Is 28 Years Long Enough for a Sales Assessment Trial ?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Sep 19, 2022 @ 07:09 AM

long-time

The Sony PlayStation, Gorilla Glue, Aquafina, and The George Forman Grill were all introduced in 1994.  You've heard of those but have you heard of Vamp Nail Polish or KoronaPay?  They were also introduced in 1994.

Objective Management Group's Sales Candidate Assessment was also introduced in 1994 and while 35,000 or so companies are raving fans, that represents less than 1% of the potential B2B market.  As successful as OMG is, and as legendary as our sales candidate assessment is, the reality is that relative to the potential size of the market, hardly anyone uses it.

Isn't 28 years long enough for us to prove ourselves?  

Clearly OMG is not for everyone. Companies that sell at the lowest price, companies that are the brand leaders, and companies that have a transactional sale don't need to hire good salespeople because their salespeople are order-takers.  But what about everyone else?

After consistently proving its legendary predictive accuracy making it a no-brainer to use OMG, there are five possible reasons why companies didn't use OMG  to assess their sales candidates over the past 28 years:

  1. They perceive OMG to be an inferior assessment.  I have never heard anyone say that and none of our partners have ever heard anyone say that but maybe some people feel this way and keep their thoughts to themselves.  In this day and age?  Are you kidding me?

    Based on all of the awards OMG has earned, its raving fans, and strong renewal rate, I don't believe this is ever the reason.

  2. Sales Leaders and sometimes even HR Directors, believe their gut instinct, experience, skills and expertise can out-perform OMG.  While the science disproves this, it is a common reason as to why companies don't use OMG to hire salespeople.  Even worse, some Sales Leaders feel that if they have to rely on a tool to hire salespeople it will make them appear weak.  It's an ego problem. 

    One Sales Leader had turned over 50% of his sales team and the other 50% were underperforming.  He had failed to hit forecast for 4 consecutive quarters but instead of blaming it on sales selection and/or training and coaching, he was blaming the company's pricing model and didn't believe salespeople could succeed with the current pricing.  While the right salespeople would perform fine with their pricing model, he didn't know how to identify the right salespeople and wasn't willing to spend money on an assessment that would effectively do that.

  3. "Legal" doesn't allow for the use of assessments.  Legal as a reason (LaaR) only occurs in large companies, and because the market is flooded with personality assessments that are not role specific or predictive.  Disgruntled candidates, who are not selected, could potentially blame their failure to land a job on a personality assessment, leaving companies potentially vulnerable to a law suit.  On the other hand, a role-specific assessment, like OMG, creates no such liability for a company so this line of thinking is very difficult to understand.  It's worth noting that Legal doesn't even get involved until either the CEO, HR Director and/or Sales Leader decides to utilize OMG. 

    One company was having trouble hiring 300 salespeople.  They had already hired 500 salespeople but 350 had quickly turned over and only 150 were actually selling for them.  They had a huge problem getting sales selection right so they gave OMG the verbal go-ahead but Legal put the kibosh on it.  The ill-conceived fear of a law suit outweighed the fact that their revenue generating car had its gears in reverse.  I think the weak CEO should have been fired for allowing legal to override his decision-making.

  4. HR is married to another assessment and feels it would be too difficult to learn a new assessment.  As Dave Mantel pointed out, HR is measured on their cost per hire and time to hire; not on sales performance. Unfortunately, these HR professionals believe selecting the most accurate and predictive sales assessment is not as important as their level of comfort, even if it will make their job easier.

    Why use a personality assessment to determine if they have the sales capabilities required to succeed in a particular sales role at the company?  As Aaron Prickel of Lushin & Associates put it, "You wouldn't give your son a pregnancy test to determine if he's using drugs!"   

  5. A Sales Candidate Assessment is not in the budget.  So?

    One company was paying their two worst salespeople a $60,000 base salary and those two salespeople were at 50% of quota.  In addition to the $120,000 the company was throwing out the window on two losers, they were failing to generate $1 million in revenue!  They needed to hire salespeople this year and only had to spend $7,500 with OMG to hire 6 ideal salespeople.  Somehow, they didn't have $7,500 to spend, but were OK throwing $120,000 out the window and accepting a $1 million short-fall.  Math does not seem to be a strong suit at this company.

Circling back to how the article began, isn't 28 years of helping companies improve their sales selection effectiveness a long enough trial to prove to the masses that OMG is a game changer for sales?  Consider these statistics:

Do you see it?  44% more salespeople achieve quota at companies that use OMG compared to companies that use another assessment, and 80% better than companies that don't use an assessment.  And sales attrition is 75% lower at companies that use OMG compared with companies that use another assessment and 237% lower than companies that don't use an assessment.  So much for gut instinct, experience, expertise and skills.

And this?  When a company hires a sales candidate that OMG doesn't recommend, 75% of those salespeople fail within 90 days.  When a company hires a sales candidate that OMG does recommend, 92% of those salespeople rise to the top half of their sales teams within 12 months.  So much for legal, ego, budgets, and comfort level.

There are 21 Sales Core Competencies, each with an average of 8 attributes, and OMG measures every single one of them.  Depending on the role, some attributes and competencies are more important than others.

Put science to work and rely on it to hire your next group of salespeople.

Request a sample Sales Candidate Assessment.  
Download free White Paper on Sales Selection.   
Begin a Free Trial

Let us know you want to Get Started. 

Image copyright 123RF 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales recruiting, hiring salespeople, Personality Tests, sales hiring test, sales assessments, OMG Assessment

Must Read - How a 15% Corporate Minimum Tax Will Impact Companies and Sales Teams

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Aug 10, 2022 @ 08:08 AM

You may have read that the latest legislation out of Washington DC provides $80 billion for the hiring, arming and training of close to 80,000 new IRS (Internal Revenue Service is the US Tax Agency) agents to nearly double the size of the agency.  Did you catch the part about arming IRS agents?  Wow. That makes the IRS larger than the State Department, Customs and Border Control, the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and the Pentagon (Military) combined.  Did I mention that 70,000 of them will be armed?  They also want to make sure that corporations pay their fair share so this legislation imposes a minimum 15% tax on corporations.

Why are they making these two moves and what does it have to do with selling?  Stay tuned and I'll try to answer both questions.

The primary point of today's article is to point out the irony of hiring 80,000 agents but you'll have to read a bit of background before I can point out the irony.

So why are they hiring 80,000 IRS agents?

They want the rich to pay their fair share and that sounds fair, but let's go beyond the headline and general talking point.  There are 724 billionaires in the US (of 2,775 worldwide) and it's not that hard to find a millionaire because there are 20 million of them in the US (50 million worldwide).  If they target billionaires it would work out to 110 new agents per billionaire.  Sounds like overkill.  They also want to make sure that corporations pay their fair share so this legislation imposes a minimum 15% tax on corporations. 

Let's focus on the 15% tax for a moment. I can think of only three ways for corporations to deal with that surcharge:

  1. Raise prices.  They've been raising prices throughout the supply chain crisis and the two years of inflation so additional price increases don't seem like they would be good business decisions.
  2. Lay-offs.  To illustrate how the math works, let's take a corporation generating $10 billion with pre-tax earnings of $1 billion.  A 15% tax would be $150 million.  They will probably layoff workers, not executives and the average  US worker earns just short of $52,000. That corporation would need to layoff 2,885 workers to pay that tax.  Or, if they need to purchase equipment they'll either delay the purchase  or layoff even more workers.  If they delay or even cancel the purchase, that will negatively impact salespeople and the companies that sell equipment to this corporation.
  3. Move operations out of the country.  In this scenario, everyone gets laid off, no taxes are paid by either the company or the laid off employees, and nothing gets sold to this company in the US. Salespeople and their companies lose here too.  When companies move operations off-shore, and with fewer customers for the companies serving them to sell to, they too must lay-off employees.

This impacts every one of the 56,000 companies generating $100 million and up. Do the math. If we were to be really, really conservative and pretend that all 56,000 companies generated only $100 million each, that would result in layoffs of only 1% of my earlier example, or less than 30 layoffs per company.  The math says that if you multiply 30 by 56,000 companies there would be nearly 2 million layoffs among the 56,000 companies, huge spending freezes, and delayed closings as the economy slows like gridlock at rush-hour.  Only it will be much worse.  Nearly 14,000 of those companies actually generate more than $500 million (2 million layoffs among the 14,000 companies) and 9,000 companies generate more than $1 billion (2.6 million layoffs among the 9,000 companies).  That's a total of 6.5 million lay-offs before we consider the ripple effect to the millions of SMB's.

Does anyone in Congress know even a little bit about economics and how business works?  Around 175 senators and congressmen have law degrees, so probably not!

Back to the IRS and then the irony of the policy.  80,000 new agents will run out of large companies to audit really quickly.  It's less than one company per new agent so who will they audit next? There aren't enough large corporations, billionaires and millionaires for such a huge army of agents so it's obvious that they will be targeting another group next.  It was reported that small businesses will be targeted because big companies can afford teams of lawyers and accountants to drag out the audit process but 17 million small businesses are much easier to audit and assess and then from which to collect additional taxes. Auditing small business owners is the path of least resistance!

Let's dig into the irony.

For the past 3-4 years, companies that have attempted to hire salespeople have found a limited number of candidates overall and even fewer quality, qualified candidates. When they hold out for the good candidates, instead of 30 days it is taking 3-6 months to get new salespeople hired and half the time, another company swoops in and hires the candidate before they can.  This is the experience companies are having today despite the existence of nearly 6 million professional salespeople to target in the US.   So how in the world will the IRS possibly hire 80,000 new agents when there are only around 1.4 million accountants in the USA and only 650,000 of them are CPAs?

Both parts of this legislation couldn't possibly make sense to anyone who can do math, who knows how business works, who knows anything about economics, or who knows what companies do with their earnings.  It is a stupid policy and stupid policy is probably an oxymoron.

If the 15% minimum tax policy becomes a super spreader for the recession it will impact salespeople and companies where it hurts the most by significantly depressing revenues and earnings. If that happens, the 15% tax won't be such a big deal because there won't be any earnings to tax.  So there's that.

To prepare for a more difficult selling environment, sales teams must learn how to grind it out to book difficult-to-schedule meetings, differentiate and sell value, overcome resistance, and reach the only person in the company who can make an exception to a spending freeze.

There are three steps to getting your team to this point:

  1. Evaluate the sales team to find out who can become proficient at these competencies, how big the gaps are, how much better the sales team can become, how much more revenue they can generate, what it will take to get them there in the area of sales process optimizations, methodology, training and coaching.
  2. Train and coach the ever-living hell out of your sales managers so that they can become great at coaching salespeople and holding them accountable.
  3. Train and coach the ever-living hell out of your salespeople.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, hiring salespeople, sales success, corporate taxes, IRS

Understanding Competency Based Assessments - What Ditch Diggers and Salespeople Have in Common!

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Jun 24, 2022 @ 13:06 PM

I use a tool called Zapier to create zaps that automate some of the tasks that I do.  Zapier's newsletter had an article on 11 tech tools you need during economic uncertainty or in other words, during a recession. I clicked on the article and the first tool recommendation was written by Linda Scorzo, CEO of Hiring Indicators on the topic of competency based assessment technology. She wrote the following:

"Using competency-based, job-specific assessment technology is an absolute must for anyone looking to up-level their hiring. Getting beyond the interview and into the heart and soul of your candidates can give you a truer gauge of can they do the job and thrive as a member of your team.
With a recession comes an increased need to hire and to protect every dollar by lessening the risk of turnover. Assessment technology...has shown time and time again how you can get in front of the eight-ball and hire qualified and dynamic candidates."

Do you have any idea how many assessments are actually job specific?

The assessments that companies most commonly use are personality and behavioral styles assessments and as such, are not job specific.  Cue Objective Management Group (OMG).  Its assessments are not only specific to sales but also role specific, as in outside roles like account executive, account manager, and channel manager, as well as inside roles like BDR, SDR, and account manager.

OMG's sales assessments measure candidates against 21 Sales Core Competencies (and several additional sales competencies) and compares candidates to the more than 2.2 million other sales candidates that OMG has assessed. This measurement standard is "normative" while personality and behavioral styles assessments tend to be "ipsative."  Ipsative scores provide a comparison within an individual and are NOT recommended to be used for recruitment and selection purposes because they don’t make a comparison between individuals.

Each OMG Sales Core Competency has an average of 8 attributes for a total of approximately 200 sales specific findings, customized to the specific role for which the candidate is being considered.  OMG adjusts the requirements for a positive recommendation based on the difficulty of a specific sales job and role.  Various industries, businesses, sales roles, complexities, sales cycles, price points, territories, markets, audiences and decision makers are not remotely similar so a sales assessment is only useful if those factors are considered in the scoring criteria and subsequent recommendation.

As an example, let's say you were seeking to hire a ditch digger.  While you must identify someone who is strong, can use tools and dig holes, the width and depth of the hole, as well as the difficulty of the digging is more important.  Will this individual dig in sand, screened loom, compacted soil, clay, gravel, or rock?  If an assessment, even one that was specific to ditch-digging, only looked at the tools they had available and their ability to dig in general, it would not necessarily identify someone who could dig monumentally huge holes in soil with large rocks.

It's the same with a sales assessment.  A sales assessment that scored a territory salesperson who takes orders from plant managers for industrial supplies equally with a salesperson who sells multi-million dollar capital equipment to the C Suite of the Fortune 500 enterprises, is of limited value.  When the assessment can be configured to specify the requirements for those two sales roles and distinguish between the candidates applying for those two sales roles, we have perfection.

Let's return to part of the the quote at the beginning of this article where Linda writes, "Getting beyond the interview and into the heart and soul of your candidates can give you a truer gauge of can they do the job and thrive as a member of your team."  You do need a gauge, but the gauge should not be if they can do the job, but whether they will do the job.  OMG effectively distinguishes between can sell (you've met those ghosts - candidates you hired who are no longer with you but they still haunt you!) versus will sell (they are your top performers).  The other part of that quote which needs to be modified is where she says "getting beyond the interview."  You shouldn't be wasting time interviewing those candidates who can sell when you can focus only on those candidates who will sell in the specific role for which they are being considered.  Use the assessment early in the sales recruiting process to identify and disqualify the candidates that are not recommended.

OMG's sales, sales management and sales leadership candidate assessments are legendary for how accurate and predictive they are.  Want to learn more?

Download a sample.

Sign up for a free trial (you must be a CEO, President, VP, GM, HR Director, Sales Leader or Sales Manager)

Start using OMG with Help! (An OMG Expert will contact you to walk you through the customization process and pricing options)

Start using OMG Right Now on Self-Serve (limited customization, limits on quantity, no portal access, no complimentary upgrades)

 

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, hiring salespeople, sales test, personality test, zapier

Can You Find The Perfect Sales Candidates for Your Sales Team?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Dec 01, 2021 @ 12:12 PM

recruiting

Have you tried recruiting salespeople lately?

It's a lot like it was in 2019, pre-pandemic, only different.

From time to time, I help clients recruit for key roles.  Unlike recruiters, I don't work on a contingency because I take responsibility for the entire recruiting process from soup to nuts and then the client makes the decisions on who to hire.  They pay a fee for services.  I specify the requirements, write the job postings, attract and source candidates, take the initial application, get them through Objective Management Group's (OMG) accurate and predictive candidate assessments, review resumes, conduct the first interview and then recommend candidates who are perfect fits for the roles.

With that for context, consider these two contradicting projects.   I am helping one company find a single needle-in-a-haystack sales leadership candidate and it has taken nearly six months.  I am helping another company find 3 sales leaders and received 3,765 applications.  What's the difference?

For the answer to be meaningful, we have to look at the entire job market, not just sales candidates.

According to this Reuters article, while the number of new US jobs ticked upwards in October, the US labor force has four million fewer workers than in 2019.  That could explain both the shortage of candidates and the skewed unemployment numbers.  [Update - US jobs report from November shows sharp decline in new jobs created.]

Yet, according to this article in TheBalance, there are still 7.4 million workers in the US who are unemployed.  7.4 unemployed plus 4 million fewer workers means that 11.4 million workers are at home despite there being reports of 10 million available jobs!

And according to this post from Statistica.com, the unemployment rate in the US has dropped by only 2.3% in the past 12 months.

The Wall St. Journal said that nearly 20 million US workers resigned during the spring and summer of 2021.

At the same time, this post from Statistica.com shows that there are nearly 2 million MORE workers in the US than in 2019!

And finally, this article from Verizon.com says that there are more than 91 million people in the US who are not working.

So if we combine all of these data points and place them in the context of hiring salespeople, we can draw some interesting conclusions:

The candidates may or may not be currently working.  They may have temporarily retired, be working but ready to leave for a better offer, or not looking to leave at all.

They are out there, but they are being flaky.  29% of the candidates who applied for the jobs I posted did not respond to calls, texts or emails, and 31% of the group that did respond would not take the time to complete online applications and assessments.

I looked at the variables for the two companies I was helping.  I was able to eliminate a lot of them because I was running both campaigns, used the same job sites, used similar job postings, engaged the same way, made the same two asks up front, and conducted similar video interviews.  The only two variables that were different were location and compensation.

There was MUCH more interest in the opportunity where remote or an hour from a major airport were the criteria, as compared to the requirements of a specific locale and in-office presence.

Base salaries were NOT factors but there was MUCH more interest when total compensation exceeded $200,000-$300,000 as compared with total compensation that would reach $100,000-$200,000.  

So sales, sales management and sales leadership candidates are fickle right now, will apply if the total compensation is a no-brainer, and if they don't have to commute to an office.  Otherwise, they'll stay where they are or stay home.

Image copyright 123RF

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales recruiting, HR, sales leadership, hiring salespeople, OMG Assessment

The Chainsaw Massacre and Building Sales Teams

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Sep 14, 2021 @ 09:09 AM

chainsaw

I was on the back of our property with my chain saw and I was ready to take down the third tree of the afternoon.  I determined where the tree needed to fall, made the two front cuts to create a hinge and made the final cut in the back to take it down.  Only it didn't go according to plan.  Somehow, the tree began to drop right where I was standing, ninety degrees from where I intended.  If cutting down trees is a hit or miss proposition, this was definitely a miss - as long as I could get out of its path quickly enough.  There is a science and a process for taking down trees and obviously, I didn't follow it properly!

Despite the existence of both a science and a process for hiring salespeople, most efforts also tend to be hit or miss and the emphasis always seems to be on miss.  There are plenty of reasons why, and we can discuss some of them, but the biggest and most insane reason is...

There are processes, websites and tools and plenty of help is available every step of the way. With all of those resources, why is hiring salespeople still such a hit or miss proposition? 

The answer is: Stubbornness.

HR professionals are stubborn because they think hiring salespeople is the same as hiring everyone else in the company.  It isn't.  Salespeople have three additional challenges which no other employee has to face:

  1. Competition - competitors will try to prevent your new salespeople from succeeding. Who other than salespeople in the company have to overcome that?
  2. Resistant and Disinterested Prospects - they hide from your new salespeople and when your salespeople do manage to get them to the phone they are resistant and disinterested.  Who other than salespeople in the company have to overcome that?
  3. Fear - salespeople have a lot of self-limiting beliefs, discomforts and fears that prevent them from doing some of the things required to be successful in sales even after they have learned to do them.  Is there any other role in the company where demons interfere with getting the work done?

Sales Managers are stubborn when they insist that their years of hiring salespeople validates their gut instinct and because of their experience they will get it right.  Yes - they can get it right as often as 50% of the time.  With only 50% of salespeople hitting quota each year, sales is the only profession where employees can fail dramatically and still have a job.  Unfortunately, as Elton John sang, "I'm still standing" is not a KPI for sales success.  Meeting or exceeding quota each year is.

CEOs are stubborn because they refuse to hold their Sales Leaders accountable for eliminating mediocrity. That mediocrity includes not just the horrible quota achievement, but failing to meet forecasts and sales hiring results.  How long would it take the CEO to fire the CFO if the CFO could only account for 50% of the company's money?

Recruiters - both internal and external - are stubborn because they don't want to change the way they do things.  As such they attempt to prevent companies from using Objective Management Group's (OMG) very accurate and predictive sales candidate assessments because it makes their job so much more difficult when they have to present quality candidates instead of any old candidates.

When Sales Leadership, HR, Recruiters and CEOs break through the stubbornness barrier, they are rewarded with the benefits of using OMG's sales candidate assessments - the equivalent of a sales hiring crystal ball.  OMG is incredibly accurate and predictive, as well as customizable down to the specific selling role so HR, sales leadership and recruiters can all see into the future and determine in advance whether or not each sales candidate is ideal for the selling role the company is attempting to fill.  As a result:

  • Recruiters deliver and recommend candidates with confidence!
  • HR saves dozens of hours they would have spent pouring over applications and resumes as well as making calls and can focus on reaching out to only those who will succeed in the role.
  • Sales Leadership interviews only those candidates who have the sales capabilities to succeed.
  • New salespeople hit quota, forecasts are finally realized and CEOs celebrate.

Best of all, executives can hire the salespeople they need and then move on to the other important aspects of their job.  it doesn't have to be hit or miss and it doesn't have to be difficult.  If it wasn't for stubbornness, hiring salespeople would not be a year-round proposition!

Speaking of resources, here are some I can point you to:

Free sample of OMG's Sales Candidate Assessment 
Free trial of OMG's Sales Candidate Assessment 
Free White Paper on the Science of Salesperson Selection

Image copyright 123RF

Topics: Dave Kurlan, assessments, hiring salespeople, sales hiring assessment, sales candidate assessments

A Home Run - How the Right Data Can Help You Hire Your Ideal Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jul 13, 2021 @ 19:07 PM

2021 Home Run Derby bracket

Last night Major League Baseball held its annual Home Run Derby.  We've seen the home run derbies before.  We watch them every year.  They are always the same - each slugger tries to hit more home runs than the other sluggers in the contest.  At the same time, they are always different and last night there were four stories that made this year's home run derby different from all the rest.  Pete Alonso, Shohei Ohtani, Trey Mancini, and Juan Soto made the contest different. It is always the individual story lines that make the mundane different.

Speaking of the same but different, from time to time I've posted some compelling top/bottom sales team analyses using sales assessment data from Objective Management Group (OMG).  From nearly 250 data points in 21 Sales Core Competencies, we identify the specific findings and scores that differentiate a company's top 3 performers from their bottom 3 non-performers.

There are several reasons for doing this:

  • Proof of Concept - to prove to non-believers that OMG can clearly differentiate between their tops and bottoms and would therefore be able to identify sales candidates who will succeed in their business.
  • Tailored Fit - we add those same differentiators to role configurations as additional customization and criteria on their OMG sales candidate assessments.
  • Understanding - it helps clients to know why some salespeople are succeeding and others are failing.  These differentiators help them understand their sales teams, salespeople and sales bottlenecks.

I completed a top/bottom analysis for a large, well-known company and it doesn't get more compelling than this:

In this analysis there were 38 findings and scores that differentiated the tops from the bottoms.  The three tops met between 89%-97% of them while the three bottoms met only 5%-13% of them.  But the analysis is bigger than how many differentiating factors there are and how the final percentages are different.  Look at some of the differences within the findings themselves!

The tops are 100% more effective at reaching decision makers which, by itself, is a game changer.

The tops are 266% more effective at using a consultative approach to selling and 193% more effective at selling value.  Of course they are!

The tops are 187% more compatible with the criteria for being successful in their roles which points to very ineffective sales selection at hiring time.  For example, in the screen shot above you can see that the tops, but not the bottoms, are generally more experienced and comfortable with hunting for business in the C Suite of institutional accounts.  They are also more experienced and comfortable facing resistance and competition, asking for more than $250,000 in a long sales cycle, and selling conceptual services.  Together, those are ten factors that should have been identified as crucial for sales success PRIOR to hiring any salespeople, and their candidates should have been vetted for those experiences and their comfort level!

Want to hit more home runs when you're hiring salespeople?  Never will you have more confidence hiring the right salespeople for your company and selling role(s) than when you use Objective Management Group's (OMG) Sales Candidate Assessments. They are proven and time-tested to be the most accurate and predictive sales-specific assessment on planet Earth.  Check them out here.

Image copyright MLB.

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, hiring salespeople, Personality Tests, objective management, sales test

Why More Salespeople Are Being Recommended for Difficult Selling Roles

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jun 24, 2021 @ 15:06 PM

recommended

We are finally doing things we haven't done for quite a while including dining inside restaurants, flying, staying in hotels, going to and hosting parties, attending packed stadiums for sporting events and more.  Something else we haven't done for quite a while is revisit Objective Management Group's (OMG) sales selection statistics on the percentage of people that are recommended for various selling and sales management roles.

The last time we looked at recommendation data was in 2014!  In the seven years since we have seen a sluggish economy (2014-2016) with lots of candidates to choose from, a robust economy where candidates were very difficult to find and attract (mid-2017 to early 2020), a non-existent economy hammered by COVID (2nd quarter 2020- through the 1st quarter of 2021) with a decent supply of good candidates, and now back to a robust economy with good candidates scarce once again (2nd quarter 2021).

I was interested to learn how the recent recommendation data compared with the recommendation data from seven years ago.

First, let's define what a recommendation means.

Every OMG sales, sales management and sales leadership assessment has some criteria that is set in stone, some that varies with the difficulty of the role, and some that is client-side specific.  Candidates must meet the criteria in all three areas to be recommended.  Good salespeople are sometimes not recommended for certain roles because they aren't a good fit while mediocre salespeople are sometimes recommended for certain roles because they are a great fit.  It's too complicated to get into customization criteria in an article like this but the goal of OMG's candidate assessment is to get the right people into the right roles and there is a huge difference between all the possible selling roles in all the companies in all the industries where OMG assessments are utilized.

To get a sense for differences, even in the same industry, please refer to this article.

OMG allows five levels of difficulty for its sales roles, three for its sales management roles, and two for its sales leadership roles.  To give you a sense for how those difficulty levels differ, consider the following examples:

  • Little to No Difficulty - salesperson checks stock, fills stock with order updates.  An order-taker.
  • Some Difficulty - industrial sales of supplies used in maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) A better order-taker.
  • Moderate Difficulty - government sales, mostly bid work, but selling the reason to choose you at a higher price.
  • Considerable Difficulty - 6 or 7 figure consultative sale of capital equipment against formidable competition.
  • Significant Difficulty - 6 and 7 figure consultative sale of services to the C Suite in a long sales cycle competing against formidable competition

Now that you have some context for the difficulty levels, let's take a look at the before and after data and.

 

                                               2014                                                                                  2021

So what are the noteworthy changes?

The percentage of candidates being recommended for the most difficult and challenging sales roles has almost doubled!!  That's right.  Two exclamation points on that one.  Unfortunately, it doesn't mean that there are more strong candidates than seven years ago, but it does mean that companies are improving their ability to target and attract the good salespeople into their candidate pool.

Similarly, a higher percentage of sales managers are being recommended at the higher levels.  As with sales candidates, I attribute this to better targeting and attraction tactics.

The percentage of sales leadership candidates being recommended has dropped - a lot.  There are a lot more sales leadership candidates out there today than in 2014 and most of the candidates don't meet the significantly higher bar that exists for sales leaders today.

Finally, some HR and Sales Leaders are horrified and all recruiters are pissed when so many of their candidates are not recommended.  But isn't that why you choose an accurate and predictive assessment like OMG in the first place?  You choose OMG to AVOID making the mistake of hiring someone who can sell but won't,  who sounds good but isn't, who sells you but doesn't sell anyone else, or who simply isn't a good fit for the role.

Check out OMG's accurate and predictive sales candidate assessments.

Image copyright 123 RF

Topics: Dave Kurlan, HR, hiring salespeople, sales assessment tools, top sales assessment, right salespeople right seats, OMG Assessment

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

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

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