Increase Your Odds of a Successful Sales Hire by 368%

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Nov 06, 2017 @ 16:11 PM

 

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A Harvard Business Review study proved that using pre-employment assessments increased the probability of a successful hire from 13% to 72%.

I read that exact statement in a marketing promo for a search company and as they hoped, it got my attention. I thought the premise would make for a good article. I began by searching Google for the source of that quote and low and behold, I couldn't locate it. I can't say for sure that the study doesn't exist or the percentages aren't correct but I could not find a single thing that correlated to that quote.

Of course it makes sense that no such statistic exists because with assessments making that much of a difference, it would be a no-brainer for every company to use them and on what planet are the chances of success only 13%?

Objective Management Group (OMG) has an extremely accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment with very impressive statistics. Until seeing the statistics above, I hadn't attempted to use OMG's existing success stats in that fashion. We know that 75% of the candidates who are not recommended by OMG, but hired anyway, fail inside of 6 months. We know that 92% of the candidates who are recommended and later hired rise to the top half of the sales force within 12 months. If we use those two related statistics we would get a probability increase of 368% (25% to 92%). But in this case, we have already been told that the likelihood of success for the candidate that was not recommended was only 25%.

Instead, what if we take the two generic rates of success in hiring salespeople? The first says that 50% of all salespeople hired will turnover. That doesn't mean that the other 50% will succeed, only that they won't turnover! In the case of 50% turnover compared with 92% success, that's an 84% improvement. The second rate of success tells us that based on around 50% of all salespeople hitting their quotas for the last several years, half of the people who don't turnover will succeed. That's 25% - still double our fake 13%. Compared with a 92% success rate, that's a 368% improvement.

The latest data out of OMG shows that 5% of all salespeople are elite (Sales Quotient over 140) and the next 11% are strong (Sales Quotient over 129). Those two groups represent only 16% of all salespeople, down from 23% just 2 years ago. If only 16% of all salespeople are any good, you will need a better way to identify them when their resume and/or online application hits your screen and you better know who they are before you decide to interview anyone. That's where an accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment comes into play. OMG's is very customizable and with its accuracy and predictive quality, you'll save a lot of time and money by identifying the candidates who will succeed very early in your sales recruiting process.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Candidate, hiring salespeople, accurate sales assessment

Are Millennials Who Enter Sales Better or Worse Than the Rest of the Sales Population?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Aug 31, 2016 @ 12:08 PM

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Image Copyright: kchung / 123RF Stock Photo

Millennials are more independent, more spoiled, have a shorter attention span, tend to be more into their technology than into people, don't like working traditional hours, and don't enjoy working in traditional ways.  That said, would you expect them to be better or worse suited for selling than the generations who came before them?

I took to the data to see what story it might tell. I found data on more than 43,000 millennials in sales and here is what I learned.  This information should be very helpful for hiring new salespeople and developing them as well.

To get a sense for the actual comparison, I looked at four data sets:

  1. All Millennials
  2. The Top 10% of Millennials
  3. The Top 10% of Salespeople with 10+ years in sales and in their industry
  4. All Salespeople with 10+ years in sales and in their industry

So how do Millennials compare?  

Chris Mott, my trusted colleague and friend, specified the first dashboard - how all millennials scored. Sales Quotient, the overall score, is shown in the top right corner.  108 is weak.  Sales DNA, the combination of strengths, is shown in the middle.  61 represents a salesperson that will not be able to execute sales process, strategies, skills and tactics because the strengths are actually weaknesses.  Commitment, the willingness to do what it takes to achieve greater success in sales is shown in the upper left hand section.  53% represents a lack of commitment.  You'll notice that Handling Rejection and Relationship Building are the only two areas where millennials scored well in the areas of Sales DNA and Selling Competencies.  Scroll down for more.

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After Chris showed me the first dashboard, I populated the next dashboard with veteran salespeople with 10 or more years in sales.  You can see that as a group, they have higher scores in all of the areas we discussed relative to the previous dashboard, except - and this is a head turner - Relationship Building!  Who could have seen that coming?  Interestingly, they score 39% on Responsibility which means they are twice more likely to make excuses than their younger colleagues.  In this comparison, based on their Sales Quotients, the older salespeople are at least serviceable while the Millennials are simply weak.  Scroll down for more.

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The third dashboard represents veteran salespeople again, but this time only the top 10%.  As you can see, the top 10% are elite, with Sales Quotients averaging 142 and Sales DNA averaging 83.  Nearly every score is in the green and all of the scores are higher than either of the two prior groups.  These are the salespeople you want to hire!  And wherever possible, you want to coach up your existing salespeople to be like the top 10%.  Scroll down for more.

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The fourth dashboard represents the Top 10% of Millennials.  It isn't very different from the top 10% of Veteran Salespeople with the notable exception of their respective scores for Figure-it-Out-Factor, or how quickly they will ramp up.  Notice the low score on Relationship Building!  This group scores the highest on Desire, Responsibility, Outlook, Sales DNA and Coachable!!  Scroll down for more.

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It should be clear from this comparison that overall, Millennials are not a great choice for sales.  However, the Top 10% of Millennials are an excellent choice for sales!  So the million dollar question is, when you are hiring salespeople, and millennials are in the mix, how do you determine whether they are millennials of the 108 Sales Quotient or of the 143 Sales Quotient?

I apologize.  That was a trick question. As you can see from the dashboard of all Veteran salespeople, that group only averages a 121 on Sales Quotient. It shouldn't matter whether millennials are in the mix or not. You need the ability to differentiate between the 140's, 120's and 100's with every candidate, and do it as early in the sales recruiting process as possible.  Weed out the undesirable sales candidates in the very first step!  So how can you tell whether you have a 140 or a 108?  Use Objective Management Group's accurate and predictive sales candidate assessments. They're built on science and customizable for your business and selling role.  

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, top salespeople, Sales Candidate, sales selection, objective management group, OMG Assessment

Choose Which of These Two Assessments are More Predictive of Sales Success

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Feb 10, 2016 @ 06:02 AM


face-off.jpgThis week, a candidate for a sales position sent along his Predictive Index (PI) assessment so that we could compare it to his sales assessment from Objective Management Group (OMG).  Most people have little sense as to how assessments compare to each other - and even more have experience only with personality and behavioral styles assessments.  I was able to extract the dashboard from OMG's 21 page sales-specific assessment, and the graphics and selling summary from the 3-page Predictive Index behavioral styles assessment.  You might find the comparison interesting!Let's begin with what I was able to extract from PI and focus on the selling summary.  Like most behavioral styles assessments, there is very little that actually has to do with selling and as you can see in the one summary about the candidate's selling ability, there isn't much there that will translate to the field:

PI-Sales-Summary.jpg6 Bullet points - that's the entirety of it - and if you look closely, you'll see that those behavioral styles are really the focus; not the sales words.  Authoritative, driven, risk-taker, flexible, outwardly focused, comfortable expressing ideas or concepts.  As I said, these are not sales-specific capabilities, but they add some sales type language to make it look that way.  It's marketing!

Now let's add their graphics.  Can you predict how this candidate will perform from this information?  Here are the meanings of these findings and what they measure.

PI-Sales-Dash.jpgNow let's take a look at just the dashboard - page 2 - from OMG's Sales Candidate Assessment for the same candidate.

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You can very quickly see that from the top down, the candidate has grit - the Will to Sell (Desire and Commitment for success in sales), borderline supportive Sales DNA (the combination of sales strengths), some very strong sales competencies (hunting, consultative selling, qualifying and posturing), some mediocre sales competencies (closing and account management), and a clear weakness at farming in major accounts.  The overall score - Sales Quotient - is 126 on a scale of 173 - making the candidate serviceable at best.  A strong salesperson (only 20% of these) has a sales quotient of 130 to 139 and an elite salesperson (only 6% of these) has a sales quotient of 140 or higher.  Why is this candidate only a 126 when he has true grit and some great selling competency scores?  It's the Sales DNA.  While this salesperson will be able to add opportunities to the pipeline with his strong hunting skills, and gain some traction with his strong consultative and qualifying skills, his combination of Sales DNA weaknesses will prevent him from being able to talk about budgets and finances, and he will empathize with comparison shoppers, price shoppers, and  prospects that give him put-offs instead of decisions (all 3 of these are from the Supportive Buy Cycle strand of Sales DNA which present as a huge weakness).

He applied for an industrial territory manager role - one that is not very challenging - so he is worthy of consideration - for that role.  However, if this were a more complex sale, selling more expensive products or services to a senior level of decision maker with more sophisticated competition, he would not have been worthy or recommended. 

Which assessment would you rather use?  75% of the candidates that aren't recommended by OMG, who somehow get hired anyway (think love fest) fail inside of 6 months.  92% of the candidates that are recommended and hired rise to the top half of the sales force within 12 months.  That's predictive!

 

Which Assessment is More Predictive?
OMG
PI
My Gut Instinct
Other
Do Quizzes
 

Earlier this week I posted this article about made up statistics.  The stats above are real.  You can learn more about OMG's accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment here.

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, Sales Candidate, predictive index, OMG Assessment

Top 5 Keys to Select and Hire Great Salespeople in 2015

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Dec 08, 2014 @ 06:12 AM

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Copyright: swingvoodoo / 123RF Stock Photo

I'm always amused when an email comes through with a message that says something like, "Maybe we should target candidates that aren't recommended" or "Why do so many candidates lack Commitment?" or "Your assessments are only recommending 1 out of every 5 candidates!" or "The questions don't fit the role!" or "Thanks for saving us so much time - we would have hired some of these losers last year!"

I can usually determine, just from the comment of the email, exactly who, by title, must have sent it to us.  Here are some funny examples:

If it's a comment about how few candidates are being recommended, then the message is probably from an internal or external recruiter. 

All but the savviest of recruiters hate Objective Management Group (OMG) because we make their jobs more difficult.  Their job is to find great sales or sales management candidates and OMG only recommends those who are most likely to succeed in the role so, from their perspective, we are "knocking out" too many of their "awesome" candidates.  We do help them succeed at their jobs, but they must deliver more candidates than before to achieve that success.

A comment about how much time we have saved them is usually from the HR Director or VP.  Those Individuals easily recognize how good the recommended candidates are and really appreciate how much time they saved by not having to engage with undesirable candidates.  We make their jobs much easier!

When we read a comment about the assessment questions not fitting a sales role, the email is definitely from a candidate that is either a fish out of water, very inexperienced, or very misguided about professional selling.  Good salespeople never have a problem with fit or context.

Sarcastic comments, like the one above about targeting 'not recommended' candidates, usually come from frustrated CEOs that haven't met with enough good candidates.  Of course, it's easy to place the blame on OMG for quality of candidates because, well, who are they going to blame, their own people?  The quality of the candidates is directly related to the effectiveness of their job posting, where they placed their ads, and how well those postings are working.  OMG assessment recommendations essentially become the feedback on the quality of their sales candidate pool.

Testimonials often come from Sales VPs or Directors that have begun to hire great salespeople.  They recognize how good the candidates have been, they have made their first hires, and the new salepeople that OMG recommended have gotten off to great starts.

Depending on their roles and whether or not achieving their goals has become easier or more difficult, everyone has a different context and perspective of the exact same instrument.

As of this writing, there are some indisputable conditions that everyone must contend with:

  • There is a shortage of good candidates, but they do exist.
  • The more difficult the role and the more capable and expert the salesperson must be, the harder it will be to find "the one".
  • It is taking between 60-90 days to complete the hiring process.
  • The best job sites depend on a combination of geography and the desired capabilities of the salespeople you are hoping to hire.
    • The best candidate, who I personally interviewed in the past 30 days, was sourced from Craigslist.
    • The best overall candidates for a specific geography, that I interviewed in the past 90 days, were sourced from Indeed.
    • The best overall candidates for a non-specific geography, that I interviewed in the past 90 days, were from LinkedIn.
    • The best overall value for sourcing candidates was from ZipRecruiter.
  • You may conduct 5-minute phone interviews with ONLY the candidates that were recommended for the role by the OMG Assessment.
  • You may interview only the best of those candidates from the phone interviews.

Managing your own expectations is key to making this process work.  You must exercise:

  • Patience.  You may have to repeat the process several times to find who you are looking for.
  • No Compromises. If you compromise, you'll be starting all over again in 6 months.
  • Discipline.  Never consider a candidate that is not recommended by the OMG Sales Candidate Assessment regardless of fit.  
  • No Exceptions.  Exceptions compromise the integrity of the sales recruiting process.
  • Speed. Once you have identified a desirable candidate, act swiftly or you will lose that candidate!  I interviewed a great candidate at 2PM on Thursday and recommended him to my client at 3 PM.  At 5:45 PM I received a call and learned that my client had already contacted, met with, interviewed the candidate, and presented a job offer that the candidate accepted.

Finding, selecting, hiring and onboarding great salespeople is more difficult than at any time in the past 20 years.  The only thing that will make it easier is something for which you absolutely won't want to be wishing - a huge economic downturn.  As long as the economy is growing and things are going relatively well, we can deal with it being more difficult to hire.  After all, what good is a glut of candidates if you can't afford to hire them?

Finally, don't forget about EEOC Guidelines.  if you are using OMG's Sales Candidate Assessments, current guidelines require you to assess all of your candidates.  Clients simply purchase a flat-fee license for unlimited use and send the link to every candidate that submits a resume.  Easy!  You're EEOC compliant.

Sales Candidate Assessment Free Trial

Want to hear more?  Listen to this BizTalkRadio interview of me talking about getting sales selection right.

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales recruiting, Sales Candidate, hiring salespeople, sales test, personality test, interviewing salespeople

Keys to Improved Sales Performance - Part 2 of 4

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Sep 03, 2014 @ 07:09 AM

sales potential

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

See Part 1 here. This is Part 2.

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 missed 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.

The Sales Recruiting and Selection Articles

Sales Selection and Recruiting remain a crucial function in improving sales performance.  After all, don't most of the sales performance problems just go away when you get hiring right?  And if that's true, why are so many leaders and companies so resistant and cautious about employing time-tested and proven best practices to improve in this area?  Read on for more...

Top 10 Reasons Why Your Great New Salesperson Might Fail 

Top 10 Sales Recruiting Lessons to Hire Great Salespeople 

What Percentage of Sales Candidates Are Hired? 

Look for Potential in the Next Generation of Sales Hires 

As Good as Your Last Successful Hire - 10 Tips for Consistency 

Share your opinions and let us know what you think about the challenges of recruiting and selection, the shortage of candidates, and the importance of getting it right.

 

Image Copyright: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales recruiting, Sales Candidate, sales test, personality test

As Good as Your Last Successful Hire - 10 Tips for Consistency

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 @ 13:07 PM

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Most executives struggle at maintaining any kind of successful momentum when it comes to consistently hiring salespeople who actually succeed.  It's easy to hire a great salesperson who, when all is said and done, sucks.  It's difficult to hire any salesperson who, in the end,  performs great.  

Let's leave the world of sales and look at my favorite topic for analogies, baseball, and although it's very difficult this year, my favorite team, the Boston Red Sox.  

Under first-year GM, Ben Cherington, the 2012 Red Sox were horrible.  They finished last after 10 years of playoff appearances and World Series titles in 2004 and 2007.  Ben inherited part of that team, but he engineered the draft, trades, signings, releases and promotions that became the final design of the 2012 Red Sox. 

The very same GM made questionable moves during the following off-season, and most experts predicted that the Red Sox would continue to be a team that wasn't very competitive.  The Red Sox fooled everyone and finished first, winning the American League championship and 2013 World Series.  Boston Strong.

A few more off-season moves led to the 2014 team, destined to finish last again.  It will be the first time in Major League Baseball history when a team would go from worst to first and back to worst during three consecutive seasons.

Most fans are wondering how the genius of 2013 could have ended up with such a horrible team just one year later.  Experts point to a lot of possible reasons, but most neglect that this was the same GM who led the 2012 team to a last place finish.

Is he the genius of 2013, or the incapable GM of 2012 and 2014? 

The answer is probably neither, but only time will allow us to judge fully.  [This just in, today he traded Jon Lester and Johnny Gomes for Yuenis Cespedes]

Back to sales.

When a company hires a salesperson who turns out to be awesome, the sales leader is a genius for knowing this person would succeed.  When a company hires a salesperson who turns out to be horrible, the sales leader couldn't have known things would end up this way.  After all, the candidate had a track record of success.

There are 10 things you can do to hedge your bets:

  1. Create and stick to a best practices, sales-specific, recruiting process.
  2. Use and don't vary from a validated, predictive, sales-specific, candidate assessment.
  3. Attract the right candidates with a killer job posting.
  4. Develop strong, sales-specific, interviewing skills.
  5. Identify specific selection criteria and stick to them.
  6. Design a powerful, meaningful, structured, onboarding program for new salespeople.
  7. Improve sales coaching skills and spend more time coaching.
  8. Improve your ability to hold salespeople accountable to agreed-upon KPI's.
  9. Check references.
  10. Prepare new salespeople for success instead of setting them up for failure.
In the end, you're only as good as your last successful hire.  Just ask Ben Cherington!
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Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales recruiting, Sales Candidate, red sox, ben cherington, sales selection

Top 10 Sales Recruiting Lessons to Hire Great Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 @ 08:07 AM

sales candidatesOne of the first emails I came across this morning was a LinkedIn update telling me that 16% of my network had started new jobs.  16%.  That's one of every 6.25 people I am connected to.

That brings us to this question.  Who's in a LinkedIn network?

I'm very selective about who I connect to on LinkedIn.  Some would suggest that you should connect with as many people as possible.  I'm of the belief that you should connect with people who you know and who know you.  I believe that you should also connect with those who fit the profile of your customers and/or clients as well as the people who can connect you with them.  

I receive twenty requests to join someone else's network for every one I send out, and I don't accept invitations from people I don't know unless they are connected to my target audience. I admit it, I'm a LinkedIn snob.

So with all that said, 16% of my small network, with fewer than 1,000 connections, still means that after we account for those people who I know, but aren't in my target demographic, more than 125 CEO's, Presidents, HR Directors, Sales Directors and Salespeople took new jobs.  2 of them left my company, a bunch of them left clients, and another bunch took jobs with clients.

This is actually very consistent with what we see and what our clients see when recruiting for positions.  There are plenty of senior sales candidates out and about, getting fed up, discouraged, mistreated, and terminated.  At the same time, very few of them have the competencies required to be effective in sales management and sales leadership roles.  You must be extremely selective and that's where it helps to have an awesome Sales Management or Sales Leadership Candidate Assessment like Objective Management Group (OMG) offers.  It is of enormous help in filtering the good-looking candidates from the strong, competent candidates.

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When it comes to sales candidates, there is a certifiable shortage.  Sure, if you post an ad, you'll get resumes, but most of the available (I can't call it talent) candidates are of poor quality.  

 

We have several tricks that we use to find and attract top talent (I share an awful lot in my blog posts, but we get paid for our best stuff), but the real lessons are these 10:

  1. You must be patient.  Wait for the right one and don't compromise.
  2. Don't hire because of a resume or references.  The success may not be transferrable.
  3. Don't disqualify because of a resume.  It may not be their fault.
  4. Don't disqualify because of a failure.  It could have been cultural or industry-specific.
  5. Track record is good, but not a guarantee of future performance.
  6. It comes down to Motivation, Competencies, Capabilities, Sales DNA and Fit and those must be measured, not claimed or guessed at.
  7. Everything you think you know about recruiting salespeople is probably only half right.
  8. If you don't use an accurate, predictive, sales-specific Candidate Assessment, you'll have better luck spinning the wheel.
  9. Most recruiters are no better at spotting and/or recommending good sales candidates than you.
  10. A good, new salesperson, without formal, structured on-boarding, direction, accountability and coaching, is just as likely to fail as a lousy salesperson.

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales recruiting, Sales Candidate, sales test, personality test

2 Biggest Mistakes Companies Make with Sales Candidates

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Feb 24, 2014 @ 05:02 AM

previewDo you prefer to see movies when the previews are awesome or dull?

Do you get more excited about your entree after a delicious or unspectacular appetizer?

Are you more likely to buy a car after an exciting test drive or one that left you unimpressed?

If you are using our sales recruiting process (STAR), then your sales candidates receive an email after submitting a resume.  They are informed about the five steps of the process and instructed to complete an online application and the OMG sales assessment.  When the online application is not included, about 35% of the candidates take the assessment.  When the online application is included in the process, the assessment rate jumps to better than 50%.

At this point in the process, the candidate is the appetizer, movie trailer, and test drive - all rolled into one.  If they don't complete the application and assessment, then why do sales managers and HR managers try so hard to get them to do it?  Haven't these candidates already shown you all you need to know about their follow-through, follow-up, attention to detail, ability to work a sales process, ability to take direction, and commitment to the result?  These candidates might even be thinking, "Not if I have to work this hard..."

Sales managers and sales leaders repeat another big mistake during the first interview when they prematurely sell the sales opportunity to the candidates.  Why aren't they challenging the candidates about their capabilities and fit instead?  Selling the job to the candidate positions you as the seller rather than the buyer, placing you in a position of weakness rather than strength.  That makes it much more difficult to land the candidate you want, for the role you have in mind, and with your ideal compensation plan.

The consultative approach required for sales is the same approach that you should be using in the interview.

If you are interested in learning about OMG's Sales Candidate Analyzer, a free tool that is included when you use OMG's Sales Candidate Assessment, I'll be leading a webinar this Wednesday, February 26 at 11:00 AM ET.

WEBINAR - How to Get the Most from OMG's Sales Candidate Analyzer Tool
February 26, 11 AM ET
Register 

PLEASE HELP ME OUT!  I am completing a study of the functionality of today's sales force.  Would you be nice enough to take 5 minutes and complete the questionnaire for me?  I would really appreciate it.  I'll be publishing the results of this study in an upcoming White Paper.

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, Sales Candidate, hiring salespeople, objective management group

Get Sales Compensation Right to Recruit Winning Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Aug 13, 2013 @ 12:08 PM

sales compensationSales candidates, especially good ones, are exponentially more difficult to attract than they were just two years ago.  We regularly observe clients struggling when it comes to getting resumes from quality candidates.  One of the reasons is compensation.

1. True or False: The higher the compensation, the better.

2. True or False: Compensation isn't that important to most salespeople.

3. True or False: Compensation is always relative.

4. True or False: Base salary is usually more important than % of commission.


The answers are False, False, True and False.

There are four variables that impact the importance of compensation:

  1. Requirements - If there aren't many significant requirements, expectations, experiences, or expertises, then $50,000 may be fair.  But if you need a salesperson who has had success selling expensive products or services to CEO's amid a tremendous amount of competition and you need this person to both find and close new business, then you are describing a salesperson who would expect a compensation plan to pay them in excess of $125,000 and as much as $250,000.
  2. Industry Norms - If you want one of the effective salespeople to join your company, you need to divorce yourself from the mindset that, "In our industry, it's traditional to pay..."  That's fine if you will never, ever interview and hire salespeople from outside your industry.  But if your industry provides a $135,000 base and the salesperson being interviewed comes from an industry that pays a $35,000 base,  you will overpay and undermotivate.
  3. Splits - Once again, you'll need to move away from the one-size-fits-all comp plan.  Extrinsically motivated salespeople will thrive on a low base and high commission plan while intrinsically motivated salespeople will perform more effectively on a high base with small commission plan.  That's why I always ask candidates to provide me with an earnings history broken down by salary and commission (and bonus if applicable).
  4. Needs - What a salesperson needs to earn to pay bills must be considered at the start and you may need to subsidize this person during ramp-up if the plan is weighted toward commissions and if income will fall short of the bill-paying requirement.  Regardless of motivation type, what salespeople desire to earn to get what they want in life must be considered for long-term retention.  When salespeople are successful and their income continues to grow, they will grow with you.  When success or income stagnates, look for them to add your company to the previous employers listed on their resumes.
I have written about and am on record saying that, in order to build an over-achieving sales force, you need to eliminate the 80/20 rule - the rule that says that 80% of your salespeople will suck -and replace it with the 100/0 rule - the rule that says that 100% of your salespeople will be over-achievers.

Well, I found some sanity over the 80/20 rule in Perry Marshall's new book, 80/20 Sales & Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More.  Perry busts some long-standing myths and backs it up with sound data.  I read the first chapter and am hooked - a must read for me and perhaps for you too!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales recruiting, sales management, sales leadership, Sales Candidate, sales compensation, sales talent

What Google Might Know about Hiring Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Sat, Jun 22, 2013 @ 09:06 AM

no brainerThe NY Times posted a story on June 20 about Google, their recruiting efforts, and big data.  The story really doesn't reveal that much, but there is an interesting quote (that I will get to shortly) that is relevent to hiring salespeople.  When we help companies get the sales selection piece right, there are several components that we tweak.  We help them get the following things right:

  1. Sequence of Steps
  2. The Posting - The entire sales recruiting process is only as good as its weakest link.  Most companies get the posting completely wrong and get wrong candidates into the candidate pool.  Then, what happens after this step is applied to the wrong candidates!
  3. Sourcing - see my explanation for #2
  4. Applicant Tracking
  5. Sales Candidate Assessment - There are two keys to this piece.  The first is the use of the right assessment.  The second is that the assessment be used this early in the process to disqualify all candidates who will not succeed in the particular role, at your company, calling into your marketplace, and your ideal decision-maker, against your competition, with your price points, and particular challenges.
  6. Short Phone Interview - Make sure that recommended candidates have the right experiences and sound good.
  7. Face-to-Face or Video Interview - Challenge the candidate and make sure they own what is on their resume as opposed to them being the author of a piece of fiction.
  8. Final Interview - Sell the opportunity.
  9. Offer
  10. On-Boarding
It typically takes a day or two to help clients integrate and apply this process to their business.  Clients love it because it not only results in consistently hiring much better sales talent, but it saves a tremendous amount of time and money too.  The value of getting it right?  Priceless.

You can use this free tool to
grade your sales recruiting process

Clients usually agree with all of the above.  One part, that they often disagree with, is that too many clients require that their salespeople have a college degree and that's where the NY Times and Google article comes in.  I don't have anything against college graduates, but I have never seen a correlation between higher education and sales success.  While many successful salespeople have college degrees, salespeople don't succeed because of their education.  We learn from the NY Times article that Google has not seen any correlation between education and success at Google, arguing that success in school requires a different set of skills.

I was not a particularly good student and did not finish college.  Most of the skills I have needed to write, type, speak, communicate, persuade and sell, research, manage, lead, use technology, build, create, opine, listen, question, and think outside the box; to stand-out and be analytical, practical, memorable, animated, dynamic, entrepreneurial and entertaining, to talk the language of business and CEO's, are not things that were taught in college.  I learned most of what I needed to know in high-school, from books, coaches and mentors, and mostly, on the street by taking risks, trial-and-error and early on, making mostly errors.  

In my not so humble opinion, if you want to put an educational requirement on sales candidates, it should be that they are street-smart rather than degreed.  Here are two exaggerated examples:
  • Educated - "Where is the documentation for this?  Show me where to go for that?  How does this information apply?  I'll need some time to learn and assimilate this.  I should be ready to begin visiting customers, to learn about them, next month.  When I understand a little more about why they buy from us, I'll start to make some business development calls."  
  • Street Smart - "Thanks.  I'll figure it out.  When can I start selling?"

This is truly a no-brainer.  Which salesperson would you prefer to be on boarding right now?

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, Sales Candidate, hiring salespeople, sales assessment test, objective management group

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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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