Learn How We Discovered They Had the Wrong Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Feb 01, 2016 @ 06:02 AM

cause-and-effect.jpg

Would you believe me if I told you that in a recent sales force evaluation, nearly 50% of the 300 inside salespeople were not in the right role?  Recently, we evaluated a large inside sales force and I thought it might be interesting to share some of the more unusual findings that were responsible for this sales team's inability to achieve the revenue goals that the company expected from them.It isn't uncommon to learn that salespeople are not in a role for which they are best suited, although it isn't as easy to determine in sales forces when there may be only one role - like territory sales.  On the other hand, when we evaluate a company with multiple selling roles, our analysis will identify the best role for each salesperson and, as I mentioned at the outset, most on this sales force were not in the right selling role!

This particular sales force was interesting in other ways too. 100% had strong Outlook (we never see that even in much smaller teams), 92% were Coachable and 82% had strong Desire.   As good as that sounds - and it is very good for a large sales force - 47% lacked Strong Commitment. I wrote an award-winning article about the difference between Desire and Commitment here.

Understanding the huge difference between their Desire and Commitment levels, it should not surprise you that the sales managers mirrored the salespeople with their Desire and Commitment scores.  You won't have any difficulty determining whose teams had most of the salespeople that lacked Commitment.

A big part of almost any inside sales role would require finding new customers and that was true with this company.  I'm going to share one of the most interesting findings from the evaluation. It is symptomatic of the Commitment problem and is one of the reasons as to why so few of their salespeople were in the right role.  In the image below, you'll see that there was a near-even distribution of the four groups into which we categorize salespeople when it comes to finding new business.  And in case you aren't sure, even distribution in this area is not good.

inside-sales-hunting.jpg

  • 21% will hunt for new business without being asked.
  • 30% would hunt for new business if their sales managers held them accountable.
  • 24% will follow up on a lead, but won't engage in proactive hunting.
  • 24% will not hunt, no matter what, ever.

Training and coaching will not change those percentages, but will improve the skills of the 51% that do or would hunt.  The percentages are reflective of their Sales DNA which, in this case, does not support hunting activities.  48% of them lack the Sales DNA which supports hunting for new business!  That explains a lot, doesn't it?  

This company had a well-known value proposition - you've undoubtedly heard it - but they recently changed it.  The image below shows that their salespeople  were generally not using either the old or the new value proposition in their selling!

inside-sales-value-prop.jpgI know we haven't mentioned a single sales competency or selling skill, but suffice to say that this sales force was extremely weak in the area of skills.  So weak, it isn't even worth sharing the scores for competencies like Consultative Selling, Qualifying, Presenting, Posturing, Account Management, Sales Process, Relationship Building, CRM Savvy, Social Selling, etc.  Instead, let's look at one of the findings that explains why this group was not improving.  In the image below, you'll see that Excuse Makers outnumbered those who take responsibility and the sales managers were even worse than the salespeople.  I'm sure you can guess whose teams most of the excuse makers were on...

inside-excuses.jpg

Here is a link to a very short article and video where I explain the huge impact of excuse making.

I'll share one more of the many interesting findings from this evaluation.  Notice from the image below that despite the fact that this company positions itself as providing value, most of the salespeople are not comfortable with their pricing.  The majority believe that they must have the lowest prices in order to succeed.  The sales force is out of alignment with the company's value proposition!!  Here is a great article that describes how quoting prices undermines selling value.inside-pricing.jpg

These examples are just 5 out of dozens of interesting findings that we shared with their executives.  Without learning about these issues, they would have continued going down the wrong path and expanded the sales team's general ineffectiveness.  Read about the impact of scaling sucky sales.  

What about your sales force?  Do you have the right salespeople in the right roles?  Are your salespeople actually capable of executing your plan?  Can they provide the growth that you need them to achieve?  There are two ways to find out.  The first is to wait 12 more months and measure results against expectations. How has that worked out in the past?

The second way is to evaluate your sales force and learn how their capabilities align with your goals, expectations and timeline to discover what, if anything, needs to change.  Learn more about a sales force evaluation here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales force evaluation, Sales Force, inside sales, sales effectiveness study, new business, OMG Assessment

Surprising Social Selling Secret Drives Sales Revenue

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Nov 05, 2014 @ 06:11 AM

Social-Selling-Secret

Today I learned that an article I wrote back in November of 2013, Increase in Social Selling Yields No Increase in KPI's, was named Top Sales Article of the Month for October 2014 by Top Sales World.  While I'm always honored to win awards for my Blog, this time around I don't really deserve it. The findings in my November 2013 article were correct based on what I knew in 2013, but based on what I know to be true today, it is no longer accurate.  If you've been reading my Blog, then you are probably aware of OMG's big Sales Force Effectiveness Study that we've been working on for the past three months.  One of the things we studied is the impact of Social Selling. At face value, one might come to the exact same conclusion as we did in 2013, that it's having limited impact on sales.  However, this time we looked wider and deeper and beyond the obvious and we were extremely surprised by what we found.  We discovered that

companies are experiencing tremendous sales results with Social Selling, but not because of Social Selling.  We found the same thing to be true of Inbound Marketing/Sales.  Companies are experiencing tremendous results with Inbound Marketing/Sales but not because of Inbound Marketing/Sales.  The report will be released next week and I don't want to spoil the fun but I will share one snippet.

One of the many differentiators between the companies succeeding with Social Selling and/or Inbound Marketing/Sales, and those that aren't might surprise you.  Companies that are succeeding with Social Selling and/or Inbound have shorter sales cycles, higher win-rates, and significant increases in sales when...

wait for it...scroll down...

 

...scroll further...

 

...scroll some more...

 

...the CEO is involved, committed, and driving best practices throughout the sales organization.  Companies are twice as likely to experience this kind of success when the CEO is part of this picture.

Look for insights like these and dozens more when we release our study on November 11.  Want to be notified?  Just subscribe to the Blog  and/or follow OMG on Twitter.

 

Topics: sales competencies, Dave Kurlan, Inbound Marketing, sales effectiveness study, social selling

How Significant is the Migration to Inside Sales?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Sep 17, 2014 @ 06:09 AM

Sales Leadership Intensive

Last week, I led our annual Sales Leadership intensive and hosted the best group of sales leaders to ever attend the event.  Chad Burmeister, who is well known throughout the inside sales community, was one of the attendees.  At one of the lunch breaks, he was talking about the customers his company, Connect and Sell, helps.  He commented that most of them are inside sales organizations.  Chad thought that we would have data to demonstrate the transition to inside sales over the past several years.

I began by reviewing my personal clients at Kurlan & Associates and compared them with clients from several years ago.  Sure enough, the numbers were amazing.

As recently as 5 years ago, only 20% of my personal clients were inside sales forces.  Today, that has increased by 150%.  Half of my own training, coaching and consulting clients are inside sales forces!  I investigated further and looked at the many other Kurlan clients who work with the rest of my team and learned that 73% of those clients are inside sales forces.  

Next, I reviewed around 250 of the newest Objective Management Group (OMG) accounts for sales candidate assessments and discovered that 42% of the open positions are for inside sales roles.  That number is quite different from the percentage I found with Kurlan clients and even though 42% is significantly greater than five years ago, I wanted to learn more about why there was such a disparity between the Kurlan versus OMG percentages.  

I dug deeper and learned that the likelihood of an account being for an outside sales role was in direct proportion to the number of years that our OMG Parter/Sales Expert has been with OMG.  That's code for how old the OMG partner is!  Sure enough, most of the older, longtime OMG Partners are still most comfortable doing business with, or positioning themselves with companies that have traditional outside sales forces.  When I looked at the recent accounts represented by newer and younger OMG Partners, 75% of them were for inside sales roles - much more consistent with what I found when I looked at the distribution of Kurlan clients. 

Who knew?

Chad knew.  Way to go, Chad!

What do these number mean for you?

Last year I wrote about the Great Migration to Inside Sales.  The article highlights eight scenarios that help you determine whether or not making that move is right for your company.

I wrote about the move to inside sales again in December and asked why the migration took so long to occur?  That article explains the various inside roles and makes a better case for migration winning out over the status quo.

SALES EFFECTIVENESS STUDY

OMG is working on a major sales effectiveness study that looks not only at traditional sales effectiveness, but also inside, inbound and social selling effectiveness.  The study must be inclusive and not just for huge companies and that's why I need your help.  I would be so appreciative if you would take 5 minutes from your busy day to provide your anonymous data.  No names, no emails, no follow-up.  Although it's an easy survey to take, it's crucial that we produce this unbiased study.  Won't you please help me?


The September, Week 4 Issue of Top Sales Magazine is available 
here.  And the brochure for the 2014-2015 Top Sales Academy is available here.  On October 8, I'll be leading the session on How to Master the Art of Coaching Salespeople

Salesforce.com's blog posted an article of mine that asks whether or not you can turn customer service reps into salespeople.  If you have CSR's, then you must read this article.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, inside sales, sales effectiveness study, Top Sales World, objective management group, salesforce.com, chad burmeister, connect and sell

Ultimate Comparison of Top Salespeople versus Salespeople That Fail

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Dec 07, 2009 @ 21:12 PM

If you've been following this Blog you know I sometimes refer to the elite 5% of salespeople, the next 20% and the bottom 74%.  After reading Super Freakonomics I was moved to take a new look at our data on the more than 400,000 salespeople we have assessed.  Behavioral scientists would look at our data on the top 5% and report on some common findings.  It might look like this: 

Top Salespeople have the following common characteristics:

They enjoy selling

They prospect consistently

They have a strong Outlook

Of course, there are many more but, the problem I always have with these studies is that they don't look at the characteristics of the salespeople who are failing.  Would you be surprised to know that the bottom 5% have these characteristics too?  Well, they do.  A more interesting comparison would be to look at the characteristics where the biggest differences are:

 Top 5%

 Trait

 Bottom 5%

 99.5%

 Trainable and Coachable

 0%

 100%

 Strong Desire for Sales Success

 0%

 95%

 Strong Commitment to Sales Success

 33%

 94%

 No Excuse Making

 20%

 78%

 Don't Need Approval from Prospects

 6%

 59%

 Don't Get Emotional

 10%

 98%

 Comfortable Talking Personal Finances

 2%

 79%

 Supportive Sales Beliefs

 0%

 76%

 Supportive Buying Habits

 8%

 74 pts.

 Average Severity of 5 Biggest Weaknesses

 251 pts.

 95%

 Rejection Proof

 18%

 100%

 Have Personal Written Goals

 16%

 95%

 High Money Tolerance (choking point)

 35%

 88%

 Make Decisions to Buy without Thinking it Over

 18%

 77%

 % of the Attributes of a Hunter

 31%

 45%

 % of the Attributes of a Closer

 8%

 59%

 % of the Attributes of a Qualifier

 11%

Wow, right?

And you wonder why I make such a big deal out of the difference between personality and behavioral styles assessments as compared with our assessments.  You don't have to look much further than the impact of getting Desire wrong.  If the personality and behavioral styles assessments can't measure Desire for Success in Sales, they can't report on it.  They measure Drive (all the successful people in your company have it but they don't all belong in sales) but market it as a sales finding.

There is a huge difference between the top and bottom performers but any individual finding is meaningless unless it is considered as part of the whole, and in the context of what the salesperson will be selling, who they'll be selling it to, the anticipated resistance, and the expected competition.

Despite the huge gap between the top and bottom groups, even the top group of salespeople falter in these areas:

only 50% are Motivated to earn more money - but that's because most of them have made so much already!

only 29% of them have a sales process they follow - that just reinforces what I've been writing about lately.  The lack of formal sales processes in companies is just astounding!

as you saw from the data above, they only average 45% of the attributes of the closer skill set.  That just places more importance on the earlier stages of the sales process and reinforces what I so often say.  If you slow down between 1st and 2nd base, the sales process will accelerate and closing will take care of itself.

only 34% of them are effective getting high enough in the company.  They aren't a whole lot better in this area than their weak counterparts who get to top decision makers a whopping 20% of the time.

only 43% of them are consistently uncovering the real budget so you know they are wasting some time as a result of that.

here's a shocker - despite the fact that 90% of them prospect consistently (although we don't define what consistent is), only 55% of them have the desire to do it, so they force themselves.  The bottom 5%?  10% more, or 65% have the desire to prospect consistently, but 8% fewer, or 82% actually prospect consistently.

Now that you've seen the data comparing the top and bottom salespeople in the world, what jumps out at you?

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

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Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, Sales Force, comparison of top salespeople, sales study, sales effectiveness study, sales analysis, sales effectiveness

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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