3 Powerful Excuses for Maintaining Mediocrity in Your Sales Hiring

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jan 26, 2010 @ 06:01 AM

Yesterday I participated in a Webinar sponsored and hosted by EcSell Institute where I presented my ideas for how not to screw up your 2010 sales hiring.  Most of the attendees had participated in a survey where they said that getting hiring right was extremely important, but only 8% felt they had the skills to do this effectively.

When I answered questions from the audience, the best one, in my opinion, was the most obvious. It went something like this:

"If your recruiting process works so effectively, and your assessments are so predictive, and they save so much time and money and consistently identify top performers, then why don't more companies use them?"

Isn't that just an awesome question?  Without question, it is the question I ask myself every single day.  Why are there only 8,000 companies using this great process and assessment when it could be 8 million companies?

I believe there are three reasons.

  1. Ego.  Most sales managers simply have a mindset that they should know how to do this without asking for help, relying on tools, or following someone else's process.  After all, they've done it before (badly if you measure it by the percentage of over achievers they hire - fewer than half of the last 10 people yesterday's group hired were achieving!).
  2. Money.  Every company pays their worst performer far more than it would cost to get the right process, tools and skills in place. Even though every hiring mistake costs as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars, some companies simply don't view those losses as line items. However, they do see the cost of assessments and consulting as line items and mistakenly believe they can't spend the money.
  3. Fear.  Fear of the unknown, of being wrong, of change, of losing control, of being criticized, and of a learning curve.

These are 3 powerful reasons for not going down this path.  Yet, they are 3 reasons over which executives should be embarrassed and apologize. 

Companies just plain suck at hiring the right salespeople.  How could they do any worse by implementing best practices?

(c) Copyright 2010 Dave Kurlan

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales recruiting, EcSELL Institute, recruiting process, sales assessments

Sales Systems and Processes - 8th of the 10 Kurlan Sales Management Functions

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Dec 01, 2009 @ 07:12 AM

Today I will present the 8th in my series of the Top 10 Sales Management Functions but it is #10 on my list.  Why am I going out of order?  Last week was the Thanksgiving Holiday, I have a non-stop week, I'm behind on this series and #10 corresponds with the upcoming (12/3/09) webinar.


Systems and processes are your sales infrastructure - everything that is not your people. A lot of us use the two words interchangeably. So what is the difference between systems and processes? Wikipedia says that a system is a "set of interdependent entities forming an integrated whole". Wikipedia has dozens of context-specific definitions for process.  I have adapted their Business Process definition for sales and came up with "activities or tasks that produce a specific outcome".

So, the following processes would make up our primary system:

  • Sales
  • Recruiting
  • Sales Management
  • Metrics or Measurables
  • Pipeline
  • Compensation
  • Territory Management
  • On Boarding
  • Development

We would also have additional systems:

  • Sales Force Automation (I like Membrain)
  • Lead Generation or Inbound Marketing (I like Hubspot)

In the (December 3, 2009) webinar I'll be discussing Pipeline - How you can close more sales simply by managing it more effectively.  There are several little understood components of the pipeline. I'll talk about staging it, having criteria for each stage, and the advantages of making it Visual.  I'll also discuss the importance of the first stage, how you can guarantee you'll hit your numbers every month, how to make it more accurate and predictive, and the crucial metrics you'll need to make it all work.

The important thing to understand about systems and processes is that you must have them in place, supporting your sales organization, prior to the start of any development program.  You can't start training and coaching salespeople before a sales process is in place.  You can't hold salespeople accountable before the metrics and pipeline are in place.  You can't hire salespeople and expect them to perform before you have recruiting, compensation, on boarding and sales management processes in place.  You don't have to get them perfect on your first attempt, getting it close perfect makes a huge difference!

Here are some articles I've written with more details about the various systems and processes:

This article talks about the sales process and has been nominated for article of the month for December 2009 (I wrote it in November of 2008 - they must be behind too!) You can vote for it here.

Top 10 Sales Articles - Article of the Month - vote here

This article is about sales metrics and the sales pipeline. This article talks about how to make the sales pipeline more accurate and predictive. This is my favorite article on the insights that can be captured from an well managed sales pipeline.  Finally, this recent article talks about Sales KPI's or metrics. Metrics are the numbers we can measure that drive revenue.  We're talking performance here. Accounting has EBIDTA. Manufacturing has Quality. Business has Revenue, a measure of growth, not performance. In sales there are literally dozens of numbers we can choose to measure but revenue is never a number that measures performance and it's always, without exception, a lagging indicator.  To measure sales performance, you must look at future indicators.  What are they?  This article examines how sales metrics can be used. This article examines sales metrics in the context of recruiting where efficiency is the goal.


(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, sales management functions, sales system, recruiting process, sales metrics

Content not found
Subscribe via Email

View All 2,000 Articles published by Dave

About Dave

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.

Email Dave

View Dave Kurlan's LinkedIn profile View Dave Kurlan's profile


Receive new articles via email
 to the Blog on your Kindle 



Most Recent Articles


Top 50 Sales & Marketing Blogs 2021

Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame Inductee

Hall of Fame

 Hall of Fame


Top Blog Post

Expert Insights

Top 50 most innovative sales bloggers


Top Blog

Hubspot Top 25 Blogs


2021 Top20 Web Large_assessment_eval