Startups Almost Always Get The Sales Thing Wrong

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Mar 18, 2021 @ 20:03 PM

startup

It's short article Friday.

According to NetShopISP, there are about 305 million total startups created globally each year and around 1.35 million of those startups are tech related.

Did you have any idea the number was that huge?

Typically, founders of start ups put it all on the line - everything - their house, savings, loans from friends and family and perhaps bank loans, angel investments and more.  As brilliant as they are, in most cases, sales is not one of their strengths and it's not until the business has a logo and a website when they realize that success won't come until somebody sells something.  Oh-oh, now what?

It doesn't take long for the founder to realize that they can't be the salesperson, especially when their experience is financial, marketing, operational, technical or mechanical.  When it comes to making their first sales hires, entrepreneurs and startup founders tend to be confused by their options and often make the wrong decisions.

"We want to hire our first salesperson" means different things to different people and most of the time, the founders don't have a clue what it really means.  They are often under the impression that their first sales hire will go out and sell their tail off, then become the sales manager, make a few more sales hires, and become the Sales VP. Then that individual would be expected to build structure, systems and processes, scale and grow enough revenue to flip the company.  

Nice work if you can get it but they couldn't be more wrong.

The person who wants to be the first sales manager is not the person who will go out and hunt for 18 months.  And neither of them - not the hunter and not the sales manager - is the person to lead the strategic growth of the company while building systems and processes.  Nine of ten founders fail to understand that we are talking about three different people, not one person that will quickly transition through three completely different roles!

If the founders get it, and adjust their thinking to embrace the three people concept, they must make a decision about the next challenge.  Since they don't have the finances or the revenue to hire all three of those people, they need to choose one.  Which one?

Invariably, they miss the boat and vote to hire the VP of Sales.  Bzzzzz.  While that hire makes them feel good - the sales VP joins the tiny executive team - that simply cannot be the first sales hire.  Somebody has to sell something and it won't be that person. The Sales VP will be in the office writing plans and creating strategy but there won't be anyone to execute the plan and the company will burn through too much money before they figure out that they may not survive to hire a hunter!  According to Investopedia.com, 90% of those startups fail!

At this point, even if the founder is still on board with the hunter as the first hire, there is another challenge to overcome; they must hire a hunter who will succeed, otherwise they are right back here at the starting line again in 90 days.  How can they assure sales hiring success?  Objective Management Group (OMG). OMG's accurate and predictive sales candidate assessments take the worry out of sales selection by identifying candidates who will succeed in the role.  And they are guaranteed!  

Of course there are post hire challenges too, like who is going to onboard them, who is going to manage and coach them, and how long will it take them to figure out how to sell this stuff?  But that's for another day.  Rejoice in knowing that you just hired your first salesperson!

Image copyright 123RF

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, hiring salespeople, sales assessements, first sales hire

Key to Successfully Hiring Salespeople: Getting it Right Versus Getting it Over With

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Dec 21, 2020 @ 08:12 AM

8 Ways You May Be Washing Your Hair Wrong | Shape

I'll get to the content related to the title, but first, some context.

In March, at the beginning of the pandemic, I wasn't paying attention to where I was walking and slammed my big toe into a door.  I destroyed the nail. Not wanting to lose it I superglued it back in place and several months after it turned black, it fell off, revealing an emerging new nail that had grown half way to the tip of my toe.  It took 8 months for a new nail to fully replace the old nail but my replacement nail was perfect and clearly an upgrade over my tired, old, destroyed nail.  

Let's discuss what that has to do with hiring salespeople.

There are typically two approaches to hiring salespeople: choosing between getting it over with, or getting it right. 

Getting it over with involves a lot of short cuts, and in more than 50% of the cases, disappointment and frustration because you got it wrong.  If you got it wrong there are two more options: living with it or taking the shampoo approach: rinse and repeat.

It's a vicious cycle of hiring the wrong way, making the wrong decisions, needing to start over, and repeating the process again and again and again. Groundhog day.  It can take months or even years before you get the right salesperson into that role.

On the other hand, what would happen if you took the broken nail approach?  Sure, it might take longer, but instead of just getting it over with and dealing with the consequences of your choice, you choose getting it right and being done for the long term.

What does getting it right involve?

  • A well thought-out repeatable sales recruiting process
  • Role Specific criteria for success
  • Well-worded job posting on the right job sites using the right parameters (like Indeed)
  • Applicant Tracking system (like RecruiterBox for hiring  up to a few or the BigGuys for bigger projects)
  • Accurate and Predictive sales-specific assessment that is customized to your criteria (like OMG)
  • Scoring system (for objectivity)
  • Great interviewing skills (to challenge every claim on their resume)
  • Patience (waiting for the ideal candidate rather than the first one you like enough to hire)
  • Discipline (no skipping steps)
  • Thorough onboarding (a formal 90-day onboarding program)

A sales manager at an OMG client told a candidate they were going to move forward subject to the results of the OMG assessment.  The sales manager's approach was a huge mistake.  He interviewed prior to assessing when he should have assessed first. He fell in love with a candidate, but still had to assess because it was company policy. That suggested to the candidate that the assessment was the defining criteria when in reality, the assessment is one of around a dozen additional data points that all matter, including, but not limited to cover letters, resumes, experience, expertise, fit, phone presence, interviews, references, intelligence, professionalism, respect, employment tenure, and background checks.  The sales manager raised the candidate's expectations only to destroy those expectations and get upset when the assessment did not recommend the candidate.  You must know that BEFORE you waste everyone's time interviewing and getting emotional!  

Recruiting salespeople doesn't need to be difficult or complicated, but it is a process and needs to be completed thoroughly and correctly.  Ask yourself this question: eighteen months from now, would you prefer to have spent five months to get it right and have a productive new salesperson, or three months getting it over with, only to have to do it again four months later, and again four months after that.  Choose getting it right over getting it over with.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales recruiting, HR, human resources, sales leadership, hiring salespeople, sales assessements

Masks and Sales Assessments - You Lose a Little Freedom and Control for Safety and Confidence

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Sep 18, 2020 @ 13:09 PM

mask-in-public

A short end-of-the-week post.

Earlier this week I wrote this article about correlation versus causation.  I compared analyzing restaurant dining and positive Covid-19 tests, and assessment findings and results.  This article will depart from correlation and causation but we'll still use the Pandemic as a metaphor for certain sales assessment experiences.  

I wear a mask whenever I leave the house or the car.  As someone in the vulnerable age group for Covid-19, a mask makes me feel much safer and more confident when I encounter other people.  When I wear my mask, I lack some of the freedom I previously had and I lose some control because I can't see where my feet are when I'm walking down a flight of stairs!  Of course that's only problematic if I miss a stair and knock on wood, that hasn't happened in the first 6 months of the Pandemic.

You lose a little freedom and control but you feel a lot safer and more confident when going out in public.

The same thing happens when clients use Objective Management Group's (OMG) accurate and predictive sales candidate assessments.  They lose a little freedom because they no longer arbitrarily interview salespeople who they feel like interviewing, and refrain from simply offering positions to people because they have a gut feeling about a candidate.   However, they lose some control because one half to two-thirds of the candidates will not be recommended when they aren't great fits for the particular sales role for which the company is hiring, or simply aren't very good salespeople - period.

HIRING-PANDEMIC

Companies that use OMG sales candidate assessments for sales selection are seeing huge improvements in applications, assessments completed (the candidate pool), and a sharp decrease in recommended (more lousy sales candidates and/or imperfect fits for the role) candidates, cost per assessment, days to hire and compensation.

quota-attrition

Companies that use OMG for sales selection have 80% higher quota attainment, and 238% lower attrition. 

You lose a little freedom and control to feel a lot safer and more confident when offering sales candidates a position.

Image copyright 123 RF

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales recruiting, hiring salespeople, OMG Assessment, sales selelction

How the Correlation Between Restaurants and Covid 19 Applies to Sales Assessments

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Sep 17, 2020 @ 06:09 AM

wearing masks

Do you hate meetings as much as I do?

They're the worst.  But I have one weekly meeting that's always uplifting and productive.

I'm talking about my weekly meeting with John Pattison, COO of Objective Management Group (OMG). He happened to mention a report released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) pointing to the correlation between people who recently dined at a restaurant and later tested positive for Covid-19.  Of course the media was doing its best to spread misinformation as the article titles below suggest:

The report actually included facts they didn't share in their titles, like:

  • It was not known whether they dined inside or outside
  • It did not say that they contracted Covid-19 at the restaurant or because they ate at a restaurant

restaurants

John pointed out that this is a clear case of correlation, but not causation.  In other words, there is no proof that eating at restaurants caused anyone to contract the virus.  He said there could be many reasons why people eating at restaurants also have higher rates of infection.  For example, people who don’t like to wear masks might be more likely to eat at restaurants.  Assuming that is true, the cause is more likely to be a lack of mask wearing, not eating in the restaurant.  

But does it really matter whether this is causation?  Is there that big of a difference?  Is correlation enough?  It depends on what you are trying to show.  Let's take sales assessments for example.

All assessments produce a number of findings and scores, most in the context of personality or behavioral styles.  When used to assess salespeople, they can make a case that there is a correlation between a finding like drive, and sales success.  Correlation, not causation.   Why?  because drive does not cause sales success.  There are lots of people with drive who were epic failures at selling!

Personality and behavioral styles assessments are not sales specific, even when their publishers refer to them as sales assessments.  They were not built to measure sales competencies, but instead attempt to correlate personality and behavioral findings to sales.  None of the assessments in this category are sales specific, they don't measure actual sales competencies, and there is no causation. The information they provide is simply nice to know, but unfortunately, not predictive of sales success.  

OMG's sales assessment was built for sales, is used only for sales, measures all 21 Sales Core Competencies, has 280 sales-specific findings and is extremely predictive of sales success.  For an assessment to have predictive validity though, its findings must correlate to on the job performance.  There's that correlation word again.  Since there only needs to be correlation, does that mean that causation isn't important?  Causation is not required, but it is vitally important.  

For example, one of the differences between sales producers and sales imposters is the difference between whether they can sell versus whether they will sell.  Can vs. Will. Who needs another salesperson whose best sales call is the one where they convince you to hire them?  You want salespeople who will find and close new business.  There is causation between Will to Sell and sales success.

Of course there are other examples.  A candidate who scores high in OMG's Consultative Seller competency and Value Seller competency will perform successfully in a complex sales environment.  There is causation. 

A candidate who scores high in the Hunter competency will succeed in a cold-calling sales environment.  Causation.

Here's another way of looking at correlation and causation.  Someone who scores well in a personality assessment will generally do quite well at developing, building and maintaining relationships.  It's a one-way correlation.  Why?  Because someone who is good at developing, building and maintaining relationships is not necessarily a good salesperson.  There is no causation.

Back to my meeting with John.  While we were meeting, Guy Kawasaki's twitter post appeared.

The OMG Sales Candidate Assessment is a really great cake but John and I agreed that despite a visual dashboard that tells the story of the candidate and effectively illustrates the scores for all 21 Sales Core Competencies, it has dog poop for frosting compared to the look we believe we can create.  We agreed to reimagine the dashboard and how we visually show each of the 21 Sales Core Competencies throughout the report so that we have the sweetest, most beautiful looking frosting ever spread on an assessment.  Stay tuned for an all-new look to the OMG Sales Candidate Assessment coming in early 2021.  In the meantime, it would be malpractice to hire salespeople without taking advantage of the most accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment on the planet.

Images copyright 123RF and 123 RF

Topics: Dave Kurlan, recruiting salespeople, Sales Candidate, hiring salespeople, Correlation, personality assessments, personality test, coronavirus, covid-19, causation

The Best Solutions for Hiring Great Salespeople for Your Company

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Aug 28, 2020 @ 12:08 PM

plane

Would you fly on a huge jet from Minneapolis, Minnesota to St. Paul, Minnesota, usually a 15-minute drive?

Would you take a train between intersections of the same city block, usually a 2-minute walk?

Would you take a bus to the bottom of your driveway - usually a 1-minute walk or less?

Would you walk from Boston to Miami - a 3-hour plus plane flight?

These are all examples of inappropriate solutions to the simple question, "What is the best way to get there from here?"

How about the simple question, "What is the best way to assure that the salespeople I am about to hire will succeed in the chosen role?"

An OMG Partner pointed me to this article which has 7 assessment solutions. 6 of the recommendations are every bit as inappropriate as the solutions to my travel questions.

There are three additional questions that must be asked in order to answer the primary question that asks the best way to hire the right salespeople:

Are assessments in general good enough to identify those salespeople?  There are many types of assessments, including intelligence, honesty and integrity (illegal in some US states), personality (challenged in the courts), behavioral styles, cognitive ability and of course, skill-specific tests.  Because most of these assessments can be provided to any potential employee and are not specific to sales, the answer is a loud and resounding NO.

Are personality assessments good enough to identify those salespeople?  Personality assessments are not role-specific so they have been challenged in the court.  The dimensions and findings in Personality assessments are not predictive of anything and there is no specific personality type (including Meyers-Briggs, 16PF, DiSC, and Caliper which were all mentioned in the article) that indicates that one is a better salesperson than another.  Again, the answer is a loud and resounding NO.

Is OMG's sales-specific assessment a personality test?  Despite its inclusion in the article's list of 7 assessment solutions, Objective Management Group (OMG) is NOT a personality assessment. OMG provides a sales-specific assessment that measures a sales candidate's capabilities in all 21 Sales Core Competencies as well as several additional sales-specific competencies. Does it help identify the right salespeople because it is sales specific?  That is part of the reason but the more important reason is that OMG is validated using Predictive Validity.  Predictive. Validity.  Most validations show that an assessment is properly constructed and will provide consistent and reliable results. That is Construct Validity. On the other hand, Predictive Validity correlates the findings to on-the-job performance.  It is not enough though to simply identify good salespeople; you must identify the right salespeople for the role or roles in question.  Configurations for each role are customized so that the ideal salespeople are recommended for the company's specific role(s).  Right people in the right seats.  It's about getting sales selection right.  OMG has proven its accuracy and track record in sales selection having just passed 2 million sales assessments in 30,000 companies.  In the case of OMG, the answer is a loud and resounding YES.

Here's another question.  Why only 30,000 companies?  If OMG is that predictive and accurate, shouldn't it be used in 3 million companies?  I don't think there are 3 million B2B companies that qualify but certainly there are 300,000.  So again, why only 30,000?

There are 3 answers that deserve consideration.

Ego.  Far too many sales leaders believe that their gut instinct is more accurate than some assessment.  Given that the overall success rate for hiring salespeople is hit or miss with an emphasis on miss, they couldn't be more wrong.  Of the candidates who were not recommended, but clients hired them despite OMG's warning, 75% failed inside of 6 months.  Of the candidates who were recommended and eventually hired, 92% rose to the top half of the sales force within 12 months.

Knowledge.  Far too many HR leaders believe that their expertise is in hiring and either don't need an assessment or they choose one they are familiar with, like DiSC, Caliper, Predictive Index or Myers-Briggs.   The reality is that only 14% of all HR professionals understand how assessments work.

Stupidity.  At some large companies, in-house counsel has banned the use of assessments.  While they often justify their own existence, this stupid practice occurs out of ignorance.  While attorneys are protecting their clients from law-suits alleging discriminatory hiring practices, only personality assessments have been successfully challenged in court.  Remember, OMG is not a personality assessment - it's sales-specific, or in other words, a role-specific assessment which is perfectly legal to use, has never been challenged in court, and shows no adverse impact on protected minorities.

If you aren't already using them, check out OMG's Sales Candidate Assessments.  You'll improve your sales hiring success rate immediately!

If you aren't familiar with all 21 Sales Core Competencies, check out some of the data here.

Image Copyright

Topics: sales assessment, sales hiring, assessments, hiring salespeople, sales testing, sales hiring process, hiring mistake, sales hiring tools, predictive sales test

One Thing Your Company Must Do Right Now to Increase Sales

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, May 13, 2020 @ 12:05 PM

cherry-picking

Most in the cherry-picking news media are continuing to pound us with bad stuff: record unemployment, 80,000 dead, lockdowns into August, 30 trillion in debt, economy will be slow to recover, you'll be jailed if you open your business too soon, schools to remain closed in September, people will die, etc.  But there is good stuff going on that they aren't talking about because, for the most part, the media doesn't care about sharing the good stuff.  It's bad for ratings.   

For example, since the 30 million who temporarily lost their jobs are receiving unemployment at more than 100% of what they were earning before, they aren't facing the hardship the media would lead you to believe and the money is there for a reboot when it comes.  But the really good news is for companies that are able to hire salespeople.  Consider this!

Do you have cash on hand?  Do you have access to cash?  Money is almost free right now so don't discount traditional borrowing!  If you can invest some money, now is definitely the time to hire salespeople.  Whether you want to expand your geographical coverage, the verticals you call on, the audience you sell to, the products you offer, want more saturation in your existing space, or want to upgrade the quality and performance of your existing sales force, THERE WILL NEVER BE A BETTER TIME TO HIRE SALESPEOPLE.  EVER.

Consider the following statistics from Objective Management Group (OMG), who have assessed 1,972,665 salespeople.HIRING-PANDEMIC

You are looking at historical shifts in statistics!

If you can find a way to spend the money now (cost of tools and 3-months salary), and you use OMG'S predictive sales candidate assessment, you will see some incredible swings:

Your sales candidate pool will increase in size by 600.  Yes.  They are out there!

The number of sales candidates completing their sales candidate assessments will increase by 958% because it is an employer's market.  Just three months ago it was a candidate's market.

The overall assessment recommendation rate will decrease by 45% because there are a lot of crappy salespeople out there right now. Also, you will be able to raise the bar on the minimum requirements for a recommendation because there are a lot of good salespeople out there too.

Because of all the available sales talent right now, you will be able to identify and hire your salespeople 450% more quickly.

While the fixed cost for a sales candidate assessment license remains the same, the relative cost per assessment decreases by 958% and your annual compensation drops by 11% due to supply and demand.

Even if the market you sell to is sluggish right now, that won't be the case by the end of the summer.  Don't wait until then to hire!  Everything will shift again by Labor Day.  Both supply and quality of available sales talent will decrease as demand increases, the time to hire will increase, and the time to onboard your new salespeople will take longer as well.  DO. THIS. NOW.

Your current and new salespeople will face unprecedented challenges in the form of delayed closings, resistance to being sold anything at all, and resistance to spending more money than anyone has to.  This resistance will come in the form of stalls, put-offs, objections, excuses and sob stories.  Your current and new salespeople must have the skills to differentiate, take a consultative approach and sell value if you are to have any chance of maintaining your margins.  If your salespeople move forward armed with only the limited skills they had prior to the pandemic, your win rate and margins will be crushed.  YOU MUST EVALUATE YOUR EXISTING SALES FORCE, DETERMINE HOW BIG THE SKILLS GAPS ARE, AND PROVIDE THIS CRUCIAL SKILLS TRAINING NOW.  If you wait, you will find yourself fighting to survive from the back of the pack.

Image copyright 123RF

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, grow sales, recruiting salespeople, hiring salespeople, sales test, personality test, recovery

The New York Times' Misleading Article on Assessments and Their Use Cases

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Mar 03, 2020 @ 13:03 PM

NYTimes

I'm not usually late but I'm really late on this topic!

Back in September The New York Times, which is often accused of publishing fake news, published an interesting article comparing personality tests to astrology.  The story included specific assessments like The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, The Hartman Personality Profile (Color Code), Plum, and DiSC.  Myers-Briggs reports on sixteen dimensions of personality, the Hartman Profile has four dimensions of personality, Plum uses AI to predict cultural awareness, teamwork and communications, and DiSC has four dimensions of behavioral styles.

I had so many reactions to this article and I have attempted to collect and assemble them into a coherent article that I believe will be worth your while.

THE EXAMPLES: To base an entire article on four assessments is like writing about the automobile industry and using a GMC pick-up truck, a Ford Focus, a Dodge Challenger and a Jeep SUV as examples without mentioning that there are 60 brands which include foreign and domestic, high-end cars, muscle cars, limos, low-end cars, electric cars, three sizes of SUV's, coupes and sedans, exotic cars, trucks and more. Four examples do not come close to helping you understand the choices or capabilities of assessments.

THE COMPARISON: To suggest that assessments are like astrology is like saying that small businesses are hobbies for those who own them.  Some of them are, but most are full-time, profitable ventures that provide their owners with a nice lifestyle.  Some of the 100 assessments are probably like astrology but not the mainstream assessments.

THE USE CASES: The article provides both good and bad examples of use cases but the theme of this article seems to be that assessments will help to maintain good cultural fit and matching up skills to jobs.  The problem is that personality and behavioral styles assessments don't identify skills - they identify traits and tendencies!  You can't match traits and tendency to specific jobs as they are job agnostic.

CULTURAL FIT: Cultural fit is important and some assessments can certainly help to achieve and maintain that but surely you want more than cultural fit for your salespeople.  When it comes to hiring salespeople, you want to know, before you hire them, that they will succeed in the intended role.  But those four assessments, and most of the 100 assessments on the market, cannot possibly make that prediction because they don't measure sales competencies.  Personality and behavioral styles assessments measure traits and tendencies and while some attempt to adapt those findings for sales, the conclusions are leaps of faith at best, and like playing pin the tail on the donkey at worst.

PSYCHOMETRIC TESTS: The author used the term "psychometric" tests" 8 times without explaining what a psychometric test is.  According to Job Test Prep, a psychometric test, "is any activity or assessment that is conducted in order to evaluate a candidate's performance and includes, but is not limited to, skills, knowledge, abilities, personality traits, attitudes and job/academic potential.  There are many psychometric test styles and formats with 3 main areas....aptitude tests, behavioral tests and assessment centers."  In others words, all pre-employment assessments fall under the category of psychometric tests!  Eric Shapiro, who is quoted throughout the article, said, "If I was the United States czar of psychometric tests, there’d need to be some evidence base."

WHAT THEY WROTE ABOUT VERSUS REALITY: There is only one assessment that:

  • Was built for sales
  • Was created by a sales expert
  • Measures all 21 Sales Core Competencies each with approximately 10 attributes
  • Is backed by Science
  • Has been externally validated three times in the last eight years
  • Has been internally validated 210 times in the last five years
  • Uses predictive validity (findings correlate to on-the-job performance)
  • Has been used to assess and/or evaluate salespeople
  • Will accurately predict how a salesperson will perform in the specific role
  • Has a sliding scale where the criteria for a recommendation becomes more difficult to achieve as the difficulty of the role increases
  • Is customizable for the industry/business/selling role
  • Has an optional second layer of customization based on a top/bottom comparison/analysis of your existing salespeople
  • Has 88% of recommended/hired sales candidates attain quota
  • Has an attrition rate of only 8% from recommended/hired candidates

I am describing Objective Management Group's (OMG) accurate and predictive Sales Candidate Assessment

It is not a horoscope.

It does not measure cultural fit.

It is not a personality assessment.

It is not a behavioral styles assessment.

It does not use colors.

It does not measure cognitive ability.

It does not measure anything other than sales capabilities.

Below is a sample dashboard from page 2 of a 21 page sales candidate assessment.

dashboard

Using OMG is a no brainer!  Watch this 2-minute video to see how easy it is to get started assessing your sales candidates!

 

 

Comments?  Type them on the LinkedIn discussion thread for this article.

Image Copyright  iStock Photos

Topics: Dave Kurlan, assessment, hiring salespeople, Personality Tests, sales selection

An Inside Look at Why 3 Good Salespeople Failed and 3 So-So Salespeople Succeeded

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jan 09, 2020 @ 06:01 AM

failure

You hired a great salesperson that didn't work out.  You hired a so-so salesperson that did work out.  You hired another great one that kicked ass, and another one that was so-so.  That's the story of hiring salespeople.  It's mostly hit or miss with an emphasis on miss.

In this article I'm going to share an actual example that illustrates why this happens so frequently.  I'll show you tangible differences between three salespeople who succeeded and three who failed in the same role at the same company.

Most of the time when we perform these analyses the differences are usually seen inside of the 21 Sales Core Competencies - the performers are strong in the necessary competencies and the failures are not.

So let's dig into some data, shall we?

One of the ways that Objective Management Group (OMG) customizes a role configuration to recommend the ideal salespeople for a particular role is to conduct a top/bottom analysis.  We attempt to identify 15-20 scores or findings that differentiate the top salespeople from the bottom salespeople.  In small companies we use three tops and three bottoms.  In mid-size companies we use five tops and bottoms and in large companies ten tops and bottoms.

We manually analyze and compare those top and bottom salespeople against 280 scores and findings to identify those which differentiate the tops from the bottoms.  As I mentioned, the differentiations are usually found in the 21 sales core competencies or the attributes within those competencies.

Yesterday, I completed one of these analyses and the salespeople who were failing appeared to be stronger salespeople than those who were succeeding.  That's not good!  But I've learned to stay with it, not give up too soon, and remember that if I'm patient enough the differences will shine through.  That's how it happened with this team but many of the differences weren't in the 21 Sales Core Competencies.  They were simpler, more basic, and more behavioral.  Check out the screen shot below and I'll recap it beneath the image where you can see a sea of green at the top and a sea of red at the bottom.

top-bottom-Jan-2020

There were nineteen findings identified that were differentiators.  Only half came from the 21 Sales Competencies, like:

  • Sales DNA  (average of 6 Sales DNA Competencies) Score of >76
  • Supportive Buy Cycle (one of the Sales DNA Competencies) Score of >56 
  • Comfortable Discussing Money (one of the Sales DNA Competencies) Score of 100 
  • Handles Rejection  (one of the Sales DNA Competencies) Score of >60
  • Hunting (a pure selling competency) Score of >50 
  • Account Management (a selling competency) Score of >66
  • Prospects Consistently (an attribute of the Hunter competency)
  • Gains Trust Early (an attribute of the BuildsTrust competency - not one of the 21 Sales Core Competencies)
  • Makes Decisions (an attribute of the Buy Cycle competency)
  • Will Uphold Margins (an attribute of the Buy Cycle competency)

It was more unusual to see the following findings as differentiators.  These are more behavioral and are well outside the 21 Sales Competencies.  As you read through them you can clearly see why salespeople with decent selling skills would fail when these findings appear as weaknesses:

  • Time and Organizational Skills
  • Self-Starter
  • Works independently
  • Business Minded
  • Prior experience calling on SMB's
  • Prefer to be recognized for achievements
  • Previously sold into a very competitive marketplace
  • Figure it Out Factor >61 (a compilation of 10 findings that predict a quick ramp-up)
  • Compatibility with the Role's selling requirements - score of >67

If they can't get started, organized and work on their own, in a remote selling role, the chances of success are nearly zero, regardless of skills!

The minimum required scores for success change by role, company, industry, target customer, price points, competition, difficulty, complexity, sales cycle, resistance, and more.

The three salespeople from the company above that were failing didn't have bad selling skills.  Remember, I looked at 280 findings and their selling skills were good to excellent in many of the 280 findings.  But it's not if they can sell; it's if they will sell!  The Sales DNA scores, and the non-sales skill findings combine to show us that their tops WILL sell and their bottoms only CAN sell.

When a company has a way to measure can vs. will they can hire with confidence.  It's like having a crystal ball.

Every top/bottom analysis looks different and as a result, every role configuration for sales candidate assessments is different. The findings we incorporate are different and the minimum required scores are different. Success in one role, at one company, in one industry, with various levels of difficulty, complexity, calling into certain verticals or geographies, selling with certain price points against various levels of competition and various sales cycle lengths, all serve to uniquely change the requirements for success used in the role configuration.

A sales-specific, customizable, accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment like the one that OMG provides is the crystal ball for 29,000 companies and it's why OMG was just awarded the gold medal for Top Sales Assessment by Top Sales World for the 9th consecutive year.

You can see all 21 Sales Core Competencies here.

You can checkout OMG's Sales Candidate Assessments here.

Leave your comments on the LinkedIn thread for this discussion.

Image copyright iStock Photos

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, hiring salespeople, top performers, OMG Assessment

Good Sales Recruiting is Like Selecting Movies and TV Shows

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Nov 05, 2019 @ 10:11 AM

prime-video-screen-shot-bb-alt-d1f4ae787d684f6bb141e35884e187de

Do you like movies and TV Shows?  I love them!

How do you go about selecting the next movie or show you will watch?  Do you look for a specific show, watch the trailer and if you like the trailer, watch it?  Or, do you look at all of the new releases, or everything in a particular genre, narrow down the selections, watch several trailers, and finally choose one?

Most people use the second scenario which, by the way, is a very good approach for selecting and hiring salespeople.  Unfortunately, that's not how most companies go about it.

You need to cast the net as far and wide as you can to generate a large candidate pool.  Then you need to assess all of the candidates in the pool.  Most companies either don't use assessments, don't use the right ones, or wait until the final interview to ask candidates to take the assessment.  Improper use affects quota attainment and attrition.  See the stats below:

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As you can see from the slide, companies that don't use assessments have a 49% quota attainment rate, compared to 61% for companies using assessments and 88% for companies using Objective Management Group's (OMG) accurate and predictive sales-specific assessment.  Isn't that compelling?

Consider these actual use results from an OMG user below:

use-graph

This global company, which hires around 30 salespeople per year, is not only the picture of consistency with the number of assessments used, but recommendation rates are within the normal range for roles considered to have significant difficulty.  More importantly, look at the number of candidates they had to assess in order to hire the 29 who had the sales capabilities to succeed in the company's various sales roles!  That's why you need to cast the net far and wide.  910 might seem like a large number but it's only 18 candidates per week spread among their many global locations.

If your typical candidate pool has many fewer candidates and you don't use an accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment, it's no surprise as to why your sales recruiting efforts are hit or miss with an emphasis on miss.  When you hire salespeople, they are all supposed to meet or exceed expectations for pipeline building and revenue generation.  It shouldn't be cause for celebration when they do!

Assessing all of your candidates up front allows you to focus on only those candidates who are recommended for the role, saving time and money that would be wasted calling and interviewing candidates who don't have what it takes or wouldn't be a good fit for the role.

You can retool your sales recruiting process and the adoption of a sales-specific, accurate and predictive assessment is one of those changes you can quickly and easily make.

Share your comments in the LinkedIn discussion of this article.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, recruiting salespeople, hiring salespeople, sales selection, sales assessments, OMG Assessment

Six Overlooked Factors When Hiring Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Apr 11, 2019 @ 14:04 PM

turnover

This week I've been sick with my annual bout of asthmatic bronchitis - fun stuff - and the question I've been asking myself is, "how long will it last this year?"  Historically, it's takes 2-4 weeks for this to subside and it sucks big time during that 2-4 weeks.  But thinking about time frames got me thinking about one of the universal timelines and challenges facing companies everywhere.

How long should it take for a new salesperson to become successful and why do so many of them fail?

There are six factors in total but let's begin with those on the client-side:

  1. The length of your sales cycle
  2. The length of your learning curve
  3. A Transition period

If you have a six-month sales cycle, a three-month learning curve and it takes 3 months to transition from their old world to your business, that translates to 12 months of pipeline building before you can reasonably expect your new salesperson to start closing business.

On the salesperson side, there are also three factors:

  1. Length of their runway (cash or safety net to survive a transition that doesn't guarantee as much money)
  2. Degree of urgency (how much urgency they feel to get off to a great start)
  3. The theory of relativity  (the more difficult your business is compared with their old business, the shorter the runway becomes)

If your new salesperson has a six-month runway, medium urgency, and selling in your world is more difficult than the world from which they came, there is a negative six-month gap and it's pretty clear that the salesperson will fail.

These factors are but a handful of the factors that go into successful sales selection strategies.  If you select the right salespeople up front, you'll experience much less turnover, fewer delays to growing your revenue, and build stronger sales teams.

Objective Management Group offers the most predictive, accurate and customizable sales-specific candidate assessment on planet earth. You can check it out here.

Image Copyright iStock Photos

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales recruiting, hiring salespeople, sales talent, sales selection

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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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