Sales DNA describes a salesperson’s underlying strengths and weaknesses. Using athletic traits as an analogy, they are comparable to good hand-eye coordination, quickness off the line, acceleration, and balance.
A salesperson’s Buy Cycle (how a salesperson purchases), the time it takes for them to Recover From Rejection, and whether they Get Emotionally Involved when selling can significantly influence selling behavior and outcomes.
Sales candidates either can sell or will sell. The challenge is selecting the ones who will. Effective sales recruiting requires science, the right process, patience, and excellent interviewing skills. Unfortunately, many companies don’t approach sales recruiting holistically. The most common, first mistake comes in identifying what they’re seeking.
Science is critical to consistently hiring “Will Sell” salespeople. Recent data from the Objective Management Group sales candidate assessment and sales force evaluation identifies the following:
- 90% Have Unsustainable Pipelines,
- 83% Lack Written Personal Goals,
- 60% Make Excuses,
- 55% Lack Urgency,
- 45% Are Not Self-Starters, and
- 21% Have Consultative Selling Attributes.
Because prospects are more knowledgeable (due to the internet), increasingly skeptical, and empirically proven to contact salespeople much later in their buying process, hiring managers absolutely must identify a salesperson’s DNA and skill gaps very early in the recruiting process.
On Objective Management Group’s Sales Candidate Assessment Dashboard, Sales DNA is reported as a percentage. The difficulty of the sales position drives what the minimum required score is for Sales DNA. The candidate’s Sales DNA must correlate with the specific sales role for which they are best equipped. For instance, salespeople who must hunt require very different attributes to be successful than those who will manage accounts.
Benchmarking, while commonplace, universally misses one critical component. If you identify only those elements that your top salespeople have in common, the analysis is inherently flawed. For example, in one company, executives bragged that all of their top performers were highly motivated. That proved to be an irrelevant finding when we showed them that their bottom performers were also highly motivated. We were able to show them that while their bottom performers had difficulty recovering from rejection, their top performers were rejection proof. While both their top and bottom performers were committed to sales success, their top performers all scored more than 15 points higher for commitment than those of their underachieving peers.
Great data and science create a foundation for successful recruiting. A best practices, sales-specific, recruiting process, combined with practiced, honed interviewing skills, will increase your percentage of “Will Sell” salespeople.
Join me at the EcSELL Institute Fall Summit this October in Dallas for a lively, real world discussion about the science of sales recruiting and how you can learn to attract, screen, interview, hire and onboard great salespeople.