Are Salespeople Also Joggers?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Sep 26, 2014 @ 11:09 AM

jogger

As I drove to work today, I passed 4 joggers, all with different styles, paces and appearances.  As usual, I saw the similarities between what I observed and the sales profession.

Jogger #1 was an overweight man, in his 50's, working very hard, but not going very fast or far.  He had lots of unnecessary motion and wasted energy, was wearing himself out, and showing little in the way of results.  He instantly reminded me of the salesperson who works lots of hours, always seems to have enough to keep quite busy, but never seems to get his opportunities moved through the pipeline to closure.

Jogger #2 was a middle-aged woman who was moving in slow motion.  Until that moment, I did not believe anyone could run that slowly!  She reminded me of salespeople who never seem to get new opportunities into their pipelines because they lack the urgency necessary to get on the phone and make calls. 

Jogger #3 was the model of efficiency, with good speed, pace and motion.  He reminded me of a salesperson who has a purpose, stays focused, and accomplishes his goals.

Jogger #4 was actually sprinting.  He was pushing it to the limit, exhibiting good form and clearly able to outrun the field.  He reminded me of an elite salesperson - the top 6% - that start out fast in the morning, quickly get their calls made, get results from those calls, and then conduct effective sales calls, meetings and presentations.  These salespeople have consultative selling skills, make it look easy, and close the majority of their fully-qualified opportunities, crashing through goals and quotas.

What kind of salespeople/joggers populate your sales force?

Most sales organizations, regardless of size, lack enough #4s and that's not even the real problem.  The actual problem is that most sales leaders and their CEO's are OK with that!  They accept it as part of business.  Think about how many other sales problems must frustrate executives like that.  How many of those issues would go away if they hired better salespeople?

It's never too late to change perspectives.  It's never too late to start hiring the right salespeople.  Consider OMG's Sales Candidate Assessments.  Yesterday, I led a tour that discussed The Magic Behind OMG's Sales Candidate Assessment.  You can view the 20-minute presentation here.

It's never too late to learn about your existing salespeople either.  Wouldn't you like to know whether or not you have future #4s that simply need to be better trained and coached?  It's never too late to learn whether your #1s and #2s will never change.  And don't you want to know why, as a sales organization, you aren't finding and closing more business?

You need sales force intelligence.  Not intelligence that you get for your sales force, like Hoovers, but intelligence on your sales force, like Objective Management Group.  That's where a sales force evaluation comes in.  Can your underperformers be saved?  Can your performers improve?  Have you been selecting the right people?  How must that change?

evals

How can your salespeople more effectively find, convince, qualify and close more new business?  Your ability to impact sales through improvement and change is dependent on having the right answers to the right questions.  Objective Management Group asks and answers 19 critical business questions about your sales force to provide you with the needed intelligence on your sales force that leads to better decisions, increased sales and improved win-rates, sales cycles and selection.

Executives tend to be just like those joggers too.  Only a small percentage make use of the available intelligence to improve revenue generation and profit.  The rest make a lot of noise, vary between the status quo and constant change, and exert lots of wasted efforts for minimal gain.  Which type are you?

Image Copyright: bowie15 / 123RF Stock Photo

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales force evaluation, sales performance, sales candidate assessments, OMG Assessment, top sales performers, jogging,

All-Time Top Kurlan Sales Article

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Dec 20, 2012 @ 10:12 AM

sales force evaluation,sales test,dave kurlan,sales candidate assessments,OMG,sales assessements,sales hiring test,sales hiring assessment,objective managementAs promised for today, I'm revealing the single article, from among my former 999 blog articles which my readers voted "best", to be my 1,000th post.  It's not my personal favorite, it's not the most well-written, it's not the most viewed, it's not the most entertaining, it's not the most insightful or the most linked to.  But from among the 15 for which you could vote, this was your choice:

Exposed - Personality Tests Disguised as Sales Assessments

(originally posted on January 28, 2009) 

Yesterday, I met with a longtime client who, in his previous company, used OMG's assessments to identify what needed to change in order to double revenue from $30 million to $60 million.  In his new company, which is already about twelve times that size, he wants to double revenue again.  He said, "I just wasted two years with the _____ assessment."  The assessment to which he referred was a personality assessment marketed as a sales assessment.  He could have referred to any personality or behavioral styles assessment.

Many people are not going to like this article.  I'm about to expose the findings in personality-based and behavioral-based assessments which assessment companies have been marketing as sales assessments for the last dozen years.

First, you'll need to read this piece, Personality Assessments for Sales - The Definitive Case Study.  Really, you need to read it first!

There isn't a tremendous difference between personality assessments and behavioral styles assessments.  Popular behavioral styles assessments, like the various versions of DISC, produce findings along four dimensions (categories) while some personality assessments, like those using the PF16 as their underlying engine or instrument, can measure traits in as many as sixteen dimensions.

But personality assessments and behavioral  styles assessments are not predictive of sales performance.  They don't conduct predictive validity studies, as we do, because their assessments don't predict.  Instead, they conduct construct validity studies, which only show to what extent an assessment measures a specific trait and not necessarily the traits which you want to know about, but the traits which they can actually measure.

So here's the problem.  Their marketing material usually says something like, "Salespeople must be able to Prospect, Question, Manage Objections and Close.  They must have Product Knowledge.  They must be accountable, have drive, be self-starters and be coachable."  You read those words and say, "Yes, yes.  That is exactly what we need."  And the masquerade is on.

As I wrote in the other article, personality-based sales assessments don't really measure what you need to know.  Instead they report on what they can actually measure.  In the table below, I'll list some of the most common "findings" in personality and behavioral styles tests which are marketed as sales assessments, describe what is really being measured and compare that to what Objective Management Group (OMG) measures and reports.

Finding      
 Measures
 OMG Finding
What OMG Actually Measures
Drive or achievement
General need 
to achieve
Desire 
How important it is to achieve success in sales
Resilience 
General ability 
to cope with
adversity
Bravery 
The sales-specific scenarios which will be problematic and the individual's ability to handle them
Rejection  
How the individual
reacts to
not being accepted or
not having their
ideas accepted 
Difficulty Recovering from Rejection  
The impact that "getting hung up on" or "getting a no" will have when they close and how long it may take to recover
Emotions  
Emotional
steadiness 
Ability to Control Emotions 
The likelihood that, when a salesperson is caught off guard or in an uncomfortable situation, they will panic and lose control of the sales call
Sociable 
How comfortable
they feel and how
appropriately they
behave in social
situations  
Bonding and
Rapport   
How quickly they develop relationships with their prospects
Confidence 
Whether they
are a confident
person  
Record 
Collection 
The sales-specific beliefs which support or sabotage their sales outcomes 
Coachable  
Whether they
are open to new
ideas 
Trainable 
Whether they have the incentive to improve their sales competencies 

These are just some of the most common findings.  Since OMG's assessments are so sales-specific, there are literally dozens of findings covering everything which can possibly happen in sales including, but not limited to, prospecting, closing, qualifying, account management, farming, use of the sales process, ability to handle stalls, put-offs, objections and work remotely, growth potential, development needs and more.  What's most important to understand about assessments is that: 

  • The questions in the personality tests are asked in the context of social settings, not sales settings, so none of the findings are sales-specific.
  • Because the findings in personality assessments are not sales-specific, they're not predictive.
  • Personality assessments are generally one-size-fits-all, without regard to your market, its challenges, your competition, your pricing, the resistance which your salespeople will face, your compensation plan and how specific selling strengths and weaknesses will impact those conditions.
  • Assessments of your existing salespeople should be useful for development.  If you don't have sales-specific findings, you're only developing them as people, not salespeople.
  • How is OMG different?  Assessments are only a minor part of an effective sales force evaluation.  The most important part is to be able to learn:
    • What impact sales management is having on the salespeople.
    • Whether you've been hiring the right people.
    • Whether your sales force can execute your strategies.
    • Whether your systems and processes support the sales force.
    • Whether sales management is effective.
    • If you can develop more of a sales culture.
    • Whether the salespeople can make a transition such as account manager types to hunters and closers; presenters and quoters to consultative sales types; transactional sale to a solution sale; etc.
    • Who can be developed?
    • If you're attempting to downsize or rightsize the sales force, which individuals actually have the ability to help you do more with less?
    • How much better can they get?
    • What it will take?
    • What would be the ROI on development?
    • Why do you get the specific results which you get?
    • What is the quality of your pipeline?
    • Etc.
  • When used for hiring and selection, an assessment must be an accurate predictor of sales success for a particular sales role in your particular company, calling on your particular market, with its particular challenges and competition.  A personality assessment won't consistently identify the people who will succeed, while OMG's assessment, with its 95% Predictive Validity, will.  We can differentiate between Recommended (they meet our criteria and yours); Recommended - Ideal (they are recomended and they will ramp up more quickly than normal); and Recommended - Perfect (they are recommended ideal and they meet additional customized criteria which match up with your most effective producers).

In summary, whether you're using a personality assessment, behavioral styles assessment, psychological assessment, or psychometric (describes all of the above) assessment, it's the marketing that's sales-specific, not the findings.  Use them at your own risk.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales force evaluation, omg, objective management, sales assessements, sales hiring test, sales hiring assessment, sales candidate assessments, sales test

The Sales Longevity Webinar - Recorded on 8-25-10

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Aug 26, 2010 @ 07:08 AM

Sales LongevityI hosted a Webinar to introduce Objective Management Group's (OMG) newest innovation, The Sales Longevity Finding.  In a nutshell, Sales Longevity is the likelihood of being able to retain a particular sales candidate through ramp-up, break-even, and 5X ROI.  The attendees thought it was VERY cool! You can view the recorded webinar here.

For more information on Sales Longevity you can read some of my previous articles:

This is the first article where I began thinking about this concept.  The next article came after I mined our data. Then I wrote a White Paper which you can Request Here.  If you want to go back even further in time, here is an article I wrote in 2006 about Sales Hiring Efficiency, a cousin of Sales Longevity.

If you currently use OMG's Sales Candidate Assessments and wish to begin receiving this finding on your reports, you will need to log into your account (it's the link that looks like http://OMGQLink.com/AAAAAA) where AAAAAA is a series of letters representing your access code.  Do not use the link you provide to candidates!  When you log in, check the box in the yellow bar to see the new questions.  Answer questions 28-32, Save the Profile, and you'll begin receiving Longevity Findings when the finding becomes available on September 1.

If you don't currently use OMG to assess your sales candidates you can sign up for an account here.

Wider and Deeper we go, with Recommended, Recommended Ideal Ramp-Up Skills, Recommended Perfect, the Figure-It-Out-Factor, and the Sales Posturing Index being just some of our latest innovations.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales candidate assessments

Call Reluctance in Salespeople - Causes, Factors, and Predictors

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Apr 15, 2010 @ 17:04 PM

I can't believe all of the positive feedback you've sent relative to the new White Paper on Sales Longevity - The Science of Predicting Sales Turnover.  Thank you all so much.

Several of you asked questions about your salespeople who are failing, and whether it could have been predicted.

Objective Management Group (OMG) has always been able to accurately (to 95%) predict whether a salesperson would succeed and provide conditions for employment. Over the years, we've been able to fine tune our accuracy even more as we incorporated some additional non-sales factors that made strong salespeople poor candidates for a particular role or company.  Three of the most important, recent factors were:

  • whether a salesperson will succeed working in a remote territory, from their home, without direct supervision (this finding accounted for many of the strong salespeople who failed in earlier years)
  • whether a salesperson would succeed despite weak sales management (this finding accounted for most of the remaining strong salespeople who failed in earlier years)
  • whether a salesperson could ramp up quickly enough to satisfy management (some salespeople simply take longer to get it and now we can identify who they are)

While recommended salespeople who failed made up only 5% of the total (most accurate in the industry by far!), our goal has always been to completely eliminate failure from among recommended candidates, which brings us back to the White Paper.  Our new finding will predict the likelihood of being able to retain a strong, recommended candidate for as long as it takes to provide you with New Salesperson ROI (NSROI).  This is all explained in great detail in the White Paper.

Historically, when salespeople have failed, has most often been because of their inability to get appointments.  We are able to identify the three factors that indicate a call-reluctance problem - a malady that is career-threatening for salespeople who are expected to hunt.  I have identified one additional factor that causes call-reluctance that we don't currently identify - but will (are you paying attention Jim?). When a salesperson is an incredible perfectionist, prospecting activities such as cold calling, and even following up on leads, may be delayed.  You may be able to recognize the symptom - procrastination, but even the salespeople don't realize why are procrastinating.  Perfectionists won't do anything until they can do it perfectly and since they aren't able to make a perfect call they are waiting until they are confident that they can.  Of course, they'll be waiting indefinitely...

There is one more external factor that enables even a slightly reluctant salesperson.  Can anybody guess what that is?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, call reluctance, cold calling, predictive, accurate, sales candidate assessments, sales assessments

You Have an 82% Chance of Making a Hiring Mistake When...

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Sep 02, 2009 @ 21:09 PM

My guest on this week's episode of Meet the Sales Experts was Ken Edmundson.  We were talking about hiring when he he said that there is an 82% chance of making a hiring mistake when management does not know how their candidate is wired.  He said it's a mistake when they are fired, they quit, or they under achieve.  He went on to say that you can't hire without an interview and a background check and you can't hire by only doing those two things.  He named 4 things that cause these mistakes:

  1. they have the wrong DNA to do it
  2. they are not trained to do it
  3. they have personal issues
  4. they aren't a good fit for the culture.

Ken had a new example of number four that I can't even include in this article.  You'll have to listen to the show to hear this incredible explanation!  And when it comes to the DNA of salespeople, nobody does a better job of presenting you with their DNA than Objective Management Group.

Ken said that "when a sales manager says, 'what my salespeople do when they walk out the door is none of my business' means that we have a problem with the sales manager."

Ken had dozens of great tips and suggestions during our conversation.  Listen to the show for all of the rest!

You can click here to listen.  You can click here to contact Ken.

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales recruiting, sales assesments, hiring salespeople, sales evaluations, ken edmundson, sales candidate assessments

Subscribe via Email

View All 1,700 Articles

About Dave

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.

Email Dave

View Dave Kurlan's LinkedIn profile View Dave Kurlan's profile

Subscribe 

Receive new articles via email
Subscribe
 to the Blog on your Kindle 

 

 

Most Recent Articles

Awards

Vendor Neutral Certified 100 SalesTech Vendor Objective Management Group

Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame Inductee

MVP2018_badge_winner_SPC

Leaading Sales Consultants 2018

Top Sales Awards 2018 - Individual Blog -  Silver

Top Sales Awards 2018 - Article/Post -  Silver


Top Sales Awards 2018 - Assessment Tool -  Gold

 2016 Top Sales & Marketing Individual Blog - Bronze

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 -  Bronze - Thought Leader

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Podcast - Gold

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Webinar - Gold

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 - Bronze - eBook/White Paper

Top 50 Sales & Marketing Blog 2019

Dave Kurlan Top 50 Sales Influencer 2015

Sales Pro Insider Blog

Top 50 most innovative sales bloggers

Top100Strategic

Top100SalesInfluencersOnTwitter



Hubspot Top 25 Blogs

 

Free Tools

Sales Process Grader

Sales Candidate Assessment Free Trial

Sales Ghost Calculator

Sales Force Grader

Sales Hiring Mistake Calculator

FREE Recruiting Process Grader