Top Salespeople are 8600% Better at This Than Weak Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Jan 20, 2023 @ 07:01 AM

Don't mix alcohol with prescription drugs

You're not supposed to mix alcohol and medication, which isn't an issue for me because I don't drink and I avoid medication. But those aren't the only two things you're not supposed to mix.  You're not supposed to use mixed metaphors either so I am breaking the rule, incorporating 4 separate analogies, and then attempting to string them together at the end.  

When I'm driving, I usually fire up Spotify and listen to one of my playlists but for some reason, last week I chose to play songs by the 70's band, The Raspberries.  I like three of their songs a lot but lacked familiarity with the other songs on their four albums. I figured that there had to be some other good tracks to discover.  Wrong.  The Raspberries just do not compare to some of the great talents from their era.  The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Chicago, Earth, Wind and Fire, and solo artists like Elton John, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson or Lionel Richie routinely produced albums on which every song could have been or was a hit single. [Note: It seems like all you needed to be a star in the 70's and 80's were two first names and not just the four I named, but also consider Huey Lewis, Carly Simon, Paul Simon, Rod Stewart, George Harrison, and James Taylor!] The comparison of successful hit-makers to common musicians are analogous to sales pipelines where top salespeople have a never-ending flow of good, strong, qualified opportunities and weak salespeople have fewer opportunities and most of them aren't very well qualified. 

If we look into some of Objective Management Group's (OMG) data from the assessments of  2,296,264 salespeople, we see the following as it relates to the Qualifier competency and its 12 attributes:

Qualifier CompetencyQualifier Competency Data

As you can see from the table above right, the top 5% of all salespeople are 56% stronger at qualifying than strong salespeople, 452% stronger than serviceable salespeople, and 8600% stronger than the bottom 50%.  8600% Stronger!!!!  Who says qualifying isn't important?  See how your industry/salespeople compare.

We were first-time diners at Friendly Toast, an all-day brunch restaurant in the Boston area. Unfortunately, my inner 12-year-old ordered and because of my inability to control him, I was ecstatic over my hot chocolate peppermint waffles!  My reaction was consistent with a sales opportunity where the salesperson receives a very strong introduction from a happy customer, the large opportunity was completely teed up, the sales cycle was short, sweet, and easy, and the deal closed without competition.  How many salespeople EVER get to experience that kind of easy?  According to OMG's data, only 3% of all salespeople have a steady flow of quality introductions and referrals and for weak salespeople, it's half that.  

One of the dashboard displays in my car shows the pressure for all four tires.

Low Tire Pressure Gauge

When a tire begins to lose pressure the early warning system is incredibly helpful.  Membrain is the CRM application that we most frequently recommend to clients, and our clients LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Membrain compared to Salesforce dot com.  Membrain comes with a win/loss analysis consisting of more than a dozen criteria.  While they won't all have significance, most of them do.  The four analyses that I believe are most analogous to the tire pressure warning are:

Age, Time in Stage, Stalled and Time Spent.

Time in Stage

The  taller green bars in the Time in Stage image shows that the largest percentage of deals won remain in each stage for only a day or two while the odds for closing deals that remain in stages for more than a week are not good.

Time Spent (not shown) shows that an average of 1 hour and 9 minutes is spent working in Membrain on deals that are won, but an average of only 9 minutes is spent on deals that are later archived.

 Stalled Opportunities

The Stalled image above shows that the average time stalled on a won deal is 43 days compared with 110 days for an archived deal.

And finally, the Age finding (not shown) tells us that the average age of a won deal is 39 days, compared with 105 days for an archived deal.

Together, these four components of the win/loss analysis show that when deals are stalling, we don't spend time working on them, and the chances of closing them are in direct disproportion to how long they stall.  It's our version of the tire pressure display!

What do these four analyses have to do with qualifying?  The more thoroughly qualified the opportunity, the less likely it is to stall for long, and the more likely it is that you can either lose fast - a good outcome - or win fast - a better outcome!

So whether it's mixing drugs and alcohol, scoring a prolific number of hit songs, eating an awesome meal, or a dashboard warning indicator, they all tie back to the importance of thoroughly qualifying opportunities and winning deals.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, crm, chicago, win-loss analysis, the beatles, beach boys, the raspberries, michael jackson, elton john, billy joel, lionel richie

When are Salespeople Too Old to Sell Effectively? 10 Conditions

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 @ 09:06 AM

the beach boysFirst, let's acknowledge that EEOC guidelines in the US demand that you not discriminate against candidates based on age (40 and older), gender (non-males), race (non-Caucasians) or disability (Americans with Disability Act).  This article isn't about that, but I wanted to make sure that I put that out there before going any further.

Last night, we attended a concert in Boston.  On stage, 5 guys in their 70's, backed up by a younger show band, played and sang the songs made popular by a group of teenagers about 50 years ago.  When we closed our eyes, they pulled it off.  They sounded the same, perhaps better than the teenagers!  With eyes open, they demonstrated the same energy and showed that they really enjoyed performing and recreating that sound.  The only things different - and I mean the only things - were the wrinkles and sags on their faces and bags under their eyes.

I'm referring to the Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Reunion Concert and it was a terrific show.

When it's time to recruit salespeople, clients have often told me that they want a "less mature, more energetic, and fit" salesperson - code for "younger".

Like the Beach Boys, who can still pull it off with ease, salespeople can still pull it off with ease as they age, well into their 70's, as long as the following ten conditions exist:

  1. They have the same energy.
  2. They have the same work ethic.
  3. They retain the same motivation and urgency to succeed.
  4. They continue to enjoy selling.
  5. They have adapted to the changes of the past 5-10 years, including selling consultatively, using technology and working harder.
  6. They are fine being held accountable to a potentially younger sales manager/sales leader.
  7. They interviewed well.
  8. They are still quick on their feet.
  9. The OMG Sales Candidate Assessment has recommended them.
  10. They have prior success doing what you need them to do.
The interesting thing about this list of conditions is that it's not age-specific and should be used with all salespeople.  If they can still generate new revenue for your business, why would you care if their skin is wrinkled?  If the choice is between a performer with wrinkles and a smooth-skinned pretender, the choice should be a no-brainer.  Watch this video on Sales Recruiting Best Practices.
Best Practices for Sales Recruiting Process and Tools

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales recruiting, sales management, sales competency, sales candidates, sales assessments, beach boys, eeoc guidelines

Can the Beatles Help You Close Big Deals?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jan 07, 2010 @ 23:01 PM

Perhaps. Back in the 60's, three companies were competing for attention. But they weren't retailers, manufacturers or service providers. Despite that, they had features and benefits that caused people to follow and buy from them.  Some people didn't care for any of the three and bought from alternative sources.  Some preferred just one or the other.  And some bought from all three.  They were the big winners of their day.  Who were they?  Try The Beatles, The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones.  Check out the following table which, if they were traditional sellers, could have been used to tout their features and benefits.

Feature/Benefit

 Beatles

Beach Boys

 Stones

Angelic Harmonies

 

 x

 

Sounds of Summer

 

 x

 

Musicianship

 x

 

 

Rhythm Section

 

 

 x

Blue Collar Sound

 x

 

 x

Foot Tapping Sound

 x

 x

 x

Sophisticated Arrangements

 x

 

 

Made in the USA

 

 x

 

Catchy Melodies

 x

 x

 x

Love Songs

 x

 

 

Songs about Girls, Cars and Surf

 

x

 

Dynamic Front Man

 

 

 x

You may argue with my analysis but my analysis is not the point. 

The point is that you may be just like one of these market leaders - or not.  One mistake that companies make is they say, "Let's do the things those other guys are doing and then we'll be all things to all people and increase our sales."  Can you imagine the Stones singing like the Beach Boys?  Yuck.  Or the Beach Boys getting all gritty like the Stones? 

When companies become all things to all people they lose their following.  They lose their edge, their niche, their appeal.  Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, ask yourself how many more followers, buyers, customers and clients you would have if you simply improved on what you already do.  The Beatles did that.  So didn't the Beach Boys.  Stones too.

What happens if you're not a leading band but you're simply a one man show - a singer, songwriter, or recording artist like Neil Diamond or a small business?  How does Neil Diamond compete with The Beatles?

That was the topic on this week's edition of Meet the Sales ExpertsMy guests were Sales Development Experts Tom Schaff and Andy Miller and they contributed some brilliant ideas as they spoke about the work they do to help small companies land huge deals.  You won't want to miss this show.

Click here to listen.  Click here to contact Tom.  Click here to contact Andy.

 

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales tips, Tom Schaff, the beatles, rolling stones, closing big deals, andy miller, beach boys

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned awards for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog for eleven consecutive years and of the more than 2,000 articles Dave has published, many of the articles have also earned awards.

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