The 5 Biggest Sales Hiring Mistakes and the Top 5 Resume Claims That are Fake

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Oct 10, 2017 @ 06:10 AM

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Image Copyright iStock Photos

I always enjoy reading articles that expose things I don't know about topics I enjoy, like 7 Unsung Built-in Gems in Mac OS X. I had the opportunity to provide that kind of training to a dozen or so sales leaders on some of the less obvious findings and relationships in Objective Management Group's (OMG) Sales Candidate Assessments and how to use them. We also discussed which of the 21 Sales Core Competencies that we measure were pertinent to their different sales roles and why.  One of the regional sales managers asked, "What are the 5 Biggest Mistakes that Sales Managers Make When Recruiting Salespeople?"

While that question is quite easy to answer, most companies, including their recruiters, HR professionals, sales leaders and executives are guilty of some or all of the following 5 mistakes:

  1. Their job posting fails.  Most sales job postings all read the same.  Great job, great company, great opportunity, great benefits, blah, blah, blah.  And even if you are using the most accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment on the planet, it won't help at all if your job posting lures the wrong candidates into the pool.  Describe the candidate along with the experiences you hope they had and the capabilities they must have to succeed in your role.
  2. They wait too long to assess their candidates.  If you wait to assess until after you have interviewed, you won't embrace the findings and recommendation on the assessment unless they support how you feel about the candidate.  If you already fell in love with the candidate and the assessment says "Not Recommended" and you ignore the recommendation it will lead to a hiring mistake.  Assess every candidate immediately after you receive their online application or resume and then you won't  accidentally ignore a candidate whose resume suggests a bad fit but whose assessment scores suggest a very capable salesperson for the role.
  3. They don't properly on board.  They say, "We're using the best assessment and the salesperson was recommended so she should know what to do."  Wrong.  Every new salesperson deserves proper on boarding so that you can prepare them for success instead of setting them up for failure.
  4. They don't thoroughly interview the candidate.  It doesn't have to be a long interview but it needs to be thorough.  You need to dig deep behind every resume claim to separate fact from fiction.  Here are the top 5 examples of claims that sound great but actually turn out to be bogus when you learn about the all important context (in parentheses) for the claim:
    1. Top salesperson  (out of 2)
    2. President's Club (for all salespeople who hit 75% of quota)
    3. Grew annual sales in territory by 200% (from $40,000 to $120,000)
    4. Doubled size of the territory in the first year (closed one big deal that was in the pipeline when he arrived)
    5. Uses words like developed, initiated, led, created, or built in reference to sales programs (did not actually sell anything).
  5. They don't set expectations, coach to those expectations and hold the salesperson accountable for achieving those expectations in the first 90 days.

These five mistakes are easy to correct and then companies will experience far greater success and consistency with their new sales hires.  In most cases, the only thing preventing companies from making these changes is the self-limiting belief that "we've always done it this way."

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales candidates, sales selection, sales assessments, OMG Assessment

Can Preventing Hiring Bias Benefit the Sales Hiring Process?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Aug 21, 2017 @ 18:08 PM

hiring-bias.jpgImage Copyright iStock Images

Sometimes things which at first sound really good turn out to be not all that great.  Take the recent eclipse for example - can you say overrated?  Much ado about nothing?

Ken Leeser, a regular reader, suggested that I check out this article on eliminating bias from hiring.  That sounded like it would be a really good thing until I considered this.

You're hiring and you need to identify the ideal salesperson for a particular sales role and you need someone to sell enterprise solutions to the C-Suite.  Aside from all of the other requirements, you'll need to find someone who has done this before.  But if you don't have access to employment history, you have no idea what they've sold and who they've sold it to so you can't determine if they have done this before.  And since you won't be able to guess how old they might be you won't know if they are mature enough to call on the C-Suite.  In order to be efficient in your selection process you'll need to apply some hiring bias!

How about if you need to identify candidates to sell nylon stockings to convenience stores, supermarkets and department stores.  Ideally, you would probably prefer a woman for this role but if names are hidden to prevent hiring bias, you might find yourself wasting a lot of time interviewing older men.  In order to be efficient in your selection process you'll need to apply some hiring bias!

How about if you need to identify candidates for a BDR/SDR top of the funnel role?  In this case you would probably not care whether your candidates were male or female but since most of the people in these roles are recent college graduates, you would want to see how recently they graduated from college.  But if that information is hidden to prevent hiring bias, you might find yourself wasting a lot of time interviewing experienced salespeople who would have no interest in a role like this.

What if you need to identify candidates to sell rock crushers or some other heavy duty equipment that requires physical strength to push, pull or drag the equipment around at demos?  In this case you would probably prefer to hire a younger male who is in excellent physical condition.  Not being able to view prior employment and having experience hidden to prevent hiring bias would make it impossible to identify people who might fit the description of what you would need, causing you to waste everyone's time.

What if you need to identify a salesperson who is physically located in the territory you need represented?  An address, hidden to prevent hiring bias, would prevent you from filtering on the appropriate candidates, causing you and your candidates to waste a tremendous amount of time.

The concept of preventing hiring bias is a good one but when it comes to hiring salespeople I have bias against it.

At the same time, if this is where the world is heading, it's another great reason to use Objective Management Group's (OMG) predictive sales candidate assessments.  Using these up front early in the recruiting process allows you to identify those who will succeed in the given role, eliminating a tremendous amount of the time you would otherwise be wasting.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales candidates, hiring salespeople, sales assessments, hiring bias

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Science of Sales Selection vs. the Marketing of Modern Selling

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Aug 14, 2015 @ 07:08 AM

Today I received this email from an OMG (Objective Management Group) Partner after he asked me to run an analysis on a company's top and bottom performers.

He wrote, "After all these years, this is still amazing to me. Thanks Dave, my conversation is Monday and we are getting next steps in place.  Appreciate the help."

So why is that such a big deal?

This is someone who has been an OMG Partner for nearly two decades, is one of OMG's most successful partners, and knows our accuracy and sales-specific findings inside and out.  And he was still surprised at just how accurate the analysis was.  Check out the detailed and revealing graphic below!

 

I started with more than 100 sales-specific findings and narrowed them down to the 18 findings and scores that clearly differentiated their tops from their bottoms.  A mistake made by behavioral scientists and sellers of personality and behavioral styles assessments is that they only look at top performers and identify common traits.   They fail to realize that the bottom performers have the same personality traits and behavioral styles as the top performers and none of those traits or styles are predictive of sales performance.

In this company, the bottom performers scored just as well as the top performers on some sales-specific findings.  To accurately identify salespeople that are totally perfect for a role, we must understand the differences between both groups, not the commonalities within one group.

The salespeople in the top 7 rows are their top performers and the salespeople in the bottom 9 rows are their bottom performers.  After I identified the findings, scores and cutoffs that we would use, I color-coded them so that you could clearly see the differences - a sea of green on top and a sea of red on the bottom.

Next, in the last column on the right, I calculated the percentage criteria that each salesperson met and set the cutoff to 67%.  

Using these criteria, we would have recommended 6 of their 7 top performers and only 1 of their 9 bottom performers.  We would have been correct on 14 out of 16, or 88% which comes within a few percentage points of our usual predictive accuracy of 92%.

This is scientific sales selection.  It's a necessary part of an overall scientific approach to sales and the sales force.

What drives me crazy are the marketing people who are writing about sales despite their complete lack of understanding about B2B sales.  They spin their messages to get business executives to think that the only thing that matters today is social selling, email, inbound marketing, and content. They hope that if they make inbound marketing sound easy enough by providing their tools and applications then businesses will buy their services and hire them.  For instance, today I read that we no longer need sales process (untrue), a consultative approach to selling is dead (untrue), and all sales forces need to be completely restructured (generally untrue).  That's just today!  And in the past 2 months, I have read that salespeople are now obsolete (untrue), prospects have completed 57% of their buying process before they meet with salespeople (the number is inaccurate) and people are no longer buying value (untrue).

There is no science backing up these claims, just a group of inbound marketers and an inside sales industry trying to convince you that sales today is is only about inbound and inside.  It is true that low-price, low-cost, high-demand commodities that everyone wants - think B2C and subscriptions - are being sold almost exclusively via online marketing. But even some of those companies, like Hubspot, the King of Inbound, have large inside sales forces following a structured sales process and taking a consultative approach.

I've said this before, but it should be repeated.  If you are not the price leader, market leader, or brand leader;  if you have a new product, new technology, or a story to tell; if you have a long sales cycle, provide custom products, or have a design cycle; or if you are the underdog; you need salespeople, you need a custom, formal, structured, milestone-centric, customer-focused sales process, a consultative approach and skills that salespeople who came 10 years before you didn't have.  It's a fact.  And you can't let Inbound Marketers, Social Sellers or Inside Sales gurus tell you otherwise.  Don't get me wrong.  There is a place for inbound, social selling and inside sales in all of these companies.  They are complimentary pieces, not replacements.  After all, you wouldn't replace a Quarterback with a Kicker - the Kicker is an important complimentary piece to a football team.  

 

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, sales process, sales candidates, inside sales, inbound, sales hiring test, social selling, objective management group

How to Finally Get Sales Selection Right

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jun 16, 2015 @ 13:06 PM

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Before I share some crucial sales selection tips, I need to begin with some baseball. My apologies to all of my cricket and soccer obsessed readers.

My team, the Boston Red Sox, just lost their seventh consecutive game. They are in last place and heading for their third last place finish in the past four years. The outlier year was 2013, when they won the World Series. I think there was far less talent on that championship team than on this year's edition, but the 2013 team had a rallying cry (Boston Strong) and everyone overachieved. You can't count on everyone overachieving each year, so in lieu of that, as Jim Collins would say, you must have the right people in the right seats. 

When it comes to sales selection, sales leaders regularly make the same mistake that Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington has made for the last 4 years. Ben is the architect of these 3H (helpless, hapless and hopeless) Red Sox teams. Ben continues to select players who have succeeded in the easier National League, who struggle to compete in the more challenging American League. He also promotes minor leaguers before they are ready. Similarly, companies hire salespeople who have succeeded for other companies, in other industries, in other roles, against different competition, with other price points, calling on different decision makers, with longer and shorter sales cycles. They even hire salespeople away from their competitors, believing that their customers will follow. Well, how has that worked out for you?

Here's an example:    Yesterday, I received an email from an OMG Client in the Middle East wondering why a candidate was not recommended. The email said:

I would like you input on this attached folder, this guy has a great file, why he is not selected and was not hirable?  I need to understand what are the criteria of selection for an account manager?  

I wrote back:

The custom role specification for an account manager was used on this candidate and as you can see on page 3, it requires a candidate to meet at least 70% of the criteria for an account manager.  Your candidate met only 65% of the criteria and possesses only 40% of the account manager skill set.  He is much better suited for a hunter role where he has 100% of the hunter competency.

Most Sales leaders believe that if a salesperson has had any success, or good references, or even a good score on OMG's Sales Candidate Assessment, they should be chosen. But nothing could be further from the truth. Every role, in every company, calling into every vertical and decision maker, selling against every competitor and at every price point, with varying degrees of resistance, is different.

You wouldn't hire a hunter to manage existing accounts any more than you would hire an account manager to hunt. But that's what sales leaders and HR professionals do - every minute of every day - when they aren't using anything more than a resume and experience as a predictor of future performance.

It reminds me of the time when I was on a boat with Dennis Connelly, a senior sales strategist at my company. I can't remember whether the lights weren't functioning or there just weren't any running lights, but I do remember that darkness had replaced light. He needed to navigate back to the slip in the harbor, but there were hundreds of boats to steer clear of and all he had was a flashlight! At that point, you need an awful lot of luck to succeed.

For the most part, that's what sales leaders rely on each time they select a salesperson. "Let's hope that this one works out!" How many 3M's (mishires, mistakes and mishaps) does it take before a sales leader or an HR professional realizes that the way they hire salespeople just doesn't lead to consistent success?

But it doesn't need to be that way. Not when there is a highly predictive, customizable, sales selection tool that consistently gets it right. Not when it's sales-specific and has science on its side.  Not when it's so affordable that it's a no-brainer to use.

92% of the recommended candidates, who are hired with this tool, rise to the top half of the sales force within one year. 75% of the candidates who are not recommended by this tool, but who somehow get hired anyway, fail within 6 months. The tool is insanely accurate.  

It's all about sales selection. You can learn more about OMG's Sales Candidate Assessments right here.

I stand behind it. 10,000 companies use it. It works! Isn't it time for you to finally get sales selection right?

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales candidates, Baseball, sales selection, objective management group, Boston Red Sox

Why You Must Hire Salespeople Right Now

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jun 04, 2015 @ 17:06 PM

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Forbes conducted a survey of Fortune 500 CEO's and 82% of them said they would be hiring more people within 2 years.  Why should that be important to you?  

To answer that question, let's talk about your KPI's, or Key Performance Indicators.  The reason KPI's are more important than all of your other metrics is because they are, or should be, forward-looking indicators, rather than lagging indicators.  In the consulting and training work that I have done over the past 30 years, I have always viewed the Fortune 500 and their respective strategies as another set of KPI's.  We all remember the economic crash that hit in November of 2008.  But two years earlier, I was training salespeople that sold to Fortune 500's when, all of a sudden, out of the blue, this unexpected feedback began coming to me.

Many salespeople began reporting that there were major delays getting purchase orders on business that had already closed, all the result of spending freezes. In September of 2006, more than 2 years before the collapse actually occurred, I wrote this article about Selling in the Upcoming Recession. The behavior of the Fortune 500, two years prior to the collapse, was a major leading indicator.

When I hear that 82% of the Fortune 500 CEOs are planning to hire more people, I sense confidence, expansion, revenue growth and the need for increased capacity at all levels. And if companies are planning to grow, then that sure as heck shouldn't be limited to the Fortune 500.  

If you want to grow along with the Fortune 500, you'll need to hire salespeople. I know. You don't need any, there aren't any good ones out there, the last 11 times you tried, they failed, and it's too risky. I've heard all of the excuses. So let's dissect them one by one.

You've struggled to hire good salespeople - That means you keep doing the same thing, stupid, and getting the same results.  You need a better sales recruiting process and a very predictive sales selection tool.

Your territories are full - Is that like when the bases are full? You need a heavy hitter to come to the plate and clear the bases. In other words, any time a great salesperson comes along, you should hire that individual and find a spot, especially when it allows you to jettison an underperformer.  How do you know it's a great salesperson? Don't forget that very predictive sales selection tool!

There aren't any good salespeople out there - I don't know if I would agree that there aren't ANY, but there are certainly a lot fewer good salespeople who are actively looking. So what can you do? With a good sales recruiting process, you'll learn to write a job posting that attracts those who are out there, and find the passive job seekers too.

It's not the right time - it's too risky -  It is never risky to hire a good salesperson. Even the worst of the good salespeople bring you something, certainly enough to to pay for themselves. But good salespeople are not expenses.  They are investments, profit centers, and your economic engine! How do you mitigate the risk? You should know the answer if you've been paying attention. Objective Management Group's (OMG) accurate and predictive Sales Candidate Assessments! You can learn more and/or subscribe here.

Let's be like birds and take advantage of the lift they get when they fly behind the lead bird. Let the Fortune 500 lead the way so that we can get behind them and have an easier time of it.

Hire some good salespeople now and let the growth begin!

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales candidates, hiring salespeople, sales test, predictive sales test, fortune 500

What to Do About the Short Supply of Sales Candidates

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Feb 23, 2015 @ 09:02 AM

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Image Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

I don't know if this is an issue where you live but lately, where we live, grocery stores no longer sell yellow bananas!  Their entire stock is green and green ones taste bitter.  Is it the weather?  Supply and demand?  A new strategy?  Do the stores pay less when they're green?

If you've been hiring, you may have noticed the exact same thing happening with salespeople!  There aren't many ripe salespeople but there seem to be plenty of green ones.  When you have assessed, screened and interviewed a salesperson and you say to yourself, "This salesperson is exactly what we are looking for - SWEET!"  That would be yellow.  Green would represent either lack of sales experience or lack of experience in the desired selling environments.

So if green is the new yellow, what can you do?When it comes to my morning protein shake, I can add a couple of dates or some peanut butter to sweeten the shake.    When it comes to sales selection, the options aren't quite so simple.

Are the salespeople you need to hire out there?  Yes.

Are they flocking to you in droves?  No.

Do you know how to find them?  Can you get them to find you?

There are ten steps that we take when we are doing the recruiting on behalf of our clients.  We also teach our clients these steps when we are training and/or consulting with them on how to hire more effectively.  And we spend two days working with them to build this process and master the interviewing skills required to nail sales selection every single time:

  1. You absolutely must specify the requirements for the role.  A job description won't be of much help.  Instead, you must identify what makes the role challenging and the specific sales skills and Sales DNA required for success.
  2. You must write a killer job posting.  Describing the opportunity and the company won't help.  Instead, you must be able to describe your ideal candidate and the specific experiences in which they have experienced success.  You must also get the relationship between compensation and requirements just right.  Ask for too much but pay too little?  You'll see very few quality candidates. 
  3. You must use the best job sites.  Monster and CareerBuilder are so yesterday.  Indeed and Craigslist produce candidates, and if you aren't looking for a candidate in a specific geography, LinkedIn can work great!  If you aren't receiving the desired flow of candidates, you can increase your pay-per-click amount on Indeed or use their database of resumes and find the candidates you want to invite to your process.
  4. You must have candidates complete an online job application.  Ideally, this should be part of an online applicant tracking system.  This legitimizes the job and helps to distinguish it from all of the business opportunities, B2C/retail and multi-level marketing opportunities being posted.  We like New-Hire.
  5. Your candidates must complete a sales-specific candidate assessment.  This should be customized for the role, be predicitive of on-the-job success (predictive validity) and be built specifically for sales - not modified from an existing behavioral styles or personality assessment.  We not only like, but we are Objective Management Group (OMG).  Free Sample. Request a Free Trial.
  6. A quick 3-minute phone interview comes next.  Call only those candidates who, on the OMG assessment, were either recommended or worthy of consideration.  Make sure they sound great and have the required experience you need.
  7. Next you should interview your top scoring candidates.  These should be 30-45 minute interviews and the goals are to:
    • make sure they own what they have claimed on their resume,
    • make sure that their self-presentation is top-notch,
    • observe how the findings on their sales candidate assessment come to life,
    • challenge them and observe how they respond, and
    • audition them for the position.
  8. At this point, and only at this point, can you narrow down the candidates using the criteria of whether or not you like them.
  9. Bring the top candidates back for a final interview and if you want to hire them, now is the time to sell them on your company, the opportunity and their future with you.
  10. All that's left is on-boarding and if you get this wrong, you'll have wasted 9 great sales recruiting steps!  Don't set them up for failure, prepare them for success. Check out this guide to on-boarding salespeople.

There may be a lot of green bananas and sales candidates, but if you know how to shop, you'll get yellow everytime.  If you have followed the steps correctly, you won't need a huge flow of candidates, you'll simply need to get the right candidates into the pool.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales candidates, sales selection, predictive sales assessments, OMG Assessment, finding good salespeople

Will You Be Able to Recruit Good Salespeople in 2015?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Dec 15, 2014 @ 06:12 AM

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Copyright: oakozhan / 123RF Stock Photo

Do you know when your car is not running properly?  It's usually quite obvious.  Lighting is very obvious too.  How about your home theater?  You probably won't know about a problem with that until after a component has stopped working.  Do you have a really good way to determine whether your sales recruiting process works the way it should and will work going into next year?  How can you determine whether your job postings are effective?  How do you know if you are getting enough candidates?  How do you know if the best candidates are making it to the interview stage?  How can you tell if you are about to make a hiring mistake?

Occasionally, my sales development firm conducts a turnkey search for a crucial sales, sales management or sales leadership role.  Usually, this occurs when the client lacks either the bandwidth, expertise, or desire and absolutely, positively cannot afford to get this particular hire wrong.

Last week, we completed two such projects where we were looking for salespeople that were absolute needles in the haystack.   This 2-minute video has my take on what constitutes "needle in the haystack" criteria.

Below, you can see a breakdown of candidates for each company and how they converted along the way.

Company NY Company CT Company
Views (all sources) 2959 624
Resumes (all sources) 243 71
Applications 101 20
Assessments 71 12
Recommended or Worthy 31 7
Phone Interviews 20 5
Face to Face Interviews 10 4
Recommended to Client 5 3
Hired 2 2
Time from Start to Finish 16 Weeks Less Than 30 Days

 

Which project was more successful?  Was it the NY company where we identified 5 candidates that met their needle in the haystack criteria, or the CT company where we only identified 3?  Was it the NY company where we took 101 applications or the CT company where we took only 20?  Was it the CT company where it took less than 30 days, or the NY company that really did their due diligence and took 16 weeks?  Was it a tie because both companies got two great salespeople?

Determining winners and losers is dependent on roles and expectations.

From Objective Management Group's (OMG) perspective - both companies had licenses for unlimited sales candidate assessments, so it was a tie.

From Kurlan & Associates' perspective, getting the CT company completed in less than 30 days was more profitable and less labor intensive than what was required to complete the NY company.  However, the time and labor must be measured against the context of fees.

From the client's perspective, the CT company was the winner because we were able to exceed their expectations on the timeline.

From the perspective of the job sites, they won big on the NY company because they were paid for views and got 4 times as many.

If it had taken as long for us to complete the hiring for the CT company as it had for the NY company, the numbers, multiplied by 4, would have been very similar to the numbers of the NY company.

There are a few interesting side notes to this exercise.  We teach most clients how to do what we do instead of doing it for them.  In those cases, they are responsible for sourcing candidates, and typically, if a company had received only 20 applications, 12 assessments with only 7 passing the assessment, they would call to complain about a lack of candidates.  And if a company had received 101 applications and only 5 of the candidates that passed the test met their needle in the haystack criteria, they would be calling to complain about the quality of the candidates.

That's the thing about getting selection right.  The only thing that matters is that you have the patience to wait for the right candidates to appear, the ability (aided by tools) to recognize those candidates, and in the end, the ability to convince those candidates to join you.  The numbers and ratios are just that - numbers and ratios.  It's about getting the right candidates into the pipeline, not getting lots of candidates into the pipeline.

Of the candidates that viewed the postings, why did such a relatively small number send their resumes?  Because we wrote the ads in such a way that most of the readers knew that they did not fit the criteria for who we were looking for.

Why did fewer than half of the candidates complete applications?  Does the answer really matter?  All you need to know about the candidates that didn't complete them is that they didn't follow through.  Why did a third of the candidates that completed the application fail to take the assessment?  Again, who cares?  It's yet one more way in which we can disqualify those candidates that need to be filtered out.  Could we have lost out on some good candidates who decided not to complete applications and assessments?  That depends on what you consider good.  If those same candidates won't complete call reports, use CRM, attend huddles and meetings, follow through, or do things your way, then no, we didn't miss out on anybody.

I believe that there will continue to be a shortage of good candidates through the first three quarters of 2015.  You can counter the effects of a candidate shortage by getting some help, using good tools or having experts do the work for you.  Would you like to use the accurate, predictive sales candidate assessment that we use and recommend?  Click here for a free trial.

 

Sales Candidate Assessment Free Trial

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales candidates, sales selection, objective management group

Why My Golfing May be Just Like Your Sales Recruiting

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 @ 07:10 AM

golfing

Image Copyright: deklofenak / 123RF Stock Photo

On the rare occasion that I have the opportunity to golf, it doesn't matter what I choose for clubs, balls, gloves, tees or clothing.  At this point in my life and very short golfing career, just being out with a friend is good enough for me and if we count his strokes, and my lost balls, our final scores might even be competitive!

That's how some companies recruit salespeople.  It doesn't matter who they are, where they come from, if they have selling skills, and whether or not they have any experience.  These companies treat sales recruiting like the instructions on their shampoo bottle - they rinse and repeat.  

This approach is a self-fulfilling prophecy which, because of their willingness to accept anyone who will take the job, is guaranteed to fail. Nearly every recruit will fail quickly and they will find themselves restarting the recruiting process again a short while later.

When it comes to finding and selecting new salespeople, you can choose the easy path and have consistently poor outcomes, or take the more challenging path and have consistently good outcomes.

When you look at it that way - easy gets you bad and difficult gets you good - there isn't much reason for continuing to do it the easy way.  Of course, if you have always done it that way you may not be willing to change...

What makes the difficult way so difficult?

You'll need a lot more of the right candidates, and a few great tools to help with selection.  

One client, hiring for an inbound sales role, assessed nearly 1,000 candidates in the past 12 months and that was just the beginning!  

Another client needed to identify a needle in a haystack.  They needed an extremely capable salesperson that could sell big deals to the C-suite of enterprise size companies AND the winning candidates would also need to have highly evolved technical skills.  Nearly 200 candidates were assessed for that role.

A third client assessed around 250 sales candidates for an inside sales role while a fourth client assessed more than 2,000 candidates for a traditional outside sales role.

Each of these clients saved huge amounts of time by doing the following 10 things:

  1. They assessed first and asked questions later.
  2. They used a very accurate, sales-specific assessment that is incredibly predictive of success in a sales role.
  3. They did not look at the resumes or contact any candidate that was not recommended by the assessment.
  4. They used online applicant tracking for candidates to collect experience-based information to further filter which candidates would be contacted.
  5. They interviewed the recommended candidates with the right experiences by phone for 5 minutes.
  6. They scheduled face-to-face interviews with the best of those candidates and only then ran their normal recruiting processes.
  7. They selected, hired and on-boarded great salespeople.
  8. They coached, directed and guided these great salespeople, holding them accountable to appropriate KPI's from day 1.
  9. They significantly reduced turnover, increased ramp-up time and exceeded goals for sales revenue.
  10. They did not have to start the recruiting process again.

This was all made possible by the use of one, very customizable, very useful and accurate sales candidate assessment.  It works for every sales role.  It works in every industry.  It will work for you too.  If you would like to take a test drive, click the image below for a free trial!

Sales Candidate Assessment Free Trial

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales recruiting, sales candidates, sales selection, sales assessments, OMG Assessment

Top 4 Reasons a Great Salesperson Can Fail at Your Company

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

dave_video_clip

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


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

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

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

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

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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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