New Data Reveals Interesting Differences in Salespeople's Ability to Work From Home

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jun 25, 2020 @ 10:06 AM

remote-worker

You wake up, the sky is blue, the sun is shining, you open the door and it's freezing cold outside.  Or there is the opposite of that, when there are thick clouds, it's drizzling, you open the door and it's hot and humid as hell!  Things aren't always what they appear to be.   

In early April, during the earlier stages of the virus-required lockdown, I wrote this article about some of the remote selling challenges that companies were experiencing.  Since then, things have improved, especially around the use of video.

However, things are far from perfect, especially around how suitable salespeople are for working from home.  John Pattison, COO of Objective Management Group (OMG), dug into OMG's remote seller data, and learned that similar to the weather, things aren't always what they appear to be.  The table below shows how this data changes according to sales experience.

Remote-Suitability-by-Years-1

As you can see, those with 20-24 years of experience are 32% more suitable for working from home in a sales role than those with 0-3 years of experience.  There are two possible reasons for this:

  1. Inexperienced salespeople need more direction and guidance and don't get it when they are working at home.
  2. Inexperienced salespeople are millennials and aren't as responsible as older and wiser salespeople.

Of course, the real reason may have nothing to do with experience or age, but more to do with the two most important things we measure for remote sellers:

  1. Ability to self-start
  2. Ability to work independently

However, even that can be called into question when we look at the data by geography.  While the differences aren't significant, there are variations by country.

For example, salespeople in North America are 35% more suitable for selling from home than salespeople in northern Europe (think Sweden, Denmark, Norway), !  How do you explain that?  Coincidence?  Hours of daylight in the summer can't keep them out of their swimming pools and off the golf courses?  

In the end, the score matters little but we absolutely must know the score.  Sales managers are the difference-makers when it comes to selling remotely.  If they are proactive and closely manage salespeople who aren't well-suited for it, those salespeople can still succeed working from home.

You should be hiring salespeople right now.  Job postings are getting 400 applications right now!  To find out whether your candidates can sell remotely and whether they will succeed in the role you are filling, use OMG's highly accurate, customizable and predictive sales-specific candidate assessment to help you select your ideal candidates.

Finally, OMG measures salespeople in 21 Sales Core Competencies.  See the competencies and the data here.

Image Copyright 123RF

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales competenices, sales best practices, sales hiring assessment, remote selling

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

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight 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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