What Is the Makeup and Function of the Ideal Sales Force?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Dec 12, 2013 @ 12:12 PM

studyThe million dollar question.

So many studies are conducted - but only on large companies.

So many findings are published - but they don't apply to your company.

So many findings are discussed - but they don't address what to change.

I've written four White Papers over the last several years, all backed by science and data from the more than 700,000 salespeople and sales managers that Objective Management Group has evaluated and assessed.  They include:

  • The Science of Salesperson Selection
  • The Science of Sales Longevity
  • The Trust Project - Why Aren't Salespeople Trusted and Who are Trusted the Least?
  • The Challenger Style and Its Impact on Sales Selection

You can request a free download of the first 3 papers if you don't already have them.

My next White Paper will discuss the makeup and function of the ideal sales force.  To help with this paper, and to learn how closely companies have structured their sales force to the ideal, I am requesting your help.

You might be asking, so, what is the ideal?  I'll reveal that in the White Paper because to reveal it in advance of the study runs the risk of influencing your answers.

I invite you to participate in the study - a collection of 26 simple, but targeted questions that will provide us with the data we need to make this White Paper useful for everyone with a sales force.

If your company has salespeople, if you are in management, and if you care as much about sharing good information as you do about receiving good information, you should participate in this study.

Finally, this is an incredibly busy time of the year and there is a lot of information being pushed out by a lot of people, so it's very easy to miss some valuable content.  Here are links to some of the articles you might have missed since the Thanksgiving break:

Sales Traditions and Rituals - They're Not Just for December

10 Tips for Great Keynotes and Better Sales Presentations (includes bonus videos plus even more tips in the comments section)

Why Did the Move from Outside Sales to Inside Sales Take so Long?

What is the Most Difficult Part of the Sales Process?

Lost Sales, Deals and Accounts - Fairy Tales or Dragnet? 

Opinion - Why Sales Win Rates Have Reached an All-Time Low 

Study Says to Highlight 3 Features in a Sales Presentation (includes bonus video) 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales study, sales retention, ideal sales force, sales selection, objective management group

What Does Sales Longevity Really Mean?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Sep 09, 2011 @ 09:09 AM

Objective Management Group has included the Sales Longevity Finding for about a year and clients still ask, "What does it really mean?"

It's really 3 things:

  1. It calculates how long it will take each candidate to generate a 5x return on your combined investment in him/her;
  2. It predicts how likely it is that you can retain the candidate that long;
  3. It shows the areas that you can/can't control that will help you retain the candidate.
This is really powerful information.
Two of the factors you can't do much about are both counter intuitive.  Those are:
  1. Sales Quotient - A very strong salesperson with a sales quotient over 130 may not stick around as long because they are in high demand, getting calls from recruiters and frequently being lured to the next great opportunity.  Slightly less capable salespeople with Sales Quotients in the 115-130 range, tend to stay much longer.
  2. Figure it Out Factor - This is our finding for how quickly a candidate "gets it" and gets off to a fast start - short ramp-up time - right out of the starting gate.  Salespeople with high FIOF scores of 75-100 make a splash and then begin looking for their next challenge.  Salespeople with FIOF scores of between 50-75 don't ramp up quite as quickly, but will stick around longer!
Three of the factors that you can control that greatly influence longevity are:
  1. How Closely You  Manage the Salesperson - When you hire a strong salesperson you would like to think they can get the job done without much help from you.  But the data shows that the more closely you manage your salespeople - the LESS you leave them alone - the longer they will stick around!
  2. How You Pay your Salespeople - Good salespeople leave when they can't make enough money.  That happens when their income is capped by compensation that is heavily weighted toward salary with little opportunity to earn unlimited commissions.  Reverse the compensation (your ineffective salespeople will leave) plan so that it is more heavily weighted toward commission and your best salespeople will stay!
  3. The number of Years in Sales - This one is simple.  Only hire salespeople who have been in sales for at least 5 years.  They will stick around much longer than those who have a shorter career and are still trying to learn and find their way.
Do you have a better understanding of Longevity now?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales management, sales candidates, omg, sales retention, sales assessments

Sales Recruiting - How Long Can You Keep This New Salesperson?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Aug 19, 2010 @ 06:08 AM

longevityBack in April, I posted an article that was actually my third in a series on Sales Longevity - the science of predicting sales turnover.  In that article I provided a link to my latest White Paper on the subject and suggested that this new science would someday become a new feature in our already cutting edge Sales Candidate Assessments.  Well, that day is upon us.

First, we calculate Ramp-Up, Months to Break-Even and Months to 5xROI for each candidate based on some information we collect from you.  This number changes based on a candidate's own Ramp-Up Skills which we measure in a formula called Figure It Out Factor (FIOF).

Then we calculate the likelihood that you'll be able to retain a particular candidate for the months required to 5x ROI based on 5 additional factors:

  1. Your Sales Management Supervision
  2. Your Sales Compensation Method
  3. The Candidate's Years of Experience
  4. The Candidate's FIOF
  5. The Candidate's Sales Quotient

Just think about the implications of this!  You have a very strong candidate, highly recommended but the odds of keeping him around long enough to just break-even aren't very good.  Now what?

Or you have a candidate that you like, but not as strong as the previously mentioned candidate.  The odds of retaining her through 5xROI are terrific.  Do you hire her?

On Wednesday, August 25, I will host a Webinar at 1:30 PM ET, to unveil the new Longevity Findings in the Assessment.  I hope you can join me!  Click here to register for the Webinar.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, Sales Force, Sales Candidate, sales retention

Salesperson ROI - How Long Must They Stick to Pay Off? - Part 1

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Mar 04, 2010 @ 09:03 AM

Is there a connection between sales success and tenure?  Is it really a given that a successful salesperson will stick around longer than an unsuccessful salesperson?

There are other factors, like the compensation program.  Will an unsuccessful salesperson who is compensated mostly by salary stick around longer than a similarly unsuccessful salesperson who is compensated mostly by commission?

Does their role factor in?  Will an unsuccessful account manager hang around longer than an unsuccessful hunter?

How about sales management?  Will an unsuccessful salesperson who is either closely managed or pressured to perform, hang around longer than a similar salesperson who is not closely managed and not pressured to perform? 

Let's say you have a 12 month sales cycle and an 8 month learning curve.  Essentially, it will take nearly 2 years to get your new salesperson producing consistently.  In that 2 years, maybe you'll pay out close to $150,000 in subsidies. 

Using your average margin, how much revenue must be gemerated to offset that subsidy?

How much revenue much be generated to produce a satisfactory ROI?

How long must the salesperson stick around in order to produce that ROI?

If we can predict longevity, does that help you determine whether you will realize a ROI with a sales candidate? 

Objective Management Group has the raw data and plan to mine it to provide answers to these questions.  Look for my findings in the next several days in Part 2 of this installment. [UPDATE - Click here for the Top 5 Factors That Predict Sales Longevity]

In the mean time, what do you think? Can you identify any other possible variables?  


Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales motivation, sales turnover, sales retention, objective management group

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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 nine 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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