Data Shows That Only 14% are Qualified for the Easiest Selling Roles

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Nov 15, 2018 @ 06:11 AM

qualify-candidates

Lays Potato Chips.  Movie Theater Popcorn.  Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies.  BBQ Ribs.  Fudge Brownies.  Rolos (a personal favorite from years ago).  All junk food which, after having the first one, you just can't stop there. You must have more.  Lays even had that as a slogan back in the late 60's - "Bet you can't eat just one."  Back then I couldn't stop at one.

Last week I wrote an article that said companies are hiring the wrong salespeople 77% of the time.  It was very popular and there was a great discussion on LinkedIn but similar to the junk food, you couldn't read that one article and move to another subject.  You need to have some more.

That article was filled with data to illustrate the differences between good salespeople versus those who actually get hired most of the time.  It was ugly and there were questions about the 77% like, "Where does that come from?"

Some of the supporting data came from the CSO Insights 2018 Sales Talent Study.  Some of it came from Objective Management Group's evaluations and assessments of 1.8 million salespeople.  And I'm going to show you some data that most people never get to see.  Take a look at these wild numbers!

In the first graph, you can see the overall recommendation rate from 2014 through mid-November of 2018 from OMG's Sales Candidate Assessments.  

recommendation-rates-overall

While the overall rate varies by no more than 4 percentage points over the past 5 years, from a low of 37% to a high of 41% the overall rate is very deceiving.

OMG has 5 levels of difficulty and the criteria for a recommendation becomes more rigorous as the difficulty of the role increases.  There are as many as 11 second-level customizations that could cause a candidate to be not recommended if their sales DNA doesn't support a required selling activity.  And there is a third-level  of customization that can override the criteria and customizations above to alter a recommendation.

Between the sliding scale and two additional levels of customization, it's very impressive that the overall rate hasn't varied by more than 4% over the past 5 years.  Let's review the recommendation rates for all 5 difficulty levels.

recommend-rates

The first two columns on the left show the overall recommendation rates that appeared in the graph above.  The overall rates are the averages across all ten columns for each year.  There are 2 types of recommendations - recommended (continue with the interview process) and worthy of consideration (continue if there aren't enough candidates that were recommended) - for each difficulty level.  So that's 10 ratios to track per year.  These are some of the ratios that stand out for me:

  • Notice the low recommendation rates for the last three years for the roles with the least difficulty (columns 3-4).  You would think that it should be like the 2014 rate when 47% or nearly half of the candidates for those easy roles were recommended.  Why is it so different now?  One possible reason is that in the past 4 years, thousands of BDR (top of the funnel) roles were filled with recent college graduates and a much smaller percentage of them qualify for any sales role than experienced salespeople.  It's not their lack of skills; it's their unsuitable Sales DNA and/or their unsuitable Desire and Commitment for sales success.  
  • The recommended rate for the most difficult roles has increased by 5% over the past 5 years and the biggest increase has occurred in 2018.  With our help, companies have become more effective at targeting the caliber of salespeople that are required to perform in the most difficult roles.  Their candidate pool is filled with many more top tier candidates than you would expect given the overall shortage of salespeople and the even more acute lack of great salespeople.
  • Most companies seek salespeople for roles of moderate difficulty yet only 19% of the candidates are recommended. When the company lacks the required number of recommended candidates, they dip into the bucket of worthies, thereby doubling the size of the candidate pool from which they can interview.  The problem is that with sales candidates in such short supply, companies who aren't using OMG's sales candidate assessments are actually hiring the other 60% who, as you should be aware by now, are all weak, score in the lowest 50 percentile, and under the best of circumstances, will not hit quota.

Most companies are unhappy that half of their salespeople suck but to a certain extent, they have accepted it as fact - the new normal.  They look at the recommendation rates shown above and rationalize their situation by saying to themselves, "There aren't many candidates out there and most of them won't be recommended anyway so we'll just keep doing what we've always done."  The definition of stupidity.

Sure, it takes patience and discipline to attract, assess, interview, select and on board salespeople who will succeed in their roles.  But patience and discipline aren't strangers to finance, manufacturing, operations, marketing, R & D, engineering, design, fulfillment, quality control, IT, IS, or most of the other functions and departments in a successful business.  So isn't it time that we stop fooling ourselves and continuing to believe that sales is different and we have to accept the hand we are dealt?  That thinking causes executives to have Cause a Rationalization for Aggravating Performance.  CRAP.  You can read more about CRAP in sales. More importantly, you can have access to the most accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment on the planet.  Named Top Sales Assessment Tool for 7 consecutive years, you can be as confident about the salespeople you select as all of our clients are.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Candidate, sales assessment tool, hiring, sales assessment tests

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

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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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