically make that assessment more accurate or predictive.

2. Compromising Assessment Timing - Assuming that you've selected the best assessment for sales selection (OMG's highly-accurate and predictive Sales Candidate Assessment), it must be used at an optimal point in the sales recruiting/interviewing/hiring process - the first step.  When a resumes arrives, candidates should receive a reply with instructions to take the assessment.  The completed assessment quickly eliminates those candidates whose sales capabilities don't meet the customized requirements for the role.  These include criteria based on the difficulty of the sale, length of the sales cycle, title of the decision-maker, price point, competition, locale, management supervision, average sale price and more.  The Compromise takes place when a company doesn't wish to purchase a license for unlimited use and chooses to pay-per-use instead.  With pay-per-use, the company can't assess every candidate and they waste tremendous amounts of valuable time on unnecessary interviews and misguided inclusion.  This nearly always results in the wrong candidates advancing through to the interview, the wrong candidates being chosen to take an assessment, and findings of "not recommended" being the rule rather than the exception.

3. Compromising Assessment Use - Assuming that you're assessing everyone in the first step with the best sales-specific assessment available, the manner in how you use it is important too.  Your assessment is configured to recommend only those candidates who will succeed in the role as described above.  The proper way to use the assessment is to conduct a short phone interview with only "recommended" candidates, assuring that they sound great and meet the required experience.  Only the best of those you've called should receive an interview.  The Compromise takes place when an executive does one or more of the following six bad things:

    • Interview even though a candidate was "not recommended".
    • Automatically hire because the candidate was "recommended".
    • Interview prior to the assessment, leading to the executive falling in love with that candidate, usually "not recommended" after being subsequently assessed.
    • Use the assessment only as a data point, ignoring the recommendation.
    • Lower the assessment standards and criteria to allow more candidates to be recommended.
    • Make exceptions.

Obviously, there is more to the successful use of a sales candidate assessment than the actual assessment and candidate selections.  Many companies get it wrong at every step.  The companies which do get it right get very consistent results.  By following the process and not making exceptions they always get top-notch salespeople, leading to revenue increases.

Want to learn more?  I'll be discussing What's Preventing Your Sales Force From Over-Achieving in an SMMConnect Webinar on Wednesday, September 26, at 1:00 PM ET.  Learn more here.

You can try OMG's Sales Candidate Assessments with a 72-hour Free Trial.

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, Sales Candidate, Personality Tests, sales aptitude test, predictive, behavioral styles assessment

More Sales Assessment Imposters Exposed

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, May 29, 2012 @ 06:05 AM

When I call a sales assessment an imposter, I am usually referring to a personality or a behavioral styles assessment that has been adapted for sales.  The adaptation is usually quite spectacluar with their marketing as the assessments always sound like they were built for sales.  When they rename some findings on their reports to appear more sales-specific, the adaptation is complete.  However, the actual assessments remain essentially the same.  The questions that people are asked and the internal analyses remain unchanged, but the assessment company swaps some of the findings for personal traits and behaviors that have been traditionally associated with selling.  These traits and behaviors are uncovered by asking questions in social settings rather than business or sales settings.  As a result, the translations to sales are often inaccurate, meaning that the findings are not predictive of sales performance.  If you want to read more about the difference between personality and behavioral styles assessments compared to OMG's sales-specific assessments, you can find many examples here.

Last week, I received an email promoting one such assessment.  This was their headline:

headlineThey provided five examples and because two were companies that increased sales, we are led to believe that this company's predictive assessments are for sales roles.  When you visit their website, you learn that they have assessments for nearly every role in nearly every industry.  For the offerings to be this broad, only a personality assessment could be this flexible.  And while the information in personality assessments can be helpful, they have absolutely no correlation to sales, sales success, or sales performance.

Upon further investigation, the site provided these options for sales (emphasis on retail and B2C):

drop downIf you choose Sales Engineers, they recommend two of their assessments - neither of which has anything to do with selling:

recommendation

For those of you who employ Sales Engineers, the two assessments listed above can help you determine how effective they could be at problem-solving, but not engineering or sales.

If you choose Financial Services Sales Agents or some of the other options provided, they recommend this personality assessment:

Recommendation

Apparently, they believe that the personality traits required for customer service are the same as those required for sales success.  If that was true, then you would be able to move your entire customer service team into sales roles, not only with success, but without push back.  You already know that your customer service people have no interest whatsoever in selling!

Assessments can have a huge impact on selection, diagnosis and development of the sales organization.  However, if you choose the wrong assessments - imposters - you won't receive any of the powerful intelligence or predictive benefits that OMG provides its users.  

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, Sales Candidate, Personality Tests, predictive

Another Sales Assessment Takes on OMG - What Does it Reveal?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Apr 04, 2012 @ 08:04 AM

comparisonToday, we have another rare opportunity to compare a personality assessment, masquerading as a sales assessment, to OMG's sales-specific assessment.  A candidate took the test with which the recruiter was familiar, Sales Achievement Predictor (SalesAP), while the client asked the candidate to take OMG's assessment.

I later received an email asking if I could explain why OMG's assessment said "Not Recommended" and the SalesAP said "Highly Recommended".  In general terms, SalesAP, like all personality assessments, makes assumptions about its sales findings. 

  • SalesAP states that the candidate had the ability to make cold calls, but how do they know that?  The candidate had Initiative and Extroversion as findings, so they incorrectly assume that translates to cold calling.  But that isn't necessarily so.  OMG found that the candidate also had strong Need for Approval and Difficulty Recovering from Rejection - two conditions that actually hinder cold calling.
  • SalesAP states that the candidate had the ability to close, but how do they know that?  The candidate has Competitiveness and Goal Orientation as findings, so they incorrectly assume that translates to closing.  But that isn't necessarily so.  OMG found that the candidate has only 11% of the attributes of the Consultative selling skill set and 11% of the attributes of the Closer skill set.  In addition, he had 4, out of a possible 5, Major Weaknesses with a High (bad) Severity - all factors that inhibit effective closing.
  • SalesAP states that the candidate had a Strong Disposition to Selling, but how do they know that?  I believe it's simply a sum of the first two findings!  OMG found that while the candidate Enjoys Selling, he had a very low Sales Posturing Score, so he'll struggle making good first impressions.
  • What SalesAP is completely unable to identify are specific selling skills that are relevent to the sales specific role that this salesperson would fill.  OMG found that this candidate would be unable to Sell Value, a requirement for a company that has either a complex sale or products that are priced higher than the competition.
This personality test, and others like it, simply look at ranges of scores and if the scores are similar with those of successful salespeople, they assume that this person will be successful too.  But unsuccessful salespeople regularly score high in these dimensions too!  Personality tests are great when you simply want to know more about an individual.  However, when it comes to salespeople, there are three things that personality tests are not:
  1. Role-specific,
  2. Sales-specific, and
  3. Predictive of sales performance.
It's not practical to use personality tests as a sole hiring or development tool, but it's fine to use them as a complimentary tool, as long as you completely ignore the recommendations.  Why?  Personality tests can only report on what they can measure and they can only measure the responses to their questions.  Unfortunately, the questions are asked in social settings, rather than sales settings, and the findings have very little relevance to sales.

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, Sales Candidate, Personality Tests, predictive

The Latest Fiction for the Sales Force - No More Hunters and Farmers

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Sep 10, 2009 @ 10:09 AM

Today I received an email from Selling Power promoting their latest webinar, The Hunter/Farmer Paradigm is Dead

In 2007 we had to deal with writers proclaiming that sales and the sales force were dead.  The reality of all of that talk was that the people writing about it weren't close enough to sales to know what they were talking about.  Companies with transactional sales don't need salespeople selling their transactional items, but they do need salespeople persuading companies to choose them in the first place.  Then the transactions can be placed via Internet or an inside sales group. That's about the only scenario where the "dead" proclamation even comes close to being accurate.  

Companies selling complex products, design engineered, custom, capital intensive, and higher priced than competition absolutely need salespeople to find opportunities, develop the need, provide value, qualify the opportunity, present the right solution and close the business.  Companies that are underdogs, those that sell professional services, and those with a story to tell absolutely need salespeople.

And today we have more attention grabbing headlines.  While it is Selling Power that is hosting this promotional webinar, it's actually a sales training company that is conducting it.  They go on to say that, "today's economy demands that you leverage all of your available sales talent by helping your sales reps both farm and hunt productively."

That's fine in theory.  It's optimal.  But the reality is that Objective Management Group has statistics from evaluating 450,000 salespeople and it's just not possible.  Here are the facts:

You want all of your salespeople to find new business but 24% of them will never be able to do that.  All of the training that they can provide won't change those people.  They'll have new words and will learn new skills but they still won't actually do it.

You want all of your salespeople to farm but some of them will never be able to do that either.  22% of them can't be trained.  And 45% of them will not close.  Again, they can train them until they're blue in the face but aside from the new words they'll learn, nothing will change for that group of salespeople.

So in a perfect world, where we can be anything we want to be, athletes aren't wired to be scientists, artists aren't wired to be software programmers, and ballet dancers aren't wired to be weight lifters.  Some salespeople aren't wired to prospect - they should be account managers - and some people aren't wired to close - they should be account managers too!

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales, selling, closing, prospecting, Action Selling, Personality Tests, sales evaluations, sales tests, sales assessments, objective management group, selling power

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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 and this one for 2017. Read more about Dave.

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