Can a New Sales Manager Be a Difference Maker?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Nov 09, 2022 @ 06:11 AM

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For the longest time, my local Panera in Westboro Massachusetts was awful.  Like phone company awful. And cable company awful.

The problem was chronic.  The half and half was always empty.  The supplies of cup insulators and trays were nowhere to be found. The wait at the drive-through was intolerable.  Online orders were never ready at or even close to the time they provided for pickup.  Online orders were routinely screwed up.  

And then Panera wasn't a problem anymore.

Over the course of a few weeks in the summer of 2022, everything changed and they became remarkably reliable. What happened? 

They got a new manager! I'm guessing (I did not interview her) the new manager prioritized KPI's and accountability, hiring people who had attention to detail, who were committed to customer satisfaction, and who took personal responsibility.

Could companies that wanted to experience a similar uptick in sales performance achieve that by replacing their sales managers?

Maybe.

it would depend on with whom they replaced the sales manager.

I speak with so many sales leaders who tell me about the four sales managers they went through in the last two years.  I speak with CEOs who tell me about the three sales VPs they went through in the last eighteen months.

There is tremendous pressure to fill these roles because your team's performance will suffer without someone at the helm.  Or is that misinformation?  How much worse could a team perform than how they perform under a sucky sales manager?

Well thought-out role requirements, patience, and being uncompromising are important ingredients to landing the ideal sales leader and/or sales manager.  When companies try to quickly fill an opening and as they often do, make a mistake, they have essentially doubled the amount of time that it takes to put a competent leader in the role.  Had they adhered to the requirements, been patient enough to continue recruiting and interviewing until a candidate met the requirements, and committed to not compromising, it could take an extra month or two, but it will be well worth it.

The problem is that most companies don't really know how to properly set requirements for these two roles, don't have an effective way to ascertain that the sales management and/or sales leadership candidate has the required skills to meet the requirements, and aren't disciplined enough to invest the time to get it right.

I write about Objective Management Group (OMG) a lot, and especially OMG's role-specific, accurate and predictive Sales Candidate Assessments.  I rarely, if ever write about OMG's Sales Management Candidate Assessments or its Sales Leadership Candidate Assessments.  As I mentioned in this article, sales managers must spend the appropriate amount of time and be effective at coaching up salespeople.  How would anyone interviewing a candidate know the candidate was capable of this without the power of OMG's accurate insights?  Request a sample of the sales and/or sales leadership candidate assessments.

Other than actual experience, there are three primary differences between sales managers and sales leaders:

  1. Sales Managers are tactical (sleeves rolled up) and should focus on coaching while Sales Leaders are strategic and should focus on leadership (sleeves rolled down).  
  2. Sales Managers have salespeople reporting to them while Sales Leaders have Sales Managers reporting to them.   
  3. Sales Managers tend to earn in the $125,000 to $175,000 range while Sales Leaders tend to earn in the $250,000 to $350,000 range (US Dollars).

There are a lot of people carrying a Sales VP title who are actually performing the role of Sales Manager.  There are also some over-qualified Sales Managers who compensate for under-qualified and overwhelmed Sales VPs.  If companies could get these two roles right we would see an historic uptick in sales performance.

As part of OMG's Sales Team Evaluations, we conduct role analyses and can show you if you have the right people in the right roles and, if not, which roles they should be in.

OMG also conducts a pipeline analysis, a sales process analysis, a growth opportunity analysis, a sales cycle length analysis, a selling capabilities analysis a motivational analysis, a Sales DNA analysis and so much more.  Request a sample of the SEIA.

OMG has the greatest suite of tools for sales selection and development since sliced Panera Bread.  Would it help you to use OMG?  Contact us here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, sales leaders, sales pipeline, sales managers, omg, OMG Assessment, panera, sales team evaluation

New Data: Will Salespeople Hit Quota When Sales Managers Coach and Sell?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Nov 07, 2022 @ 06:11 AM

Astros win 2022 World Series: Houston clinches second title as Yordan  Alvarez's Game 6 homer ousts Phillies - CBSSports.com

I was reviewing stats from the 2022 World Series between the World-Champion Houston Astros and the National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies might have had a two-man wrecking crew in Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper but it wasn't nearly enough. Over the entire 6-game series, the Astros' batting average was 43% higher (good), their pitchers' ERA (earned runs allowed per 9 Innings Pitched) was 26% lower (good), WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) was 19% lower (good), they scored 22% more runs (good) and that led to their winning twice as many games and on Saturday, a world-series victory.  There was a clear correlation between 4 baseball KPI's and the outcome of the World Series.  

Pivoting to sales, and staying with correlations and KPI's, could there be one between how sales managers spend their time and why so few salespeople hit quota?

Objective Management Group (OMG) has data on approximately 250,000 sales managers from tens of thousands of sales team evaluations.  Sales managers are expected to spend 50% of their time coaching salespeople but the data proves that it is nowhere close to that!  The average percentage of time actually spent coaching salespeople is less than 18% or, during a 40-hour week, just 7.2 hours.  Most of what sales managers consider coaching does not really qualify as coaching and you can read about that here.  How are salespeople supposed to improve and hit quota when sales managers continue to treat coaching with the same disdain they have for taking out the trash and visiting the dentist?

Instead of spending their time on coaching, sales managers are spending too much of their time on personal sales.  Sales managers with fewer than 5 salespeople may be required to carry a quota but generally speaking, sales managers are expected to spend no more than 5% of their time selling. OMG's data shows that the percentage of time that sales managers sell is closer to 13%.

Why do they sell instead of having more coaching conversations?  There are several reasons:

  • Compensation - Sales Managers are typically paid more on their personal sales than team sales so there's need and greed.
  • Quota - When Sales Managers worry about hitting quota and lack confidence that their salespeople will hit quota, the one thing they believe they can control is their own ability to sell their way to quota. 
  • Coaching - The reality is that Sales Managers don't enjoy coaching because most of them are not very good at it.  Most of them were promoted to Sales Managers because they were such good salespeople so they gravitate towards what they know and what they are good at.

The time spent coaching and selling adds up to only 31% so it's important to know that most sales managers waste their time on strategy, organizational issues, crises, keeping salespeople motivated, and holding salespeople accountable.  It's clear that when sales managers spend 13% of their time selling and only 18% coaching, most salespeople fail to hit quota most of the time.

Baseball has a manager AND coaches so the roles are well defined.  The manager manages the game while the coaches coach up the players on their baseball skills and the coaching occurs before games, during games, and after games.  In sales, managers take their manager titles too literally. As a solution, I recommend that companies hire sales coaches who understand from the outset that their only role is to coach before calls/meetings, during calls/meetings, and after calls/meetings.

The problem will be one of expertise.  A change in roles or not, the data shows that 82% of all sales managers are not well-suited for sales management and fewer than 10% are not good at coaching salespeople.  While newly hired sales coaches will be more likely to do the coaching, the actual coaching will still suck.

It may be time to train an entire new generation of sales coaches!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Sales Coaching, sales managers, omg, objective management group, sales management role, how sales managers spend their time

The Bob Chronicles - The Difference Between Selling Skills and Effectiveness

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Oct 12, 2022 @ 07:10 AM

chiropractor

Back in the 90's, after years of Chiropractic, I learned to crack my own back and neck.  You never know when you will need to relieve stiffness and/or pain.  Actually you do know.  If you drove more than two hours today or slept in a hotel bed last night I'm certain you'll need to crack your back and neck...

In the spring of 2020, I sprained my ankle and it never improved.  I'd step out of the car and the pain was so bad I would limp for the first twenty steps until it loosened up.  Imagine my surprise when two years later I heard a familiar crack - not in my ankle - but in my foot and then my knee.  When I stiffened my leg below the knee and purposely created the necessary torque, I heard four separate cracks and then bam! I was pain free!  Now, each time I stand up, I crack my knee and foot and I can walk without pain.  The most important thing was that my symptom screamed ankle but the root cause was my leg and foot.

it's the same with sales teams.  I receive calls and emails that begin with things like "My salespeople are complacent" or "My salespeople need some training on closing" or "My salespeople aren't bringing in enough new business" or "My salespeople need help with negotiating" or "Our team has a lot of stalled opportunities."  Just like my ankle, the real problem is RARELY any of these things.  It's usually something else or, in many cases, a number of something else's.

Today a client asked me to explain the difference between skills and effectiveness. You won't find the answer by doing a Google search as that search turns up exactly nothing on the subject.  This article will discuss the similarity between symptoms/causes and skills/effectiveness. Do you remember Bob, the subject of many articles and my favorite weak salesperson to write about?

Bob strikes again!

I've written 10 articles about Bob and everyone says that the Bob series is their favorite.

I was reviewing Bob's OMG (Objective Management Group) Sales Assessment and realized it is a great example of a salesperson who has skills, but is not effective.  For example, he scored 90 in the Hunting Competency but was not effective at scheduling new meetings because he was sabotaged by his huge need to be liked as evidenced by his score of only 50 on the Doesn't Need Approval Competency.

His need to be liked made him worry that prospects would be angry with him if he got through and interrupted their day. His need to be liked also prevented him from asking good, tough, timely, questions for fear that prospects would dislike him.  Bob has relatively good scores for both the Selling Value and Qualifying Competencies but he has another weakness that limits his effectiveness.

Supportive Buy-Cycle is a Competency in which Bob scored only 29 - an incredibly low score. 

His process for making major purchases does not support ideal sales outcomes and absolutely crushes his ability to sell value and thoroughly qualify.  One of the articles I wrote about Bob dealt with his Non-Supportive Buy-Cycle in great detail.

Let's look at Bob through the lens of his symptoms because up until now we have been discussing the root causes for his lack of effectiveness.  The best way to do this is to ask management.  When they discuss Bob, what do they talk about?

Bob hunts but doesn't land many appointments.  The opportunities that do enter the pipeline end up being about price. Opportunities stall and he can't get them moving again. He drives his sales manager crazy.  He has the skills (knows what to do) but lacks effectiveness (isn't able to execute).  Fortunately, OMG is able to differentiate between those who can sell (know what to do) and those who will sell (will execute) so clients using OMG to assess candidates don't have to deal with these problems. When clients use OMG to evaluate their current sales teams, these are but a few of the challenges they discover.

Last week I wrote an article about OMG not being about any one single score.  Like today's discussion of Bob, that article provided a great example where the sum of the parts, instead of a single score, will always predict exactly what will happen on the phone, over video, or in the field.

Take a crack at OMG and see what happens!  Whether evaluating your current sales team for development purposes or to assess sales candidates for open sales positions, OMG has the science-backed accuracy you can trust.  You can reach us here.

Image copyright 123RF 

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, Sales Coaching, prospecting, omg, qualifying, selling value

Not The Top 20 Attributes of Successful Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Aug 01, 2022 @ 07:08 AM

bad-science

Several OMG Partners reached out to ask if I had seen the email that was circulating with the Top 20 Attributes of Successful Salespeople.

"I have," was my response and, "Look for a blistering article on Monday."

The article was 100% junk science and to use the word science would be a disservice to the word junk. Below, you'll find five reasons why this article was so wrong, so bad, so misleading, so pitiful, and just plain stupid:

 

  1. The article listed the top 20 attributes of successful salespeople and the vast majority of those attributes might have something to do with success in general but have very little to do with sales success.  The email says that, "The results revealed the top five attributes are confidence (44%); ambition (33%); adaptability (25%) self-motivation (17%); and honesty (16%)."  None of those are sales-specific! Respondents didn't come up with these attributes on their own, but were given 30 to choose from.  They were asked to select their top 5 responses and the "report" listed the 20 most frequently chosen responses.  Unfortunately, most of these attributes have more to do with personality and behavior and are not even slightly related to OMG's widely accepted 21 Sales Core Competencies and related attributes.
  2. Only 207 people participated in the survey and it came from "conversational intelligence."  Whaaaat?  207 isn't a meaningful sample size and certainly not one to brag about.  Compare that to the more than 2.2 million salespeople that OMG has assessed and a sample size on which I base all of my articles.  And what the F is conversational intelligence?  I searched Google for Conversational Intelligence and found a book by that title.  The description said, "The key to success in life and business is to become a master at Conversational Intelligence. It's not about how smart you are, but how open you are to learn new and effective powerful conversational rituals that prime the brain for trust, partnership, and mutual success."  Maybe.  But what does that have to do with the topic of this article?  I searched some more and found CallTrackingMetrics.com.  They defined Conversational Intelligence as, "The ability to identify and react to signals in verbal communications."  In summary, someone who is smarter than me will have to explain how conversational intelligence can identify the attributes of successful salespeople.
  3. Jiminny, the company behind this survey, claimed to have researched millions of articles and couldn't find a single article that was not opinion based except for a 2011 article in Harvard Business Review.  Not a single one over eleven years?  Wow.  I have published more than 100 scientific articles on the attributes, competencies, and differences between successful salespeople and unsuccessful salespeople during that time period.  It's kind of difficult to miss 100 of them unless of course my articles don't support their narrative! 
  4. It was a survey!  That's not science. In the case of this survey, it was merely 207 opinions from a limited and skewed list of options.
  5. If the author (was there an author?) knew half of what I know about successful salespeople, they would know that the unsuccessful salespeople surveyed possess most of those same attributes.  They aren't differentiators!  And how do we know that unsuccessful salespeople weren't included in the survey?  Geez!

What are the actual top attributes of successful salespeople?  We should begin with the 21 Sales Core Competencies in which top salespeople score exponentially better than weak salespeople. Over the years, I have written many articles that articulate these differences but there have been a few which, from my perspective, stand-out .  If you're interested in how things have evolved over the past 11 years:

This article was from 2009.

This article was from 2015.

This article was from 2015.

These two articles were both written in 2016.   Also 2016 (HBR v OMG)

This article was written in 2018.

Junk science, limited data, tunnel vision, and in this case, a stupid-as-a-bowl-of-jelly analysis continue to appear although not as frequently as the fake news in politics.  But why do we continue to see them?

Today, it's easier than ever to write whatever you can imagine and that's where a lot of the fake news originates.  Someone writes or tweets something, somebody else shares it, an individual with a platform sees it and spreads it more widely and it eventually becomes a headline.

I've had enough - have you?

Image copyright 123RF

Topics: Dave Kurlan, harvard business review, sales core competencies, sales enablement, omg

5 Steps to Grow Sales by 33% in 12 Months

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you waiting for?

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

The Difference Between CyberThieves, Hackers and Most Salespeople

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

cyber

I found it challenging to write this article.

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

Wow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's a double edged sword.

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

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

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

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

You can see more of OMG's data here.

Image copyright 123RF

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

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

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

 

snowblower

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what are we looking at here?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image copyright 123RF.

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

10 Prospect Rules That Salespeople Must Learn to Break

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jan 24, 2022 @ 07:01 AM

restaurant-masks

This is not an article about COVID but I will begin by asking which COVID policy you believe is the most stupid.

My vote is for the mask requirement in restaurants because the premise is so moronic.  While you're alone with your group at the front door and until you reach your table you must wear your mask.  Then, when you're seated at your table, among all the other diners, you can remove your mask.  The most literal conclusion is that the virus isn't contagious while you are sitting and eating your food, only when standing and walking.  The same can be extended to the airlines where the virus won't spread if you are unmasked with your mouth open to eat or drink, but will most certainly spread if you are sitting with your mouth closed without a mask.  

Like I said, this is not a COVID article because if it was, I could write a book about the data, science, policies and hypocrisies.  However, there is a sales equivalent to the stupid restaurant masking requirement and that is what we will discuss in today's article.

Have you or your salespeople ever been told by a prospect that they can't:

  • Share who the decision maker is
  • Allow you to speak with the decision maker
  • Allow you to meet the decision maker
  • Share the actual budget
  • Divulge who you are competing with
  • Provide feedback about how you compare with the competition
  • Answer your questions because they don't know the answers
  • Explain the problem your product/service will solve because they were simply tasked to gather information
  • Meet because they only need a quote or proposal
  • Share the criteria for what constitutes a winning partner/proposal/quote etc.

There are two interesting takeaways from this list of 10 prospect rules.

  1. Most salespeople aren't even asking most of these questions or alternate questions.  I teach salespeople to ask alternate questions because let's face it - these questions suck like a vacuum cleaner.
  2. The salespeople who do manage to ask questions like these and don't get them answered wouldn't dare push back and/or try again to get the questions answered

There are two reasons for salespeople not being able to push back.

  1. They don't know how to push back because they haven't been trained and coached to push through these challenges.
  2. They need to be liked.  According to the data from Objective Management Group (OMG) and their assessments of more than 2,177,025 salespeople, 59% have Need for Approval or the need to be liked.  Salespeople who need to be liked are uncomfortable asking questions, more uncomfortable asking lots of questions, and find it impossible to ask good, tough timely questions.  There is no chance they would ever have the difficult conversation that would differentiate them from their competition.

It's a powerful weakness found in the area of Sales DNA.  It is so powerful that when salespeople finally overcome the weakness, using OMG's Sales DNA Modifier, that their sales increase by 35%! 

Not needing to be liked is one of the 21 Sales Core Competencies measured by OMG.  You can see all 21 here and if you're up to it, sort by industry and even by company.

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Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, omg, sales objections, sales tips, sales assessements, sales evaluations

Salesenomics - Many Sales Organizations Are Stuck in the 1980's

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Nov 22, 2021 @ 07:11 AM

1980s

Today is moving day for Objective Management Group.  When we first toured our new space, John Pattison, OMG's COO said, "It looks like something the 1980's barfed up!"  I'm happy to report that thanks to big-time help from PENTA Marketing CEO Deborah Penta, our new space is bright, cheery, modern, energetic, open and functional! 

Thinking about the 80's got me thinking...

When was the last time you saw a black and white television or even a console color TV?

How about an electric typewriter?

Or a car that didn't have anti-lock brakes?

You would have to return to the 1980's to see those things and when it comes to their operations, some sales organizations are still in the 1980's.

For example, check out these statistics from OMG's evaluations of 30,000 sales teams and more than two million salespeople.

31% of companies don't use CRM.

44% do not have a way to track the opportunities in their pipelines.

89% do not qualify their proposals.

39% do not track whether their salespeople are under/over quota.  

54% do not track win rates

51% do not know their average order size

74% do not track the length of their sales cycle

40% do not track the number of opportunities in the pipeline

65% do not track the quality of the opportunities in the pipeline

35% do not track margins!

90% do not track the number of meetings required to close

96% do not track the cost of a sale

Unfortunately, there is more, but these are the head turners and it makes me wonder...

It's been widely reported for years now, that fewer than 50% of salespeople are hitting quota.  From the data shown above, we know that 39% of companies don't even track that.  What percentage of their reps do you think are hitting quota?  My guess is less than 20% (think 80/20 rule) so how much worse would it be if those companies were included in the data?  I'm guessing we would learn that fewer than 33% of all salespeople are hitting quota.  That's much closer to what I hear from companies every day.

We are no longer in the early stages of the information era.  Data is king so how can companies operate without this crucial information?  Even prior to the dawn of the information age, companies found ways to track this information, so why would some choose to ignore this today?

I'm guessing that most of the companies in question are small with less than $20 Million in revenue and fewer than 8 salespeople.  I assume that they are not tech companies and probably come from older industries, like building materials, small manufacturers and small industrial distributors.  But I'm just guessing.

You can easily track everything you should be tracking with the right CRM application.  OMG has an integration with what we believe is the best sales-specific CRM application in the world, Membrain.  It's user-friendly, ideal for complex sales, easy to customize, produces the most important data and reporting out of the box, and you won't have to nag your salespeople to use it. And for fans of Baseline Selling, there is a BLS specific edition of Membrain too.

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Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales pipeline, crm, omg, KPI's, objective management group, sales team evaluation

Found! The Caliper vs OMG Comparison: Which Sales Candidate Assessment is More Predictive?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Dec 01, 2020 @ 09:12 AM

lost-and-found

When are you most likely to find the item you lost or misplaced?  Immediately after you purchase its replacement, of course! 

I just found an article that I wrote in 2012 but forgot to click the publish button!  Almost nine years in the making, this article compares OMG with Caliper and I did update it so that the information on both assessments is current.

I compared two assessments for the same candidate: one from Objective Management Group (OMG) and one from Caliper.  Not being one to pass up opportunities like this, I conducted another comparison where OMG recommended this person for the role and Caliper did not. 

OMG's assessment is sales specific - built for sales.  Caliper is a personality assessment adapted for sales.  Caliper asks the same questions as in their traditional personality assessment, but modifies the findings based on the personality traits they believe are associated with sales.  Some of Herbert Greenberg's (Caliper founder) earliest research on salespeople appears in my classic white paper, The Science of Salesperson Selection.

It is not unusual for OMG's findings to contradict the findings of even the most reputable of all personality assessments because OMG measures different things than everyone else.  Most of the sales-specific competencies and attributes that OMG measures are not measured by personality assessments, including Caliper.  OMG measures 21 Sales specific Core Competencies that no personality assessment - even Caliper, can touch.

Additionally, personality tests are not able to provide insight into other important areas like:

  • Longevity - likelihood that the candidate will stick to produce 5x ROI,
  • Skill Gaps - the sales-specific skills that have not yet been developed,
  • How the Candidate Thinks about Selling - their specific beliefs that support or sabotage the sales process,
  • Ramp up - whether they will achieve success more quickly than other candidates,
  • Selling Skills - the specific skills they have learned and actually execute to fill their pipeline, close business, manage accounts, and sell to major accounts.
  • Will to Sell - the combination of sales-specific competencies that determine whether the salesperson has the grit to succeed.  This is the difference between can sell versus will sell.
  • Sales DNA - the combination of strengths that support sales process, sales strategy, sales methodology and sales tactics.
A large insurance company recently stopped using Caliper for pre-employment assessments because it failed to differentiate between successful and unsuccessful salespeople.  For comparison, 75% of the candidates that OMG does NOT recommend, but who are hired anyway, fail within 6 months; 92% of the candidates that OMG recommends, who are eventually hired, rise to the top half of their sales forces within 12 months.
 
These are some of the personality traits that Caliper measures and reports on.  How many of them sound sales-specific? How many of them have anything to do with sales success?
 
One could argue that assertiveness, empathy, gregariousness, level-headedness, skepticism, sociability, thoroughness and urgency are useful traits for a salesperson to have - and they are.  The problem is that they don't differentiate strong salespeople from weak salespeople.
 
By contrast, OMG reports on 21 Sales Core Competencies as well as an additional 8 sales competencies not considered to be core.  Each of the competencies have an average of 10 attributes that make it easy to see what is being measured, and what a competency is all about.  Notice the ten tactical selling competencies that are blocked in red below.  I'll share the attributes for two competencies so you can see that the attributes are selling attributes, not personality traits. 
 
 
In a previous article I compared OMG to Extended DiSC and showed the attributes in the Hunting and Qualifying competencies.  This time around, let's look at the attributes from the competencies, Selling Value and Reaching Decision Makers to show how different this is from what a personality assessment like Caliper measures.
.

As you can see, these attributes define and complete each competency.  You may have also noticed that we show the percentage of attributes as well as the weighted score as some attributes are more important to the competency than others. That made a huge difference for this candidate when it came to the Reaching Decision Makers competency where despite having 57% of the attributes, he was missing the most important attribute. When you compare sales-specific competencies that drive sales performance and success, to personality traits that are not specific to sales and which fail to differentiate strong from weak salespeople, it's clear that OMG is both miles and decades ahead of any and all other assessments.

So which assessment - OMG or Caliper - is more predictive?  That answer is so obvious that it doesn't even require me to answer it!

Sales Candidate Assessments are extremely important because they prevent hiring mistakes and remove bias from your hiring process.  However, if you don't choose the right assessment, configure it correctly for each role, use it at the right time in the process, or heed its advice, don't count on any assessment to make a meaningful difference!

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, Sales Candidate, omg, caliper, sales assessment test, personality test, pre-employment test

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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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