The Sales Assessment Client Who Didn't Renew after All These Years

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Mar 05, 2012 @ 10:03 AM

correllationHe has been a client of Objective Management Group (OMG) for over 20 years.  He had a license to use OMG's Sales Candidate Assessments and, as most clients do, had renewed it each year.  When we met for breakfast recently, he told me that he had a new VP of Sales and would not be renewing his license this year.  I was surprised for two reasons:  

  1. OMG clients nearly ALWAYS renew their candidate assessment licenses unless they are hiring just one or two salespeople, after which time they are done - they find who they are looking for and then they are finished hiring.  Companies that hire salespeople on an ongoing basis always renew their licenses because the salespeople they hire with our assessments are much more effective.
  2. He told me that the reason for not renewing was that the assessment did not correlate with their performance.  Seriously?  Our top-rated, highly-predictive assessment didn't predict success and failure?  "Send me the names and the outcomes".
I reviewed everything he sent me.  He gave me their names along with their scores for the OMG Assessment , Predictive Index Assessment, Industry Knowledge, Industry Experience, Group Interview and Performance Results.  Each score was rated on a 1-3 scale with 3 being the best.
They hired seventeen salespeople in the past five years.  I ran a simple face-value correlation analysis: How predictive was each score - at face value - at predicting the performance outcome?  Here are the results:
Step Face Value Correlation
OMG Sales Candidate Assessment 68%
Predictive Index 50%
Group Interview 54%
Industry Knowledge 38%
Industry Experience 38%

Face value correlation alone isn't enough. At OMG we have a mantra that we expect our clients to follow.  A candidate that is "Not Recommended" should never be hired.  A "Recommended" candidate can easily become a "No" based on their phone interview, whether their experience meets your requirements, and how well they perform during a face-to-face interview.  "Recommended" is not a license to automatically hire without further due diligence.  It is simply a recommendation that the candidate belongs in the pool of candidates that move to the next step.  This client was hiring candidates that were not recommended!

I reviewed the seven assessments that did not correlate at face value.  Two of the five met performance expectations and four were recommended by the OMG assessment, but with warnings and conditions.  In the table below, the scores in columns two and three are how the client conducted the scoring, not how OMG scores its assessments.  The client's scale is beneath the table.  Here are the findings:

ID OMG Score Performance Comments
1  3  1 Candidate's Assessment showed that while she had strong DNA, she is an excuse maker, isn't motivated by money, and had zero skills other than top-of-the-funnel skills and had will prospect as a weakness. It was there in black and white that while she met the criteria,  Salesperson #1 would not build a pipeline or move opportunities along!
2  3  2 Assessment was nearly identical to Salesperson #1 but with additional skills that went beyond top of the funnel.
 3  1 Assessment showed that he lacked direction - no goals, plan, tracking and would be unable to work independently.  He was assigned a remote territory!
 3  1.5 Assessment also showed will prospect as a weakness and not money motivated and 7 of the 10 skills we identified were top of the funnel skills.  Like Salesperson #1, Salesperson #3 would not build a pipeline or move opportunities along!
 2  1.5 Salesperson #5 was assessed twice - the first time not hirable, the second time with a huge red flag saying less than ideal. 
 3 Salesperson #6 had the lowest group interview score, industry experience score, and the lowest overall score of any candidate.  That correlated with the assessment's finding showing his inability to develop rapport early in the process. 
 1.5 Salesperson #7 met expectations only because of how likeable she was and her high scores in food service, and industry experience - she had a following.  She would have been more successful, but as the assessment showed, she wasn't a hunter, made excuses, wasn't money-motivated, and had zero selling skills other than her top-of-the-funnel skills.
3 - Exceeded    2 - Meets    1 - Failed

Conclusions: Inclusive of our recommendations not to hire, and the warnings and skill gaps associated with recommended candidates, the assessments accurately predicted the results in 16 of 17 cases between 2006 and 2010 - a batting average of 96%.  In the 17th case, Salesperson #6, the client failed to follow his own hiring process and would not have hired the individual based on his non-OMG scores.

The client assessed 2,500 candidates over this time period.  As a result, they were saved from having to speak with at least 2,300 candidates.  If they spent just five minutes reviewing 2300 resumes (191 hours) and ten minutes on the phone with one third of the candidates (126 hours), the assessment saved them 317 hours (two business months) of manual filtering.  If they value their time at $100 an hour, the license more than paid for itself in the value of time saved over five years ($41,700).

Monday morning quarterbacking is easy if you take the time to do it.  I chose to take the time.  This client is probably similar to many clients who either don't read the warnings, or don't factor the warnings into the decision-making process for bringing a salesperson on board. The warnings were certainly incorporated into the development plan or accountability requirements for success.

Message to Clients and Would-Be Clients of OMG:  Our assessments are incredibly predictive, but you need to pay attention to more than a single finding, recommendation or score!  Every assessment tells a story and if you take the time to read the story on the candidates who are recommended, you'll be able to determine whether your current sales management resources are up to the task at hand for borderline candidates:

  • How much hand-holding will they need?
  • Will they fill the pipeline on their own?
  • Will they be able to move opportunities through the process?
  • Will they be able to generate urgency?
  • Will they qualify thoroughly?
  • Will they be able to close?
  • Will they self-start?
  • Can they work independently?
  • Will they take short cuts?
  • Will they be ineffective because of weaknesses?
  • How long will it take them to ramp up?
  • Will they stick?
It's all there - it's all accurate - it's all predictive - one just has to read it!

Topics: sales assessment, omg, kurlan, Validation, Correlation, sales candidate assessment

Optimize Your Sales Force Without Spending a Dime

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Aug 16, 2010 @ 15:08 PM

makeoverEnter to Win a Free Sales Force Makeover!

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a company that wants to grow more quickly....

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Four companies have partnered to create the Sales Force Makeover and between them, you could have the opportunity to work with nearly a dozen sales experts over the course of about one year.

The companies are:

  • Landslide Technology
  • Objective Management Group, Inc.
  • Strategic Compensation Partners
  • Kurlan & Associates

For contest details and to Enter to Win your FREE Sales Force MakeOver click here.

I wrote an article for Alister Paine's Digital Business Site on How to Close More Business where I discussed the importance of optimizing the sales process. Check it out!

Topics: crm, omg, kurlan, sales management function, free sales force make over, dauphanais, objective management group, Landslide

Directors Want Better Boards - and Rightly So!

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Oct 20, 2009 @ 20:10 PM

I'm off topic a little bit for this Blog, but not off topic for the work we do in companies each day.

Frederic' pointed me to the October 19 edition of Harvard's Daily Stat - "Directors Want Better Boards". One of the quotes from this article is, Boards should view the current crisis as an opportunity to review the way they function. A healthy self-assessment can go a long way toward improving a company's performance.

It's that self-assessment phrase that makes this post only slightly off topic.

One of the many issues we identify is when Board Chairs and CEO's take the lead in areas in which they don't have the strengths or skills to justify taking the lead.  They often discount the contributions, thoughts and ideas of directors or executives who are stronger than they are in that area. As a result, the company is not always choosing the best strategies and ideas, or having the right discussions, asking the right questions, or making the right decisions at the right times.

Another issue we identify is where the board or executive team doesn't have anyone who is particularly strong in an area. These voids need to be filled, either from inside or outside, in order for the board or team to function at its fullest capabilities.

These issues are examples of board and team limitations which, in normal times, only cause delays and missteps. But in these trying times, these limitations can be fatal.

Objective Management Group has a unique, kick-ass assessment that we conceived, developed and refined specifically for boards and executive teams of organizations.  There are even versions for profit and non-profit boards and they identify the limitations discussed above and many more like them. This powerful, insightful assessment will get boards and executive teams firing on all 8 cylinders very quickly.  

If you would like to learn whether our Key Management Dynamics Assessment can help your Executive Team or Board, simply send me an email.  Please include your zip code.

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

Topics: kurlan, Executive Team, harvard, board effectiveness, board assessment, CEO's and boards

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