5 Steps to Grow Sales by 33% in 12 Months

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, May 11, 2022 @ 08:05 AM

I'm a baseball guy and a die hard Boston Red Sox fan but I can't bear to watch them right now.  They are playing the worst baseball since I was 10 years old so that's going back 55 years!  It's not hard to understand why they are so bad because the data tells the story.  Their stats show that as of May 9, 2022 their bullpen has 9 blown saves.  Bullpens rarely blow 9 saves over a full season never mind over five weeks but if you look deeper, they wouldn't be in so many close games if their offense was producing.  Only three guys (JD Martinez, Xander Boegarts and Rafael Devers), are hitting!   Coaches will review game video and hitters will take extra batting practice to work on their mechanics and timing.

Sales teams go through periods like this too but sales leaders rarely seek out the data that would immediately point to the real problem.  They tend to hope things will improve and go from there. However, there are several levels of data to be reviewed so let's take a look.

As the article title suggests, there are five steps you must take to grow sales by 33% in 12 months.  You can't pick and choose as all five are required.

1. IDENTIFY BOTTLENECKS - A quality CRM application, like Membrain, will show your win rates, age in stage, conversion ratios, pipeline velocity, pipeline volume and pipeline quantity and more.  Dig into that data to determine year over year changes and identify where your bottlenecks have been and where they are today.  Be mindful that this is lagging data and are merely symptoms of the real problems!  (My personal favorite is the Baseline Selling edition of Membrain)

2. IDENTIFY THE REAL REASONS - An OMG Sales Team evaluation will explain why you have those bottlenecks and why your team gets the results it gets.  Note which of the 21 Sales Core Competencies are to blame - by team and individual - and more importantly, how much revenue is being left on the table and who is capable of upping their game.  For example, are deals getting stuck because salespeople aren't capable of reaching decision makers?  We know that salespeople who can begin with the decision maker are 341% more likely to close the business!  A training curriculum can be designed from these conclusions. Learn MoreRequest Samples (Request Sample Sales Force Eval)

3. PROFESSIONAL OUTSIDE SALES TRAINING - Provide your sales team with appropriate training to close the competency gaps, improve skills, and achieve better execution.  This should not be a one or two-day event.  Change requires on-going, long-term training to change beliefs, approaches, strategies, tactics and develop skills!

4. DAILY COACHING - Sales managers must provide daily, one-on-one coaching to their salespeople to help them with their individual gaps and improve their Sales DNA.  Only 7% of all sales managers come equipped with effective coaching skills so they will need to be trained and coached in order for them to provide effective coaching.

5. ACCOUNTABILITY - Sales Leaders must hold sales managers accountable for coaching as sales managers hold their salespeople accountable for change.

Once you have the data and take action, there is absolutely no good reason why you can't bump sales by at least 25%!  That's right, AT LEAST 25%.  If everyone improves by just 10% you will grow sales by 33%!

  • 10% more opportunities
  • 10% higher average sale
  • 10% greater win rate

That comes out to 33%!  Don't believe me?

Start with monthly goals of 20 opportunities, a 20% closing rate, and a $20,000 average sale. That translates to 4 sales for $80,000 or $960,000 annually.  10% more equates to:

  • 22 opportunities
  • 22% closing rate
  • $22,000 average sale

That's 4.84 sales at $22,000 which totals $106,480 per month or $1,277,760. A 33% increase in revenue!

What are you waiting for?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales training, Sales Coaching, crm, omg, how to increase revenue, sales increase, membrain, sales team evaluation

Do You Know the Accurate Reason Why a Salesperson Is Not Performing?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Apr 20, 2022 @ 13:04 PM

failing

How quickly can you determine why a salesperson is failing? 

Dinger loves to play catch with his ball.  He has seven of them but loves his white ball the most.  When we're out playing catch and I point to a ball and say, "there it is" or "right there" or "get it" he just can't seem to find it!  Dinger has good listening skills but his ability to see the obvious isn't very good.

Such was the case earlier this week when a surprised client wanted an explanation for why one of their salespeople, who does not perform very well, scored well on his evaluation.  "How can someone who is not my top performer score better than someone who is my top performer?"

That sounded like a challenge so I said, "Let's go!"

Objective Management Group's (OMG's) evaluations are very accurate so I always assume the evaluation is correct and simply ask questions to determine whether something needs explaining, or they might not be looking at the best data to determine whether a salesperson is truly a top producer or an under performer.  The most common pushback occurs when someone they have inappropriately labeled as a top performer does not evaluate very well.  In almost every case, it's because the salesperson manages more revenue than anyone else, but isn't the one who sold those accounts.  A good account manager, but not a producer. 

In the case of this evaluation, the salesperson was simply not performing as well as his peers so I assumed there was a good explanation.

I'll share what I found.

First I looked at his 5 Will to Sell competencies which include Desire, Commitment, Outlook, Motivation and Responsibility - all specific to sales - and while I expected to find an issue with commitment, I did not find the issue there. 

Next I looked at the 6 Sales DNA competencies, expecting to find an explanation there and while his Sales DNA is only fair at best, at 67 it was certainly not the primary source of the problem.

Next I looked at the 10 Tactical Selling Competencies and found what I was looking for.

He scored an 8 on Relationship Building!  If you look at these 10 scores in the proper sequence, he's a hunter who can reach decision makers and when he schedules a call or face to face meeting, and they talk with him, he isn't able to connect with with his prospects. 

He scored 84 in the Hunting competency but that's deceiving!  What prevented him from scoring 100? If you look at the attributes in the Hunting competency below, there are two important attributes he's missing. The first is Likable!  If a salesperson isn't likable it's very difficult to get beyond that!! They simply won't perform!  The second is Maintains Full Pipeline. Clearly, he struggles to convert the scheduled calls and meetings into opportunities.

The answer is always in the OMG evaluation but you need to look at more than a single score!  At a bare minimum, read the dashboard where these scores come from.  You don't have to read 30 pages but at least read the first 2 pages!

Going back to my opening paragraph, "Right there!"  "There it is!"

Clients use OMG's Sales Team evaluations as a development tool to uncover sales skill gaps, opportunity for growth, and most importantly for answers to age-old questions like, why aren't we selling more?  Why is our win-rate so low?  Why aren't we generating more new business?  Why do so many opportunities come down to price?  Are our salespeople in the best roles for them?  How much more business could we be generating if we coached and trained on these gaps?  Are we hiring the right salespeople?  Are our sales managers coaching effectively? 
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Clients use OMG's Sales Candidate Assessments to hire the ideal salespeople for the selling roles they wish to fill.  
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Sales consulting and training firms choose OMG for their clients because it is sales specific, and is more comprehensive, more accurate and more predictive than any other assessment you can find.  Sales consultants and trainers can learn more here.

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Topics: Dave Kurlan, accurate sales assessment, sales results, preditive of sales performance, listening skills, sales team evaluation, failing salesperson

The Philosophy of a Pitching Coach Will Improve Your Sales Team

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Apr 04, 2022 @ 07:04 AM

pitching

I find ideas and material for this Blog everywhere, especially when I'm not looking for them. Yesterday I received a daily email from a Paul Reddick, a baseball coach who was drumming up some business for his baseball institute. It resonated - not for its baseball coaching - but as sales coaching.  Here's what it said:

If your coach is talking about any of the pitching flaws that you see listed above…

Run… Run Fast!

That Coach is working on “flaws” that will have no impact on your pitching.  He is working on symptoms… not the illness!  He is trying to fix things that are happening as a byproduct of incorrect movement early in your delivery. If you get the first second of your delivery right, almost all of these flaws get fixed instantly. 

Do you know how this applies to sales? 

I'll explain exactly how it applies and I promise you will be surprised!  Click here to read last year's fun article comparing pitcher's fielding practice (PFP) to role-playing in sales.

If a CEO, Sales Leader, Sales Manager, Sales Coach or Sales Expert suggests that closing or negotiating is a selling flaw, then that individual does not really understand what salespeople must do in order to win business.

Closing is over-rated. 

Always has been.

Except for the concept of when to close, closing shouldn't even be taught!

If a salesperson is effective adding opportunities to the pipeline, reaching decision makers, building relationships, taking a consultative approach and uncovering compelling reasons to buy, selling value, qualifying, and doing that in the context of a effective and efficient sales process, they will earn the business and it will close at the appropriate time.

If they suck at any or all of the nine competencies referenced above, then the lack of wins will appear to be a closing issue, when it is actually symptomatic of something that wasn't properly executed earlier in the process.

Same goes for negotiating.  If an opportunity is properly qualified at the appropriate time, there should not be anything to negotiate.  However, if qualifying lacks thoroughness and is completed too early, it invites a negotiation at closing time.

Training and coaching should be targeted towards the competency in the sales process that has the lowest conversion ratio.  In other words, if salespeople struggle to get opportunities into the pipeline, focus on prospecting.  If salespeople are booking meetings but opportunities stagnate in the pipeline, the issue is with the consultative approach and/or value selling.  If opportunities get as far as qualified but fail to close, then the issue is probably with qualifying and/or consultative selling/value selling.

The most important thing to identify is where ALL of the skill gaps are.  How can salespeople leverage their strengths, sharpen existing skills, learn new skills and improve their conversion ratios?

The best way to do that is to know exactly what they are capable of, where their bottlenecks are, what their blindspots are, and what they need to do in order to improve.  This should never be a guess because most sales managers, sales leaders and CEOs guess wrong!  It sounds like most of the calls and emails I receive where the potential client says, "Yes, we're looking for someone to provide some sales training on closing and negotiating."

There are a couple of ways to find out what your team is really capable of and how much better they can become:

An OMG Sales Team Evaluation is the best solution and provides answers to every possible question you might have about your team.  In addition to the comprehensive Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis (SEIA), Executive Summary, and Visualizer (interactive tool to play with the data), you and your sales team will learn how everyone measures up in all 21 Sales Core Competencies.

Request Samples

Email for more information

OMG has a free self-serve solution as well.  You can see how your team collectively compares to other teams in your industry and to companies overall in all 21 Sales Core Competencies.  You won't get any reports or individual results but you'll see where the team-wide gaps are.

Check out the Free solution (or first step)

Companies that have their sales teams evaluated experience faster, quicker and greater growth than those who don't.

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Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, sales process, Closing Sales, sales assessments, sales team evaluation

Top 10 Sales Videos and Rants From Dave Kurlan

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Mar 21, 2022 @ 07:03 AM

video

From time to time I record impromptu unscripted rants as well as some that are more well thought-out videos.  From among the collection presented below, most are rants so the rants are much more popular.  The most-watched (I have added to the list so there are more than 10 now!) videos are shown below in order of popularity and while I like all of them, I indicated my personal favorites with an asterisk.  All but three of the videos are three-minutes or less, one is six-minutes, one is ten-minutes and one is eight-minutes.  Topics include:

1. Revenue Sensitivity - a rant on the lack of correlation between top salespeople and revenue

2. On Sales Process and Methodology - the difference between popular sales processes and methodologies

3. Why Your Prospects Won't Talk with You and What to Do About it - a rant

4. On Attracting Salespeople When Recruiting - a rant on the Two Keys to Attracting More of the Right Sales Candidates

5. Transactional versus Consultative Selling - a rant

6. Why Forecasts are Always So Inaccurate - a rant on why it's not the forecast!

7. Dinger's Listening Skills - how my Dog's Listening Skills are better than those of most salespeople

8. Protect Your References - a rant on why you shouldn't give out references unless it's the perfect time

9. Why People Should Consider a Career in Sales

10. On Cold Calls - a Rant

11. Nothing has Changed in 35 Years - a Rant

12. On Not Getting Distracted

13. How to Shorten and Speed Up the Sales Process

14. Why Sales Training Doesn't Work

15. The Importance of Momentum in Sales

16. Momentum Part 2 - The Importance of Discipline and Consistency and Why You Need Both

17. Don't Make This Critical Mistake as We Move Forward into the Recession

1.  On Revenue Sensitivity *

2. On Sales Processes and Methodologies

 

3. Why Your Prospects Won't Talk with You and What to Do About it

 

4.  On Attracting Salespeople When Recruiting

 

5. Transactional Versus Consultative Sales

 

6. Why Forecasts are Always So Inaccurate

 

7. Dinger's Listening Skills *

 

8. Protect Your References

 

9. Why People Should Consider a Career in Sales *

 

10. On Cold Calls

 

 

11. On How Nothing Has Changed in 35 Years.

12. On Not Getting Distracted

 

13. On How to Shorten and Speed Up the Sales Process

14. On Why Sales Training Doesn't Work

15. On The Importance of Momentum in Sales

16. Momentum Part 2: The Difference Between Discipline and Consistency - You'll Need Both!

 

17. Don't Make This Mistake as We Move Forward Into the Recession

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Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, sales methodology, sales recruiting, top salespeople, tips on selling, listening skills, sales forecasts, best sales video, career in sales

Great Sales Managers are Like Great Baseball Coaches Without the Screaming

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Mar 15, 2022 @ 12:03 PM

baseball-is-back

So there will be Major League Baseball in 2022.  Suddenly the bitching and moaning about the owners has stopped and everyone is just happy that baseball is back.

Speaking of baseball and bringing sales into the discussion, let's talk about coaching.  First the baseball.

When my son was home for winter break, I asked him to rank all of his baseball coaches, an exercise that he found quite interesting.  Starting with Little League, through travel teams, all-star teams, tournament teams, High School teams and finally College, he has had 18 coaches not including me.

He played 4 years for his #1 ranked coach.  For the first two years he was afraid of this coach and for a very good reason.  The coach screamed at him, embarrassed him, and made an example out of him every chance he had.  At the very same time the coach pushed him, challenged him and brought out the best in him.  From the coach's perspective, he knew Michael could take it, saw his potential, and knew he could play even better than he did.  Some of Michael's best games and clutch performances were played under this coach.  The coach didn't scream at everyone.  Other players who disappointed the coach were simply ignored. He didn't want to waste his time screaming at them because he knew it wouldn't change anything and the players would repeat their mistakes.

I was not surprised over the coaches that Michael ranked 14-18.  They weren't very good at coaching, didn't add much value, and their teams didn't win anything. 

The nicest coach Michael ever played for, the one who we, as parents liked the most, and the one Michael loved the most, didn't make the top 5.  They loved each other but didn't win anything together and the coach didn't bring out the best in Michael.  He was simply way too chill.

So let's pivot back to sales.

The biggest difference between great sales managers and crappy sales managers is how effectively they coach up their salespeople to make them better.  There are two parts to this:

The first part is tactical - How to coach effectively, when to coach, what to coach on, how frequently to coach, and what good sounds like.  It can all be taught but it relies so, so heavily on listening skills.

The second part is Sales Management DNA -  How comfortable sales managers are when it comes to confronting, pushing back, challenging, being truthful, and providing constructive criticism.  It relies heavily on not allowing their fear of upsetting or losing salespeople to get in the way, preventing them from providing great coaching.

We can draw a comparison between Michael's #1 ranked coach and a great sales manager.  Pretend that coach #1 is everything described above except for the screaming and  embarrassing.  If I rewrote the description, it would say: the coach pushed him, challenged him and brought out the best in him.  From the coach's perspective, he knew Michael could take it, saw his potential, and knew he could play even better than he did.  Some of Michael's best games and clutch performances were played under this coach. 

Isn't that what we want our sales managers to accomplish?

Sales Managers:  Stop worrying about whether salespeople like you, and make sure they respect your coaching, trust your intentions, and truly want to improve. Bring out the best in them.  Show them what good sounds like through role-play.  If you do that, your relationship with them will be first rate.

The key is role-playing - the only possible way to demonstrate what good truly sounds like.  Most sales managers don't know how to do this effectively or don't include role-playing in their coaching. If you want to improve your ability to role-play, Kurlan & Associates has a self-directed online course that includes more than 40 unscripted role-plays extracted from live coaching and training conversations.  They cover nearly every scenario, include a layer of realtime coaching during the role plays and ARE EXACTLY WHAT GOOD SOUNDS LIKE.  If you want examples that you can model on how to coach salespeople through role-play, it doesn't get any better than this.  It's just $795 and you get access to the ever-expanding library for a year!  You can see the course topics here.  Have questions? Feel free to email me.  I respond to my emails!

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Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Coaching, role playing

The Top 10% of All Salespeople are 4,000% Better at this than the Bottom 10%

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Mar 03, 2022 @ 07:03 AM

Why Do Deer Run Into Cars

This weekend, a deer ran across the highway and hit our car.  The deer was injured but she did manage to run away so we were relieved that she wasn't killed.  After we returned home, I couldn't find our dog, Dinger.  Regular readers may remember Dinger from these posts:

My Dog Has Better Listening Skills Than Most Salespeople 

Top Salespeople are 631% More Effective at This Than Weak Salespeople

How Top Salespeople Manage Resistance

Which Salespeople are Easier to Train - Veteran Salespeople or Millennials?

I found Dinger with his nose glued to my front bumper where some of the deer's hair was still attached to my car.  Dinger, who loves to bark at deer from the safety of our home, seemed to be saying, "Ohhhh, so THIS is what a deer smells like!"

The exact same thing happened to a salesperson I was training.  It wasn't a deer or a dog, it was about Jim's sales aha moment.

His team was asked to send me an email with their five biggest lessons from their first six months of training.  Among Jim's top five was this one:

Your own bias affects the selling process - Wow!  I did not realize that my biases are affecting my sales process and approaches.  For example, I have a money bias that was unknown to me until recently.  I make a strange face (as if I am going to get punched in the face) whenever I tell the client the cost for a service or product.  I started noticing my strange face recently on my zoom calls and I now know that my money bias was likely affecting my sales.  I was not confident in my ask for the cost of the service or the product and thus it showed on my face as I waited for the client's rebuttal.  (And usually their rebuttal would feel like they punched me in the face)

What a great lesson!  Jim was referring to a sales competency found in his Sales DNA called Comfortable Discussing Money and an attribute called High Money Tolerance found in another competency, Supportive Buy Cycle

Salespeople who don't have high money tolerance become very uncomfortable when the amount of money being discussed exceeds the amount they consider to be a lot of money.  Jim believed that $500 is a lot of money yet he was asking companies for $500,000.  No wonder he made a strange face - that's 1,000 times greater than his choking point!  If the salesperson lacks confidence in how much money they are asking for, why in the world would we expect the prospect to have any confidence about buying from the salesperson?

The top 10% of all salespeople are 4,000% more comfortable discussing money than the weakest 10% - 4,000%!  And the top 10% of all salespeople are 100% more likely to have a high money tolerance than the weakest 10%.

Finally, being comfortable discussing money and having a high money tolerance directly support a salesperson's ability to uncover the actual budget.  Salespeople who do uncover the actual budget are 172% more likely to close the business - 172%!

Objective Management Group (OMG) measures 21 Sales Core Competencies and has assessed more than 2.2 million salespeople.  You can view some of the data here, see how the data changes by industry, and how you and/or your sales team compares to other companies in your industry and overall.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, closing, sales assessments, sales data, uncovering budget

The Cold Email I Read Through to the End - Is  There Hope for Salespeople and Marketers?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Feb 22, 2022 @ 15:02 PM

email-1

I bought my first cell phone in 1985.  The enormous device was hard wired to the car, connected to a heavy metal box, and cost $2,000 to install.  All calls in and out were billed by the minute and my bill averaged around $1,500 per month. The coverage was so spotty that most calls were dropped several times per conversation.  The only practical way to use the "car phone" was to find a coverage area, find a place to park in that area, and then have a conversation.  It took a good 15 years for the technology to catch up with the concept!

The same thing has happened with email prospecting.  I had my first email account in the early 90's.  My email address at the time was sales guru at prodigy dot net. Since then, marketers and BDRs have been sending dreadful emails to drum up interest and I believe it has been an utter failure. Over the past few years, they added artificial intelligence (AI) to their efforts and despite the time it saved, it was far worse.  Emails generated using AI were absolutely dreadful.  Until now. Sunday I received a cold email, generated using AI that was actually personalized.  Not with just my name, but it included information about my company, where I attended college and more.  While I still have no interest or need for the service being pitched, I actually read it instead of deleting it.  Here's what it said:

 

Hi Dave — We hope you're well, and having a great start to the new year and the Q1. I'm inviting CEOs with similar backgrounds to an exclusive session below.

I love that Objective Management Group continues to pioneer the sales assessment industry by providing crucial insights to maximize sales performance in companies of all sizes and industries. It's clear why you do it. I have been researching the importance of creating "perfect pitches" for consistent conversions when selling candidates quarters!

I'm [his name], [his title] at [his company] We recently invited a number of companies similar to yours, please accept our intro session for Objective Management Group (attached deck here) to learn more about how we've helped them.

I've noticed that you graduated from Assumption College, hope it was a great experience! Have a wonderful rest of your week!

I'm not saying this is good because it's not even close to good.  It's just better than what I usually get.  The second paragraph is copied from OMG's website and the college information was probably taken from LinkedIn. Every sentence has grammatical and style errors and it has a terrible call to action but it is SO much better than the dozens of emails that you and I receive each day. Those are so, so awful and without any good reason ask for us to hop on a call this afternoon for a discussion.   

Worse, their workflow was overly aggressive.  Without indicating that I was open to a meeting, I received a calendar invite for a random time.  I declined the invite and then received a meeting confirmation.  The potential is there but the execution, from writing to workflows was still horrible.  It makes me wonder.  Companies and marketers invest the money for these AI applications but don't invest in copyrighting, messaging and getting the workflows right.  Why bother?

And in case you got the wrong idea, I'm not suggesting that you run out, get an AI application and begin sending better automated messages.  I'm suggesting that if you are going to bypass the phone and resort to prospecting by email (I'm not a fan), then invest the time to manually target, do your own research, invest in better messaging, take the time to plan your follow up and don't follow the email I shared.  That's your only chance if you actually want and expect anyone to read a cold email.

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Topics: Dave Kurlan, prospecting, selling via email, email prospecting, cold emails

When Salespeople Can't Close Closable Business - The Bob Chronicles Part 7

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Feb 14, 2022 @ 13:02 PM

ready

I heard from Bob last week and whenever I hear from him it usually means he got himself into a jam with another sales opportunity.  Regular readers are familiar with Bob, one of the worst salespeople on the planet.  New readers might want to catch up on the six prior articles about Bob.

Part 1 
Part 2 
Part 3 
Part 4 
Part 5 
Part 6 

So what did Bob get himself into this time?

It's a huge opportunity that Bob has been nurturing for years and several months ago his prospect, a top executive that has the influence and authority to make a decision, confided that he would like to find a way to do business and not only that, have this be part of his legacy. 

Good salespeople would discuss the scope of work next but Bob sent samples, conducted demos and walk-throughs, and another two months passed.  Then Bob's prospect said he is retiring and would introduce Bob to his replacement.

Bob's strategy was to keep the opportunity alive until the replacement is in the role.  Is that what you would do?

If he keeps the opportunity alive, what would that actually involve?  Staying in touch with the guy who is retiring?  The guy who no longer has a need to do this because he's leaving and won't be around to see it through?  And then what?  Start from scratch?  Make a cold call to the new person?  Assume that his replacement will be equally interested?  Assume that his replacement won't have his own established relationships who he could work with?  What an awful strategy!

The proper strategy would be to help his current prospect get the initiative started so that his replacement can see it through.  Helping his prospect get this started will help his prospect make this part of his legacy.  There are only two months before his prospect retires so there is urgency that wasn't there before.  Bob should leverage the urgency to get his prospect to pull the trigger - now - so that everything is in place before he leaves.

But Bob isn't comfortable with this strategy.  Why?

Sales DNA.  Objective Management Group (OMG) has evaluated 2,181,567 salespeople and has lots of data about the four Sales DNA issues below. While Bob's Sales DNA is sabotaging him, let's not forget that Bob is among the weakest salespeople in the world and he represents the bottom 50%.

  • Low Money Tolerance - as I mentioned, this is a huge opportunity -  for Bob.  It will easily reach six figures  and for Bob, that's a lot of money.  Even though it will be pocket change for this international conglomerate, Bob believes that it's a huge expense that requires many meetings and discussions to approve.  Bob's apprehension over the money is responsible for why he hasn't closed anything in this account - EVER.  The table below shows the percentage of salespeople, by proficiency, for Low Money Tolerance and Bob is in the weakest 1-25% where 92% of them have this weakness.
  • Need to be Liked - Bob is a nice guy and people find him very likable.  But Bob needs people to like him and in the case of the top executive from this enterprise company, Bob very much needs to be liked and won't say or do anything that he thinks would get his prospect upset and undermine the opportunity.  The table below shows the percentage of salespeople, by proficiency, for Needing to be Liked and Bob is in the weakest 1-25% where 82% of them have this weakness.
  • Unable to Stay in the Moment - Because Bob is uncomfortable with the potential deal size and is worried about not being liked if he introduces the topic of price, he is unable to stay in the moment and respond appropriately.  Instead, he is worrying about next steps, what might go wrong, is reacting emotionally and is not in control of his thoughts or actions. The table below shows the percentage of salespeople, by proficiency, for Unable to Stay in the Moment and Bob is in the weakest 1-50% where 89% of them have this weakness.


  • Lack of Sales Urgency - Bob's prospect has enough urgency to get this project started but that is not matched by Bob's urgency.  You can read more about that in part 4 above as this is not the first time that Bob's urgency has not been properly aligned with his prospect's.  In the table below, note that the results are reported differently.  The prior tables showed the percentage of salespeople that had the weakness.  This table shows the percentage of salespeople that have the strength.  The top row is the percentage of all salespeople with sales urgency.  The remaining rows are in reverse order, with elite at the top and weak at the bottom. Bob is in the Weak group where 66% (34% strong) have the weakness.

Bob isn't very good but let's not forget that Bob is like 50% of salespeople in world who desperately require a tremendous amount of sales training and coaching, something their sales managers are not very adept at providing.

If you would like to see more OMG data, all 21 Sales Core Competencies can be viewed, and filtered by industry here.

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Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales training, assessments, Sales Coaching, Sales DNA, Closing Sales, sales data

The Difference Between CyberThieves, Hackers and Most Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Feb 10, 2022 @ 07:02 AM

cyber

I found it challenging to write this article.

The company that provides us with cyber-insurance required that our entire team watch a series of 21 training videos to make us more aware of how hackers operate, how easy it is to be hacked, and what we must do differently in order to protect our data, privacy and accounts.  Imagine my surprise when the first video described hacking operations as businesses with outbound prospecting operations whose goal is to convert their emails, texts and calls into paying customers.  They described very aggressive and efficient sales and marketing operations staffed by people who operated without feelings or empathy, felt no rejection or remorse, and didn't care about the prospects that didn't respond, but were all in on those who took the bait.

Wow.

Salespeople have never had GREAT reputations, and from among the tens of thousands of B2B salespeople I have met, worked with or evaluated during the past 35 years, if they were guilty of anything, it would be for trying to overcompensate for that undeserved reputation.

While I can't stop thinking about that video and the analogy they used, there are two strong thoughts pulling at me.

On the one hand, I am shocked and chagrinned that the insurance company would use salespeople as a reference point for hackers.  You could not possibly understand the degree to which It bothers me.  

On the other hand, you and I both know that if salespeople worked as methodically, consistently, aggressively, effectively, and efficiently as the hackers do, we would double our revenue.

Most B2B salespeople are ethical and trying their best to help their prospects, customers and clients.  They have feelings and consciences, try to be honest and that makes them good human beings.  Hackers lack those traits and while I'm not a psychologist, I'm pretty sure their lack of a conscience makes them psychopaths!  

Hackers perform the way we wish our salespeople would however they are psychopathic criminals.

Salespeople underperform because the human elements that make them normal and ethical - their fears, feelings, emotions, consciences and empathy, slow them down, get in the way, make them think too much and sabotage performance.

It's a double edged sword.

According to Objective Management Group (OMG) and their data from the evaluations of 2,180,816 salespeople, the top 5% as well as many in the top 20%, are in fact human, ethical, and have consciences. This proves that high performing salespeople and ethics are not mutually exclusive.  We can have the best of both worlds.  To prove that, I looked through OMG's data and found that the top 5% of all salespeople actually score 45% higher than the weakest 50% in the attribute of high integrity selling.  Despite that, only 26% of all salespeople and only 39% of the top 5% are effective at building trust.  What does that mean?

Salespeople who are not high integrity sellers and who struggle to build trust have major credibility problems while salespeople who are high integrity sellers that also succeed at building trust establish tremendous credibility and consistently win business.

Warning:  The salespeople to beware of are those who are not high integrity sellers but despite that, manage to build trust.  Watch out for them!  That is the group that gives salespeople a bad name.

There's more!  One of the OMG Sales Core Competencies, "Stays in the Moment," encompasses  fears, feelings and emotions.  Great salespeople are able to stay in the moment and don't allow their fears, feelings and emotions get in the way.  OMG's data shows that while only 37% of all salespeople are able to stay in the moment, 65% of the top 5% of salespeople are able to stay in the moment and 19% of the weakest 50% are able to stay in the moment.  The top 5% are 42% more effective at staying in the moment and preventing their fears, feelings and emotions from getting in the way.

You can see more of OMG's data here.

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Topics: Dave Kurlan, prospecting, selling tips, omg, phone sales, ethical selling, building trust

62% Less Turnover and 80% Higher Quota Attainment When You Hire Salespeople the Right Way

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Feb 03, 2022 @ 07:02 AM

 

snowblower

Buying a snowblower?  Pick one, have it delivered, wait for a snowstorm and blow some snow.  What's the worst that can happen?

Planning to go out for dinner?  Choose a restaurant, make a reservation, show up and enjoy.  What's the worst that can happen?

Hiring salespeople? Spec the role(s), post your job descriptions, collect resumes, choose some candidates to interview and make some hires.  What's the worst that can happen?

If you have a sales cycle of several months or more, subsidize your salespeople until they are self-sufficient, and in early 2022 it takes 3 months to find a suitable candidate, you are screwed before you start!  Once you finally identify a decent candidate, you have hours, not days or weeks, to make a decision and pull the trigger and what's the worst that can happen?  Six months or more pass before you realize that salesperson won't make it and you not only wasted a half year's salary, you lost six months, have an empty territory or vertical, and have to start over from the beginning!

It doesn't have to be that way and here's why.

There are several keys to getting sales selection right and we can discuss them here:

  1. Compensation: Base salaries are in and while you would love to hire a salesperson who is willing to eat what they kill (straight commission), most salespeople are not well-suited for that kind of pressure.  Your on plan total compensation for the first year must be appealing or in today's market good salespeople will ignore you.
  2. Location: Many salespeople love working from home and leveraging video platforms to generate revenue.  They can be MUCH more effective and should be much more successful.  You'll need to offer a remote option to attract good salespeople.
  3. Job posting:  The job posting must stand out and describe your ideal candidate instead.  Don't post a job description, post a candidate description, don't make it about your company, and you'll have a better chance to attract the best candidates.
  4. Sales Candidate Assessment: In today's candidate market you MUST have a crystal ball to differentiate the duds from the studs and more importantly, identify the salespeople who are the best fit for the particular selling role you are hoping to fill.
  5. Confidence: If you get the first four things right, then you will have the confidence to pull the trigger before you lose a good candidate to another company.

Today, I conducted a tailored fit for a company that will use Objective Management Group's (OMG) accurate and highly predictive sales candidate assessments.  The tailored fit adds an additional layer of customization - in this case 30 additional criteria - to help identify the right salespeople.  We also use tailored fits as a proof of concept, to show skeptical potential clients that our sales candidate assessment accurately differentiates their top producers from their worst under performers.  Check this out:

So what are we looking at here?

We start with 185 or so findings inside 21 Sales Core Competencies.  Then we identify the findings and scores that differentiate the tops from the bottoms.  In the example above, eight of the differentiators we identified are actually selection criteria that the company wasn't aware of and was badly messing up. Four of the differentiators are related to motivation which is ironic because most executives believe they have a tremendous ability to identify and hire motivated salespeople.  Two of the findings are related to Sales DNA, weaknesses that sabotage performance.  Seven differentiators reside with traditional sales core competencies.  Two identify salespeople's suitability for working remotely and their ability to self-start.  And six of the differentiators represent specific selling skills.

Explained another way, the top producers prospect consistently, are extroverts and score high in the Hunting competency.  They reach decision makers, take a consultative approach and uncover compelling reasons to buy, sell value and leverage sales technology.  They can work remotely, and have experience calling on business users, asking for up to $25,000, selling conceptual services that are not top of the line, in a hunting role with high pressure to perform while working at a major corporation and a turbulent and ever changing culture.  The bottom under performers do not. 

This company was not using OMG's assessment and managed to hire some very ineffective salespeople.  As long as they follow OMG's recommendations, they will never make mistakes like this again!  The salespeople that OMG recommends move to the top half of the sales team within 12 months while 75% of the salespeople that are hired although they were not recommended by OMG, fail within 6 months.  Read that again to make sure you read it right.

The 33,000 companies that have used this tool to assess more than 2.2 million salespeople, have hired nearly 100,000 salespeople.  They have 62% less turnover, shorter paths to productivity, and 80% higher quota attainment.

You can be consistently successful hiring salespeople if you follow my 5 tips and use OMG's Sales Candidate Assessments.

Need to see a sample?  Request one here.  Choose Sales Candidate Assessment.

Need to try it out?  Request a free trial here.

Ready to save time and money, hire with confidence and start using OMG?  Have an OMG expert help you get started

George Kriza sat down and interviewed me about the challenges of finding and hiring salespeople in the current economy.  Watch it now!

Image copyright 123RF.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, omg, Personality Tests, sales candidate assessment, sales assessments, sales test

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About Dave

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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