The Science of Developing Salespeople - Data Makes The Difference

Posted by Chris Mott on Mon, Aug 27, 2018 @ 19:08 PM

pipeline

Objective Management Group has tested 1.8M salespeople since 1988. Of this, 6% are elite and 11% are strong. The remaining 33% who assess in the top-half represent the majority of most companies’ salespeople. Not surprisingly, half of the salespeople in the bottom lack good development potential, meaning they are not highly motivated to improve.

 Applying this data to a sales force of ten, two are strong, three are in the middle, two plus are weak, and two plus are very weak. Most CEO and Sales Executives agree with this breakdown.

This means the best salespeople (most return) to develop are the five in the middle. 

On the sales side there are four primary obstacles to accomplishing this:

  1. Poor Sales DNA
  2. Excuse Making
  3. Weak Selling Competencies 
  4. Low Figure It Out Factor.

For sales managers, the limitations are:

  1. Ineffective coaching,
  2. Not enough time spent developing salespeople,
  3. Ineffective sales process,
  4. Lack of holding salespeople accountable
  5. Impatience

                 The table below shows where you should focus the development for people on the bottom.

Skill / Conceptual Obstacle

Top Three Salespeople

Bottom Two Salespeople

Difference Between the Top and Bottom

Follows Sales Process

59%

39%

20%

CRM Savvy

48%

32%

16%

Reached Decision Makers

48%

29%

19%

Qualifier Competency

62%

42%

20%

Consultative Seller Competency

52%

34%

18%

Has No Need for Approval

52%

18%

34%

Able to Control Emotions

45%

24%

21%

Comfortable Talking About Money

47%

15%

32%

                 This table compares the remaining three salespeople to the strong group.

Skill / Conceptual Obstacle

Two Strong

Top Three

Diff Top/Bot

Follows Sales Process

66%

59%

17%

CRM Savvy

63%

48%

15%

Reached Decision Makers

58%

48%

10%

Qualifier Competency

73%

62%

11%

Consultative Seller

64%

52%

12%

Has No Need for Approval

74%

52%

22%

Able to Control Emotions

61%

45%

16%

Comfortable Talking About $

77%

47%

30%

Improving people’s adherence to a well-designed milestone-based sales process is strongly correlated with positive development outcomes. Weaker salespeople need both skill development and coaching to overcome their DNA gaps while stronger salespeople benefit most from continuing to overcome their DNA challenges.

Additionally, the development effort required to move someone from the bottom to the middle is different from moving someone from the middle to the strong category. Sales managers need to be flexible and patience enough to accomplish this.

While the notion of coaching salespeople differently is not new, using accurate time-tested data to help achieve this makes a huge difference in the results.

Consider the following reasons why starting with science is crucial.

  • Managers usually know what their salespeople’s gaps are but not why they exist
  • Mastering a new skill is easier when salespeople also fix their DNA challenges
  • Good data focuses development in the right areas
  • Makes it easier to improve time allocation for development
  • There are more high-return conversations
  • Talking about the underlying issues can increase trust and value

Sales Managers can more easily coach their salespeople up with data.  If you want to know more about your salespeople click here.

Topics: sales data, 21 sales core competencies, improving your sales team, How should I coach?, qualities of great salespeople, coaching culture

CEO’s Limit Execution of International Sales Teams

Posted by Chris Mott on Thu, Dec 05, 2013 @ 07:12 AM

Boat on Rocks


Recently I co-hosted a discussion with Ed Marsh, from Consilium Global Business Advisors, at the annual PMMI conference.  We discussed the challenge of building international sales teams with a group of 100 plus CEO’s and business leaders from the packaging machinery industry.

As manufacturers and integrators, they face product development, support and sales challenges.  They typically sell through channels and distribution, so the question that I heard the loudest and clearest was, “How do you control and manage people and organizations that don’t report to you?”

While this is a valid question, it misses the mark.  Two better questions are, “How do I know whether or not the people whom I need to manage can be managed?" and "What limits their ability to execute?”  The assumption is, "If we find partners that have technical acumen and relationships with the companies we targeted, then sales will follow." 

Consider the following data, based on the evaluation of 650K salespeople worldwide, by Objective Management Group:

  • 6% of salespeople are Elite
  • 60% Make Excuses
  • 45% Are Not Self-Starters
  • 90% Have Unsustainable Pipelines
  • 55% Lack Urgency

If you understand the real impact which sales leaders have on their sales teams, including how well their sales management infrastructure is developed, it becomes clear that success requires a much more hands-on approach.  Historically, channel partners have been resistant to allowing the companies which they represent to hold them accountable.  Unfortunately, many manufactures have accepted this as “the way it is”, only condoning the issue.

Over the last five years, I have worked closely with Vistage International and their new chair community.  As former CEOs, the majority of them don’t come from the sales world, rather they are from operations, finance, technology and science.  Fully embracing and driving the critical disciplines required to develop a world-class sales organization are not common experiences or competencies.  As an illustration, how many undergraduate or graduate level degrees or even individual courses have you encountered that are dedicated to professional sales?  Academically, it’s a virtual desert.  Combine this with a technically-oriented, operationally-driven CEO and it’s pretty obvious why rep companies and distribution partners have been allowed to control the relationship and many aspects of a company’s sales success.

Do you want to get a quick snapshot of your sales force relative to how professional they are and to what degree they follow best practices?  Use our sales force grader.  It will take less than five minutes. 

FREE Sales Force Grader

Topics: CEOs impact on sales, improving your sales team, international sales, channels

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