New Data Reveals a Finding That Correlates to Sales Success

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jan 29, 2020 @ 06:01 AM


We had a request for some data from one of our longtime partners.  My knee-jerk reaction to her request was that it would be a big nothing burger.  She asked for data that would show the difference between salespeople who are goal oriented and those who are not.  I did not expect much of a difference except in the area of Motivation but I was wrong.  Very wrong!  Check out some of the profound differences this data mining uncovered!

Objective Management Group (OMG) measures 21 Sales-specific Core Competencies. You can see them all here.  We have data from our evaluations and assessments of 1,940,502 salespeople. Can you guess which of the 21 sales competencies shows the most profound difference between those who are goal-oriented and those who are not?

Hunting.  That's what you guessed, right?  The average score for the Hunting Competency for goal-oriented salespeople is 82% while those who are not goal oriented have an average score of only 68%.  Goal oriented salespeople are 21% stronger at Hunting!  If you think about it, this makes sense because without goals or a plan, the need to prospect for new business is not as obvious or urgent.  "Prospects consistently" and "Maintains full pipeline" are 2 of the10 attributes of the Hunter competency.  Are you looking to hire new salespeople that will grow your business?  Use an accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment to help select ideal salespeople for your selling role.

Motivation.  This one was a no brainer as "Has written personal goals" and "Has a plan to achieve goals" are 2 of the attributes of the Motivation competency.  Those who are goal oriented have an average score of 81 versus the average score of 61 for those who are not.

Revenue.  This isn't a competency but this finding was screaming for my attention.  Those who are goal oriented have average revenue of $3.8 million while those who are not saw averages of only $2.7 million.

Sales Percentile.  This score places salespeople in a range from 0-100.  A Sales Percentile score of 100 would mean that a salesperson is better than 100% of all salespeople while a Sales Percentile score of 0 would mean that 100% of all salespeople are better than this salesperson.  Goal oriented salespeople have an average Sales Percentile of 64 while those who are not goal oriented have an average Sales Percentile of only 45.  Goal oriented salespeople score 42% better!

Responsibility.  Interestingly, goal oriented salespeople are 21% stronger at taking responsibility and as a result, are far less likely to make excuses for their lack of performance.

Sales DNA is the combination of strengths that support the execution of sales process, sales methodology, sales strategy and sales tactics.  However, when Sales DNA is weak, it sabotages rather than supports.  Sales DNA isn't learned.  Sales DNA isn't skills.  So it blew my mind to see the correlation between goal oriented and stronger Sales DNA.  The difference is profound.  Generally speaking, as the difficulty of the selling role increases, the minimum Sales DNA score required for success increases with it.  For example, if you sell 7-figure capital equipment to the C-Suite of Enterprise sized companies against huge competitors where the incumbent is difficult to replace, that level of difficulty requires a minimum Sales DNA of 82.  If you're selling SaaS to small businesses, you can probably succeed with a Sales DNA of 72.  If you're selling commercial batteries to fleet parts managers you can probably succeed with a Sales DNA of 66.  Goal oriented salespeople have Sales DNA that is 6 points higher and when it comes to Sales DNA, that's a huge difference maker!

Selling Competencies.  10 of the 21 Sales Core Competencies that we measure are pure selling competencies, like:

  • Hunting
  • Relationship Building
  • Consultative Selling
  • Value Selling
  • Qualifying
  • Presentation Approach
  • Closing
  • Sales Process
  • CRM Savvy
  • Social Selling Mastery

When we combine the average scores of the 10 selling competencies above, goal oriented salespeople are 20% stronger with an average score of 60, compared to an average score of 50 for those who aren't goal oriented.

Goal oriented salespeople score higher in every single competency.

Here's the biggest takeaway.

83% of elite salespeople (the top 5%) have written personal goals while only 44% of weak salespeople (the bottom 50%) have written personal goals.  That's an 89% difference!

76% of elite salespeople have a plan for reaching their goals while only 25% of weak salespeople have a plan for reaching their personal goals.  That's a 304% difference!

Together those two findings make up the goal oriented finding and while it alone is not predictive of sales success. However, goal oriented is an attribute of the Motivation Competency and that does correlate perfectly with sales success as you can read in this article.

Those who have written personal goals and a plan are far more likely to be top performers than those who don't. Goal setting is low-hanging fruit so why aren't more companies providing their salespeople with professional goal setting programs?

Image copyright iStock Photos

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales performance, top salespeople, goal setting

The Biggest Secret to My Sales Success

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Sep 09, 2016 @ 06:09 AM


Remember this week.  On Tuesday I shared the single biggest selling lesson of my life.  On Thursday I shared the second biggest selling lesson of my life.  And today, in my most controversial article ever, I will share the biggest secret of my sales success.  Some will undoubtedly call this the Dave went crazy article.

Some of you might be able to sense what my secret is.  Some of you won't appreciate how simple it is.  But I'm guessing that most of you will love what I share in this article and if not, you don't have to continue reading it.  Find something else that resonates for you.

Everyone knows that in business there are three topics that you must not talk about.  This year it's been very difficult not to talk about US Politics and it doesn't matter which side of the aisle you side with - you'll be in for an argument if it's the side opposite your lunch companion.  While it should be easy to keep sex out of business conversations, we continue to read about scenarios in which sex was not only included, but the focal point.  And the third is religion.  And I agree that religious beliefs should not be a topic of business conversation. Religious differences cause most wars! But religion is not equal to God.  Here's an Algebra equation for you.  Religion is to God as Amazon is to Samsung.  Think about that for a moment.  God is a manufacturer and the various religions are the resellers.

Over the past 10 years and 1,500 articles, I have typed the word God five times.  In only one of those occasions did I give God any credit and few people actually read that great article!  But today we'll change that.

Those who believe in God say that God will provide.  That's a lot like the book, The Secret, where one only needs to make the affirmation known and it will come true.  The Secret leaves out the work part - the what you have to do part.  Before The Secret, there was Earl Nightingale's The Greatest Secret. The new version was hugely popular but the first book was the real deal. God will provide though - if you do what you're supposed to do.  For example, it is a lot easier for God to provide - in this case protect - if you are living indoors or driving a car down the highway as opposed to living on the streets or driving a go-kart on the highway.  You can't be passive! There are certain common sense things that you must do for yourself in order for God to provide.

In the case of sales, God will provide too, as long as you have done your part.  The sales version of living indoors or driving a car on the highway is having a sales process.  A sales process provides the framework, the symbolism, something to believe in, similar to how a Cross, Rosary Beads, Mezuza or Star of David might serve that purpose in some religions.

I want to share two specific examples of when I have always taught the God part of selling without attributing any of it to God.

Faith in God - After providing about a year of sales training, I have always said something along the lines of, "You just need to have faith that when you respond to your prospect and open your mouth the right words will come out."  I always positioned it as not having to think about the response, staying in the moment and being present. Back in the early 90's I wrote an entire book about that last sentence, called Mindless Selling. The key word in that sentence, and the way I always meant it though, is faith.  Not so much faith in your words, but faith in God - to help you through the conversation and providing you with a good outcome - the right outcome - the outcome that was meant to be.

God Will Provide - When conducting a goal-setting exercise, it is important to get from the personal dream or goal, to the amount of sales required, to the commission required, to the number of sales required, to the daily activity required in order to meet and exceed the goal.  The focus then becomes on the activity rather than the goal.  This was always a very effective way of getting salespeople to focus on the prospecting required to fill the pipeline.  In many cases, it was prospecting that salespeople were not doing nearly enough of.  And I always told them that in my experience, when you take responsibility for doing the right things - for yourself - then good things would happen and the universe would reward you in the form of business that drops into your lap.  While I had them focusing on activity that would be rewarded, what I really believed was that God will provide if you do what you are supposed to do.

Those are two key things that I have taught and now you know that they were really about God.  Here is another key piece to the puzzle.

Gratitude, Asking for Help and Promises - I pray to God almost every night - that is if I don't fall asleep before I can get started.  I've been doing this for as long as I can remember and I feel a great sense of peace after my little chat.  I always - always - begin with thanks and gratitude.  For my God-given talent, life, accomplishments and family.  I continue by asking for help where I need it and praying for others.  I ask for what I want help with but not without thanking God for what I already have.  And this week, I promised that I would write this article if he helped.

The biggest secret of my sales success?  My faith in God.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, God, goal setting

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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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