Great Example of Why Sales Success Is Not Always Transferable

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Apr 24, 2018 @ 09:04 AM

experience

Would a NFL Quarterback make a good MLB pitcher?  Would a star MLB hitter be a great Pro Golfer?  Would an all-star NBA Center be an effective Lacrosse player?

Right now, an event is occurring on the world stage that shows, in a very persuasive way, why success in sales isn't always transferrable from one company, industry or role to another.

For example, a startup storage technology company hired all the salespeople they could get from the most well-known and well-respected company in their space.  The leadership team expected that these experienced and credible salespeople would leverage the new company's great new technology and cause sales to take off like a rocket for Storageville (made up name).  It didn't happen.

Another company hired a Sales VP from a well-known Fortune 1000 company and believed that his experience would make it easy for him to build a top-performing sales organization like the one he ran at Fortuneville (made up name).  It didn't happen.

These two examples aren't exceptions to the rule.  They are the rule.  But the rule to what?  I'll explain the context for the rule and explain the event that serves as such a great example.

In our first example, a start-up - that means UNDERDOG - hired salespeople from the #1 company in their space.  The problem with salespeople who work for the biggest and best companies in the world is that they don't have to be very good salespeople.  They don't encounter much resistance because they rarely face opposition to a first meeting and often have the red carpet rolled out for them when they arrive.  They don't actually need to sell because buying from them is the safe decision and buyers don't get fired for choosing #1.  And they don't need to sell value because their company's deep pockets allow them to discount and "buy" market share.  When those salespeople move over to the startup they quickly find themselves overmatched for what they are about to encounter.  Suddenly, prospects don't want to schedule meetings, are very resistant, believe there is tremendous risk in trying something new, and won't commit to anything.  The salespeople, never having faced this level of resistance before, don't really know how to overcome or manage it and they quickly fail in a very big way.

In our second example, the hotshot VP arrives with much fanfare but quickly learns that while expectations are great, resources are scarce and he has one fewer layer of management between him and his team.  He is not a roll up your sleeves kind of guy and hasn't actually performed the kind of coaching that this sales team requires to help them overcome the resistance that he never had to face.  While the average tenure of a Sales VP is around 18 months, he's gone after just 10 and the company is back to the drawing board.

And then, the biggest and most obvious example of all.  An individual who successfully ran a huge enterprise unexpectedly changed industries, roles and organizations.  He was the sole decision maker at his previous company but now he has a much larger and empowered leadership team and can no longer make the decisions without support from others. He trusted his family to the most important leadership roles at his prior company but he has struggled to hire and retain leaders that are aligned with his vision in the new organization.  Everyone in his prior company was on the same team and supported and executed the business plan. In the new organization, there are those who seek to undermine his authority, goals and plan, and he has enemies and opponents actually working for him.   

Only time will tell whether this person achieves the same level of success as President of the United States or he goes up in flames and fails to complete his term in Governmentville (made up name).  But make no mistake about it.  On the public stage for all to see is the greatest example of how success in one company or industry does not necessarily translate to success in another.  The challenges are different, the resources are different and the levels of resistance vary most of all.

The next time you decide to hire, my 3 rules of thumb will make your experience simpler and more successful:

  1. Target candidates who have already done what you need them to do.  If you are an UNDERDOG then find someone who has already done exactly what you need for another UNDERDOG.
  2. Only you can determine whether or not you like someone well enough for them to join your team.  Use OMG to help you select those who will succeed in a sales, sales management or sales leadership candidates at your company.  It's been the most accurate and predictive sales specific assessment on the planet for 7 consecutive years.
  3. Assess immediately after candidates complete an online application.  Use the assessment's recommendations to determine who you will invest time interviewing.  The worst thing you can do is fall in love with a candidate who later turns out to be not recommended.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Donald Trump, sales success, sales assessments, predictive, hiring salespeople

The One Sales Data Point That Varies Wildly

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jun 13, 2016 @ 06:06 AM

jobs-quote.jpg

In my last article, we discussed big data and big lies in the sales assessment space and touched on OMG's 230,000,000 data points.  Most of the data points are very consistent across cultures and continents, but there is one that varies wildly depending on the role, the country, and the culture.

One of the many OMG findings is "Enjoys Selling."  Recently, we performed an analysis of those salespeople who had Strong Desire and Strong Commitment toward sales success, but who did not Enjoy Selling and were not Motivated.  It is a very rare combination - we see it in only 1 in 400 salespeople - except in countries, cultures and companies where the emphasis is on hiring entry-level salespeople.  Then, the rate of occurrence can be as high as 1 in 200.  Still rare, but twice as likely to occur.  To put this in context, fewer than 5% of salespeople don't enjoy selling, and fewer than 5% aren't motivated.  But only 1 in 400 have both of these as weaknesses, yet still have both strong Desire and Commitment.  Who are these salespeople?  How can they be committed and have strong desire, but not enjoy it or be motivated? Intrigued?

I don't have a scientific answer for this question, but I do have some possibilities.

Some feel obligated to sell.  They are in a family business and they are part of the family.  They feel obligated to a parent, grandparent, spouse, uncle, aunt or in-law.

Some are selling for the first time and they want to succeed - at whatever they do. They are pushing through - not because they enjoy selling and feel motivated to sell - because they have a need to get their careers off to a good start.

Some are aging career salespeople and need to succeed because they are nearing retirement.  They no longer enjoy selling and no longer feel motivated to sell, but they are pushing through out of necessity.

So if this anomaly represents such a small percentage of salespeople, why did I bother to write about it?

Because you might have one of these people working for or applying for a job one day and you should understand the hidden factors that will have an affect on their results.

According to recent Gallop research, there is a 20% improvement in sales when companies select the right salespeople.  OMG can help you select the right salespeople with the most accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment and the one that has been named the Top Sales Candidate Assessment for 5 consecutive years.

The Tenfold Blog quoted 20 Business and Sales Leaders on what they believe is the #1 Trait of Superstar Salespeople.  It's very difficult to narrow selling down to 1 trait, but 20 of us did exactly that and you can see what we all had to say.  As a reader of this blog, I don't believe that you will be able to agree with half of the 20 quotes!  Compare that with this article on the 10 Differences Between Sales Winners and Losers.

Finally, the list of the Top Sales Books for Summer Reading was released and you can get that here.  Yes, my best-seller, Baseline Selling is on the list again.  When I wrote this article on Sunday evening, it was sitting at #13 on the list of best-selling sales books on Amazon.com despite being published 11 years ago! 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales selection, sales success, gallop

What Committed Salespeople Do Differently

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 @ 13:04 PM

Commitment_Continuum_arrow_w_title

Commitment Continuum is a trademark of the Jansen Sports Leadership Center and the image is from their website.

This week we found ourselves sitting in camp chairs, bundled up in warm coats, wearing winter gloves and covered in blankets, to watch our son play on his Middle School baseball team.  The only thing this team could win is the Bad News Bears Look-Alike Contest.  He also plays on a very talented travel team, so this school game was not only awful to watch, it was doubly awful because of the winter weather.  Yes, there was snow in the air.  We will attend nearly every single 1 of the 100 games he will play for 5 teams this year.  Many people would say that...

  • We aren't required to go (some parents drop-off.)
  • He doesn't ask us to watch (he's very independent.)
  • We don't have to attend as many as we do (half would be more than most parents.)
  • It is rarely convenient (some games are at 3:30 PM.)
  • Games are rarely played in beautiful weather (too hot in July and August, too cold in April, and too wet or humid the rest of the time).
  • There is rarely comfortable seating (thus the not quite as uncomfortable camp chairs).
  • There are other things we need to do.
  • Double Headers on Saturdays and Sundays take up most of the weekend.
  • School games and Little League games on the same day take up most of the afternoon and evening.
  • It's baseball - a slow, boring game for those who don't know the game within the game.

So why do we do this?

Commitment.  We have discussed commitment a LOT in this Blog recently because many people misunderstand the role it plays in successful selling.  Read any of these articles for more on commitment.

So let me help.  We are committed to doing whatever it takes to give our son whatever he needs in order to thrive.  With his talent in this sport, baseball is one of the opportunities we provide him with and doing whatever it takes to watch him play is one of the unconditional commitments we make.  Speaking of baseball, check out these new visual statistics being provided by MLB.  Does it get you thinking about the additional things you could measure in sales?  How about the additional things that we can measure?

In sales, most salespeople, especially the bottom 74%, don't do whatever it takes to succeed.  For example, if the company, quota, expectations and goals were your child, and you had similar values for your son or daughter, would you:

  • Postpone filling your pipeline?
  • Give up when you finally get a decision-maker on the phone because the prospect is too difficult to convert?
  • Not advocate for yourself when faced with tough competition, a tougher prospect, or objections?
  • Not thoroughly qualify an opportunity the way you would qualify the friends your son or daughter hangs out with or a trip they might take?
  • Not challenge a prospect when their thinking or strategy isn't quite what it could or should be?
  • Not talk about money because it's uncomfortable?
  • Not point out, defend and brag about the value the way you would brag about your children?
  • Not do whatever it takes to get a closable opportunity closed?

But that is exactly what the majority of salespeople are doing.  They half-sell.  They aren't thorough, or effective, or efficient, or memorable, or resilient, or tenacious, or assertive, because they aren't comfortable doing those things.  Because they don't equate those things as being the business equivalent of their own children, for whom they would do whatever it takes.  Especially if it's uncomfortable.  Whatever it takes. That's what commitment is.  It's not work ethic-silly.   Anyone can put in long hours.  It's about doing all of the necessary things despite being uncomfortable.  Whatever it takes.  I found the trademarked image at the top of this article from Jansen Sports Leadership Center.

Jonathan Farrington interviewed me for the cover feature in this week's edition of Top Sales Magazine.   The topic is the importance of getting sales selection right.

Coincidentally, the latest edition of Top Sales Academy is also out this week with me presenting, How  to Coach Salespeople Like a Pro and it's free, available on demand, and really useful.  Are you a committed sales leader or sales manager?   One of the things you must do is get better at coaching.  So what are you waiting for?

 

 

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales commitment, Baseball, sales success

Motivating Your Sales Team - Secrets to Success

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Sep 09, 2013 @ 08:09 AM

My first post-vacation post is a collection of announcements that have been sitting in my note-taking app, inbox, and calendar.  So, in no particular order:

I was named as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2013.

This blog was named as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Blogs for 2013.

I will be hosting our renowned Fall Sales Leadership Intensive in Boston November 14-15.  When it comes to mastering the art of sales coaching, you won't find a better program than this one!

Check out with PayPal and choose Bill Me Later. Subject to credit approval. See Terms.

 

I'll be back with some more thoughts on sales leadership later this week.

 

Topics: sales success, sales motivation, sales management, Dave Kurlan, lorman

What the Huge Patriots Win Teaches us About Sales Momentum

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Nov 26, 2012 @ 12:11 PM

pats beat jetsPerhaps you watched the Thursday night Thanksgiving Day football massacre between the New York Jets and the New England Patriots.  The Patriots scored 35 unanswered points in the second period and scored 3 touchdowns in one 52-second period of time.

Unbelievable!

Incredible!

Unheard of!

The more common reaction though is, "How quickly it all unraveled for the Jets."  We heard more of that than, "How quickly it all came together for the Patriots."  That's because humans love talking about people when they are down.  Why talk about how fortunate the Patriots are when we can talk about how unfortunate the Jets are?

Let's focus on fortune for a moment.  If you were watching that football game, it was completely uneventful up until those three quick scores.  It went from uneventful to explosive in just 52 seconds.  The same fortune can be realized by a salesperson, sales team or company, even when it seems that none is forthcoming. That's the point of today's post.  Sales and revenue can materialize very quickly. Momomentum - both good and bad - as in the football game, can build very quickly as well and success is all about building positive momentum.

So, what does it take for sudden sales, monumental momentum and ridiculous revenue? 

Consistency.  You must be consistent - about holding your salespeople accountable for consistently adding the right number of opportunities to the pipeline, moving those opportunities through the stages of the pipeline, following the steps of your sales process, qualifying , and providing both needs and cost appropriate solutions.

The wins (which can come suddenly) build positive momentum and lead to championship years.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, grow sales, sales growth, sales revenue, closing more sales, sales success

Is a Lost Sale Better for Salespeople Than a Win?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Sun, Sep 16, 2012 @ 23:09 PM

winnersIn the past decade, Boston's sports teams have won a number of championships.  The two which excited me the most were the Red Sox' 2004 World Series victory and the Patriots' 2001 Super Bowl win.  When I reminisced about those long-awaited championships, I was surprised at how little time I spent savoring those wins, compared with how much time I spent mourning the huge losses.  I was on cloud nine the day after the big wins, but speechless, depressed and generally miserable for weeks after the big losses - especially the 1986 World Series loss to the Mets and the 2003 Playoff loss to the Yankees.

As always, this got me thinking about sales and whether the same reactions to wins and losses in sports held true for wins and losses in selling.  There is a huge difference between sports and selling:

  1. We are not spectators in sales, we are participating!  
  2. There is money at stake for salespeople, much different than when we root for our team (unless there is gambling taking place).
  3. We have some control over the selling outcome.

Does personal participation, a financial stake or being in control change how we feel about the selling outcomes?

I analyzed some of my own biggest wins and losses from the past 5 years and realized that the wins only provided me with satisfaction.  That's it you ask?  Yes, that's it.  Satisfaction.  There were no celebrations, champagne, ice cream or pats on my own back.  On the other hand, when I identified the losses (they were harder to locate), I remembered that more than anything else they made me angry.  So the losses in sales, just like in sports, evoked a greater emotional response from me than the wins.

So, which is better?  I believe it depends on the individual.  For most of us, wins build confidence, momentum and lead to greater success.  For others, losses make us better because unlike the wins, they force us to debrief, replay the entire process including each meeting, every conversation, follow-up, time lines, commitments and missed opportunities.  

When a baseball team wins the World Series, fans aren't thinking about how the team could improve to have a better chance at winning next year.  But when they lose, fans do think about potential trades, free agent signings and promising rookies who could come along to make the team better next year.

When salespeople are required to debrief after a loss, a call which didn't go as planned, a meeting which didn't have the desired outcome, or there was no decision, they improve and reduce the chance of a similar outcome.  I believe losses are more powerful than wins.  What do you think and what is your personal experience?

Topics: sales blog, sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Coaching, lost sales analysis, red sox, Patriots, sales debrief, sales success

The #1 Top Key to Keeping Salespeople Motivated Revealed Here

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Sun, May 06, 2012 @ 23:05 PM

Old JalopyOver the years, you have worked with many salespeople and oftentimes their success, or lack thereof, didn't correlate as much to their skills as it did to their Desire or Motivation for sales success.  Desire is how badly one wants to succeed, and Motivation is what drives them to success.  I've written many articles about Sales Motivation, but let's take a slightly different path today.

What is actually behind sales motivation?

I'll skip over intrinsic motivation (pride, mastery, satisfaction, recognition, love of the work) and go straight to extrinsic motivation (awards, rewards, money, trips, spiffs, bonuses) and specifically, money motivation.

Money-motivated salespeople are the easiest to understand and it's relatively easy to get them to perform.  But are money-motivated salespeople always what they appear to be?

I conducted an informal analysis of the dozens of salespeople, who I have known really well over the past three decades, and when I whittled them down to the ten most successful salespeople I have ever known, a factor which I had not previously considered came into play.  

All ten appear to be very money-motivated, but money-motivation was the effect, not the cause.  In these cases, it was their spouses who drove their motivation for money!  That's right.  Whether they were earning $100,000 or $1,000,000 annually, whether they had one home or more, whether they had 2 cars or more, their spouses were never quite finished with homes, decorating, landscaping, boats, vacations, parties, cars, philanthropy, wardrobes, private schools, summer camps, swimming pools, theater, restaurants and country clubs.  Their spouses were so good at maintaining the pressure on these salespeople that their sales managers never had to.

You can't legally ask about marital status during an interview, but you can ask about what a salesperson is working toward - their purpose - what they need to earn and how they would use those earnings.  If you happen to learn about a very ambitious spouse, who wants more and more of what they already have, urge the candidate to talk more about it.  If their spouse turns out to be someone who does for a salesperson what pressure does for water and what wind does for a sail, you may have found exactly what you may not have been looking!

Think about your most successful and unsuccessful salespeople.

Do the ambitious spouses play a role in the success of your best people?

Do your struggling salespeople have spouses who are not as ambitious, who don't pressure them enough to make a difference?

We would love to hear your experiences!  Please comment on this subject.

 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales motivation, sales drive, sales desire, sales success

The New Way To Train and Develop Salespeople - Does it Work?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, May 02, 2011 @ 05:05 AM

There are many ways in which our training delivery model has changed over the years.  These changes include:

Old Way - New Way

The impact of these changes is that salespeople receive less information, less often, but focus more, for a longer period of time, on each important component of the sales process.  The net result is that they reach their potential and generate more revenue more quickly than in the past.  One hour - one topic - one thing to practice - two weeks to practice it.

Simple.  Effective.  It works.   So the formula is LESS, LESS OFTEN = MORE, MORE QUICKLY.

Objective Management Group (OMG) is holding its annual, international Partner's Conference at the Sheraton Boston.  The conference began on April 30 and ends today, May 2.  The hotel is part of the Starwood Hotel chain and they are practicing a similar model.  I've experienced it first hand with the food and internet access. 

With the banquet food, it is clearly give them less (not enough to food in the buffet platters to feed everyone), less often (don't refill the platters in the buffet line and maybe the people in line will give up), more frequently (at every meal) and get more (profit that is).  Same formula. LESS, LESS OFTEN = MORE, MORE OFTEN.  But there is one exception.  The people won't return!  

As a guest in the hotel, we pay $9.95 per day for internet access in our room, which isn't very unusual.  However, as a presenter at my own conference, rather than simply grant me access to the wirless internet as value added, they provided two options.  $360 for single-user hard wired access, or $60 for single-user wireless acces.  There's that formula again!  LESS, LESS OFTEN = MORE, MORE OFTEN with the same result as with the food.  People won't return!

Here's a twist on the formula.  In this case, it's a hybrid.  It's LESS, MORE OFTEN = MORE, MORE OFTEN.

The upcoming Top Sales World Sales & Marketing Success Conference supports this model.  5 Days - 5 Presentations Per Day.  Each presentation is a single topic.  Each presentation is just 30 minutes.  Each presentation is just $5.00 and supports the Japanese relief effort.

I'll be kicking off day 3. Following are the scheduled presentations for Wednesday, May 12.  All times are ET.  Register for some, register for all.

Shaping Your Environment - The Key to Sales Coaching Success
Presented at: 12:00 - 12:30 EASTERN
by Dave Kurlan
CEO of OMG, and CEO of Kurlan & Associates, Inc
http://topsalesworld.com/salesConference/sessionDetails.php?c_session_id=23


Presentation Success; how to build and deliver presentations that get heard and get results 
Presented at: 12:45 - 1:15 EASTERN
by Debbie Fay 
CEO of Bespeak
http://topsalesworld.com/salesConference/sessionDetails.php?c_session_id=15

 

Unleash The Focus Factor: The #1 Factor for Personal and Professional Success
Presented at: 1:30 - 2:00 EASTERN
by Steven Rosen
http://topsalesworld.com/salesConference/sessionDetails.php?c_session_id=16

 

7 Habits of Highly Effective (Social) Salespeople
Presented at: 2:15 - 2:45 EASTERN
by Craig Rosenberg
Leader, Focus Expert Network at Focus
http://topsalesworld.com/salesConference/sessionDetails.php?c_session_id=18

 

Why Most Messages Fail (And What You Can Do To Succeed)
Presented at: 3:00 - 3:30 EASTERN
by Tom Hakel
CEO of GoldMail
http://topsalesworld.com/salesConference/sessionDetails.php?c_session_id=19

 

Successfully Unlocking the Social Network to Close Deals 
Presented at: 3:45 - 4:15 EASTERN
by John Golab
Head of Enterprise Business at Xobni
http://topsalesworld.com/salesConference/sessionDetails.php?c_session_id=20

 

Success is A Continuum
Presented at: 4:30 - 5:00 EASTERN
by Jonathan London
President of the Improved Performance Group
http://topsalesworld.com/salesConference/sessionDetails.php?c_session_id=5 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales conference, sales workshop, sales webinar, sales success

The Science of Achievement Applied to Sales Success

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Nov 29, 2010 @ 09:11 AM

outliersI finally read Malcolm Gladwell's great book, Outliers: The Story of Success, where he relates the histories of some wildly successful and unsuccessful stars and common folk, and the underlying reasons for their achievements.

He concludes that while they were all talented, it wasn't the talent alone that made them successful as much as it was the opportunities of timing, parenting, location and the time and desire to practice and perfect their various skills.  He showed how intelligence only mattered up to a point, and only if it was practical intelligence; people skills,  problem solving skills, and the ability to advocate for one's self.

As powerful as all that was, there was one paragraph that stood out for me.  Regardless of their career path, those who were THE MOST SUCCESSFUL had two things in common:

  1. 10,000 hours of "practice"
  2. 10 years to perfect their skills.

The 10,000 hours/10 years discovery is not a surprise to me.  If I think back to the many sports and business biographies I read over the years, the subjects share as a common theme this single minded focus on that one thing they loved to do more than anything and the days, weeks and months that were consumed in the pursuit of perfecting their craft.  I have always suggested that it took about 750 hours of practice to become effective at selling - to learn, understand, internalize, own and apply the teachings of sales.  But that only gets you to the top 26%.  To become the best of the best, 10,000 hours and 10 years sounds about right.  It was certainly the case for me, and most of the great salespeople I know today.  At 10,000 hours you don't have to think about it - at all - and you can recognize anything and everything that is taking place around you and properly respond to it.

Many salespeople have been in sales for ten plus years and aren't the best of the best.  They're not even in the top 26%.  I will use science to explain this.  If we go back and look at Objective Management Group's data on the 500,000 salespeople that have been assessed so far, we find that 22% are not trainable (no incentive to change) and another 10% shouldn't even be in sales.  So that leaves 42% unaccounted for.  What about them? I dug through the data and found that:

24% have been in sales for less than 5 years. 

21 % have been in sales for between 5-9 years. 

Of the 55% that have been in sales for at least 10 years, only 20% are in the top 26%.  That means 80% of the ten year group, despite their 10,000 hours, have not become remarkable.  The data shows that they have not been an example of sales best practices for their time in sales.  Their weaknesses and skill gaps are well documented and certainly part of the problem. Here are ten possible explanations for why that is so:

  1. lack of commitment to sales success
  2. they didn't practice (the rule, not the exception)
  3. lack of training (especially in small businesses)
  4. low expectations
  5. lack of single minded pursuit of sales excellence
  6. not exposed to best practices, including having a formal, structured sales process
  7. lack of accountability (less than 15%  of sales managers hold salespeople accountable)
  8. didn't work where there was a strong sales culture (very common)
  9. ineffective sales coaching (84% of sales managers just plain suck!)
  10. not aware that the world of selling has changed so dramatically in the past 5 years

 

How many of your salespeople are consumed in the pursuit of perfecting their sales effectiveness and what have you done about it? How many of these steps have you taken to develop a sales force with more of the top 26% and fewer of the bottom 74%?

  • evaluated the sales force
  • created a formal, structured, best practices sales process
  • developed a best-practices sales recruiting process
  • created a staged, criteria based pipeline
  • developed metrics to keep the pipeline filled, moving and drive revenue
  • close the skill gaps
  • overcome the weaknesses
  • develop sales management's ability to coach and hold salespeople accountable
  • use of sales 2.0 tools
  • ongoing sales training
  • update the compensation plan
  • use of incentives
  • update selection criteria
  • improve ability to on board new salespeople

These are just some of the areas in which your salespeople, systems and processes can be improved rather than simply hoping that everyone will know what they're supposed to do and get it done.

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales force evaluation, sales management, sales achievement, sales selection, sales success

Top 10 Reasons Why Sales Commitment Has Become More Important

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jun 15, 2010 @ 06:06 AM

commitmentAs the primary researcher and analyst for Objective Management Group, I drive many of the enhancements, features and new product ideas for our industry leading, world-class sales force evaluations and sales candidate assessments.  Today, we are very close to introducing some very powerful, new features to most of our assessments and while some will provide exciting new insights for clients, one is a fundamental change from our 1989 roots.

From the beginning, the two most important findings have been the amount of Desire for Sales (or sales management) success and the Commitment to do what it takes to achieve Sales (or sales management) success.  Desire, or how badly they wanted it, was always the more important of the two and together, they formed the most important part of Incentive to Change or Trainable.

My recent analysis has shown that today, Commitment has overtaken Desire in importance and we will be reflecting that in assessments very shortly.  But Why?  What has caused this fundamental shift?

A comparison of selling today with selling over the past 20 years shows that selling is significantly more challenging today than ever before.  Let's take a look at 10 of the factors that explain this shift in difficulty:

  1. more competition for less business
  2. more difficult to reach decision makers
  3. prospects are much more educated when they meet with salespeople
  4. selling has become more sophisticated but salespeople have not kept up
  5. there is more resistance than ever before
  6. prospects are generally more skeptical
  7. prospects are placing more pressure on price  
  8. companies are pressuring salespeople to sell value
  9. there is more pressure to perform without effective coaching to support it
  10. thanks to the recession, there is less money available to spend

There are certainly more reasons and I encourage you to suggest them in the comments below.

Commitment to Sales Success has become the single most important factor in determining what a salesperson can become. When it comes to sales candidates, it is the most important factor in our ability to predict success at a particular company, in their market, and with their set of challenges.  Please don't misunderstand.  It is not the only factor and there are dozens of other factors that contribute to various degrees. But more and more, when we see salespeople who are struggling, failing to achieve and not adapting and changing, they often lack the commitment necessary for sales success.  There are other reasons too, but Commitment is usually right there.  I can't tell you how we measure Commitment, but I can tell you that when salespeople don't measure up, their sales won't go up either.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales recruiting, sales management, Sales Force, Sales Candidate, sales force evaluations, sales assessments, sales success

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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 and this one for 2017. Read more about Dave.

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