New Data: Is Sales Compensation Aligned With Changing Motivational Needs?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Oct 31, 2022 @ 06:10 AM

compensation

My MacBook Pro is running Monterey version 12.6 and it has been charging to only 80%.  This was driving me crazy so I did some digging and found that the default battery setting is "Optimized" where it says the following:  "To reduce battery aging, your Mac learns from your daily charging routine so it can wait to finish charging past 80% until you need to use it on battery."

I'm not the smartest person when it comes to topics other than sales or baseball, but my take is that when plugged in, it will remain 80% charged until I need it to run on battery, at which time it will obviously begin draining - to less than 80%.  This suggests that it will never charge to 100%!  It's not intuitive and takes some decoding.

When interviewing sales and sales leadership candidates, similar counter-intuitive discussions occur. Many candidates claim that money isn't that important because they love sales - until they claim that the base salary isn't high enough.  For others, even though they may not disclose it, the base salary is completely irrelevant as long as the company won't cap the salesperson's total earnings. We need to decode the topic of compensation so that we can be sure that both the base salary and the total on-plan earnings are acceptable to candidates.

It is very important to make sense of the hidden and unpredictable compensation responses because many salespeople leave the company after a short time because they don't believe earnings are equivalent to the compensation that was promised.

It is crucial to understand that salespeople are motivated primarily by one of two motivational styles and unless you wish to hire only one type of salesperson, there must be two compensation plans that should be tailored accordingly.  Let's discuss this.

Salespeople that are motivated by money are extrinsically motivated.  Salespeople who are motivated by something other than money are intrinsically motivated.  While neither is better or worse, the largest percentage of extrinsically motivated salespeople are in the top 5% of all salespeople.  A small percentage of salespeople are altruistically motivated and simply want to be of service. Generally speaking, that is the department they belong in - the Customer Service department.  The largest percentage of altruistically motivated salespeople are found in the bottom 10% of all salespeople.

The majority of both extrinsic and intrinsic salespeople are motivated and you can continue to motivate them, but compensation plans for each group should be appropriately tailored.  Intrinsically motivated salespeople don't want less money, they want more security from their base salary.  Extrinsically motivated salespeople don't need a larger base salary, they want the ability to maximize their earnings without a cap.

The most recent data from Objective Management Group (OMG) shows that only 23% of all salespeople are extrinsically motivated, down from 25% in 2017 and from 59% in 2005. Ironically, while most compensation plans are geared towards this group, the largest percentage of salespeople are intrinsic!

While the motivational style represents how salespeople are motivated, the motivational score tells us the degree to which salespeople are motivated.  The score varies slightly around the world as it is 93% in Latin America, 82% in Europe, 89% is Asia, 83% in Oceana, 95% in Africa, and 88% in the United States.

The score also varies by years of sales experience where, for the most part, years of sales experience correlates to age demographics.  For example, those with fewer than 3 years of sales experience are also those we expect to be younger salespeople where 84% of that group is motivated.  Surprisingly, that jumps to 89% for salespeople with more than 5 years of sales experience and holds steady through 30 years of sales experience. 

One other Competency score that changes based on experience/age is Commitment to sales success.  Only 56% of the salespeople with fewer than 3 years of experience are committed, but that jumps to 64% for those with 5-10 years of experience, 67% for those with 10-20 years of experience and up to 69% for those with 20-30 years of experience.

Why are the oldest and most experienced salespeople more committed?  If you have hired younger salespeople, you already know how unlikely they are to stick around for more than 1-2 years and how few of them succeed!

If you look at Commitment and Motivation by sales proficiency or percentile, Commitment and Motivation become even clearer.  100% of the top 10% of all salespeople are both committed and motivated.  Compare that to the bottom 10% where only 13% are committed and only 20% are motivated.  The top 10% are 606% more committed and motivated than the bottom 10%!  When we look at the weakest 50%, we learn that only 39% are committed and 76% are motivated.  As you can probably guess, motivation won't get the job done when a salesperson is not committed to sales success.

Understanding how a salesperson is motivated is the key to aligning your compensation plan, but knowing a salesperson's level of Commitment is one of the key competencies to predict sales performance and success.

Motivation and Commitment are two of the 21 Sales Core Competencies measured by OMG so when you use OMG's Sales Candidate Assessments these two important findings are no longer a hidden secret. 

You can see the average scores for all salespeople, the top 10% and the bottom 10% and you can also see the scores for your industry and even your company's sales team.

Free sample.

Free trial.

Contact Us to Get Started with our Help.

Get Started on your Own.

Image copyright 123RF 

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, Motivation, sales commitment, sales compensation, OMG Assessment

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

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

Selling and the Need for Speed

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jun 08, 2022 @ 08:06 AM

speed-limit

We had Chinese for dinner and my fortune said, "Speed is not as important as accuracy."

When you think of speed what are the first things that come to mind?

Fighter Jets? The 10 fastest in the world reach speeds of up to Mach 6.70 (5,140 MPH)

Racing Cars? The 6 fastest in the world reach speeds of up to 304 MPH.

Motorcycles? The 10 fastest in the world reach speeds of up to 273 MPH.

Power Boats?  The 10 fastest in the world reach speeds of up to 317 MPH.

Light travels at 186,270 miles per second!

And salespeople.  What?  That's right, salespeople speed.  Let me explain.

Salespeople tend to be in a rush to close - before an opportunity is even closable.  

Salespeople tend to be in a rush to present - before an opportunity is even qualified.  Most salespeople are in such a hurry that they completely skip things like qualifying and discovery.  And when salespeople do perform discovery they accept the very first indicator they hear and rush to explain how their product or service addresses that indicator,

Example. You tell the doctor about a stomach ache and the doc says, "No problem - I can help" and calls in a prescription for an antacid.  And while that example actually happens, a good, thorough doctor would ask questions like, "Where does it hurt?"  "Does it hurt to the touch?"  "Is it always sore or does it come and go?"  "Is it more frequent after a meal or when you're moving around?" "How long have you been experiencing this discomfort?"  "Can you show me the exact area of the pain?" "Have you been overly stressed or anxious?"  "Have you made any changes to your diet?" 

[I'd make a good doctor!] 

Then the doctor would say, "I want to make sure we aren't missing anything.  I would like to get you scheduled for X-Rays, and an MRI so that we can rule out a few things."

He's still in discovery.  A good doctor has no need for speed.

Back to salespeople who do have a need for speed.  Objective Management Group (OMG) measures 21 Sales Core Competencies and how a company, team or individual salesperson scores on those competencies tells a story about how they sell, what they encounter, and how effectively they can turn those encounters into business.  Several competencies overlap with Discovery, the two most obvious being Consultative Seller and Value Seller.  However, those two competencies are much easier to complete when we include the competencies Reaches Decision Makers and Relationship Builder.  The numbers in the 3 images below show the percentage of 2.2 million salespeople who are strong in these four competencies.  All salespeople are on the left, the top 10% are in the middle and the bottom 50% are on the right.

Do you see the problem?  Even some of the top 10% struggle with the Consultative approach but they excel at Reaching Decision Makers and Selling Value.  Why do even the best salespeople struggle?  Because among the 10 or so attributes found in the Consultative Seller competency, the 2 most crucial are listens and asks great questions.  Most salespeople struggle mightily with listening and when one doesn't listen effectively, the next question isn't that obvious.

To execute the 4 competencies above, a certain amount of Sales DNA is required.  When strong, Sales DNA supports the execution of sales process and methodology.  When weak, Sales DNA sabotages those efforts.

Only 22% of all salespeople have strong Sales DNA.  Here are the average Sales DNA Scores for salespeople.

  • All salespeople have an average score of 65.
  • The top 10% have an average score of 81. 
  • The bottom 50% have an average score of 56.

More challenging selling roles require higher Sales DNA scores while less challenging selling roles require lower Sales DNA scores.  Here are three examples:

  • A salesperson who sells industrial batteries (for golf carts, truck fleets, wheelchairs) in a territory can get by with Sales DNA of 64.
  • A salesperson who sells payroll software to HR departments in a territory can succeed with Sales DNA of 72.
  • A salesperson who sells 7 to 8 figure capital equipment to the C Suite of the Fortune 500 against formidable competition in an 18 month sales cycle requires Sales DNA of over 82.

The salesperson the first example and those in similar roles to that salesperson have a need for speed.  It's a transactional sale.  They can move the sale and the relationship from transactional to consultative by S-L-O-W-I-N-G down.

The salesperson who is successful in the second example has slowed down.  Their biggest challenge is competition.  It's not a question of if the company will buy and use payroll software, the only question is whose software they will use and who they will purchase it from.  Slowing down even more will help to differentiate.

The salespeople in the third example have learned that if they are to have any success in this role, they must crawl through their sales process.  Slow is the name of the game.  I don't mean slow as in extend the sales cycle. I mean slow as in thorough.

[Update: One reader suggested that the crucial piece is having a variable speed where you move as fast or as slow as your customer.  I agree that you need variable speeds but many times the client wants to move fast and you need the ability to slow down the client or it will become a transactional sale.  So variable is OK but only when it provides an advantage to you.

They say speed kills and other than driving, nowhere is this more true than in sales.

Evaluate your Sales Team.

See scores for your industry in all 21 Sales Core Competencies.

Talk with an expert.

 

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, sales process, sales training, Sales Coaching, selling value

Sales Selection Tools: Do You Get What You Pay For?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Dec 09, 2021 @ 09:12 AM

fraud

Perhaps you've heard the advertisement while listening to a SiriusXM radio station.  It's for Home Title Lock.  They scare you by mentioning that some bad people can commit fraud by going online, claiming your home's title, taking ownership of your home, and borrowing against your home's equity without you knowing it.  Home Title Lock prevents this from happening.  Maybe.  I don't know enough to say whether this fraud actually happens and whether their service works.  But I do know this.  I've been trying to cancel my business internet with Verizon for two months and I can't prove to them that it's my account.  If the legitimate account holder, with credentials (account numbers, invoices, names and address), is unable to cancel my own business internet account, how can someone casually take over your title and suddenly own your home?  It doesn't make sense to me!

Here's another thing that doesn't make sense. 

If you have used Indeed to hire salespeople, they will offer to have your candidates take a free sales assessment.  Doesn't that sound great?  It is great if the assessment is helpful but it happens to be a useless piece of crap.  Why would anyone think, for even a moment, that there is any value in their lame, assessment-in-name-only test?

In this article we'll explore how Indeed's sales assessment compares to the gold standard in sales candidate assessments from Objective Management Group (OMG).

Indeed offers several conclusions about each candidate:

  • Expert
  • Highly Proficient
  • Proficient
  • Familiar
  • Completed

By comparison, OMG offers three recommendations:

  • Recommended
  • Worthy of Consideration
  • Not Recommended

Indeed measures what candidates know about selling but doesn't tell us what it is that they actually know!  Indeed measures their general knowledge of selling.  

This statement by Indeed is very telling:  "Indeed makes no statement as to the skill level of a candidate."

So they administer a sales skills assessment, provide one of five scoring ranges, but don't back it up:  

 

OMG measures a candidate's capabilities in 21 Sales Core Competencies, each consisting of 6-12 attributes, and then calculates whether they have the necessary attributes and competencies required to succeed in the selling role for which they are being considered, in that company's marketplace(s), against their competition, at their price point and with the challenges which their company and salespeople face. OMG factors in the difficulty of the sales role and measures how closely the candidate's capabilities fit that sales role. This is OMG's dashboard, which is followed by around twenty pages of scoring and details about the attributes from each competency.  You might notice that under the recommendation, this company used OMG's multi-role assessment where candidates are  evaluated for fit to multiple selling roles at the company.  This candidate was recommended for an Account Executive role and a Specialty role, but only worthy of consideration for a Senior Account Executive role which is more difficult than the other two roles:

Do you see the subtle difference between the two assessments?  You get what you pay for which, in Indeed's case, is nothing.

If you aren't using the Gold Standard in sales candidate assessments, why are you attempting to outsmart the world's most accurate and predictive sales selection tool

Image copyright 123RF

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales recruiting, sales selection, sales test, indeed

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

How Gas Grills, Gardening, Masks, and Baseball Mimic Your Sales Team

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, May 03, 2021 @ 13:05 PM

gasgrill

Some random thoughts from the weekend and its impact on sales teams...

We have a twenty-year old gas grill built-in to a stone wall on our back patio and this year I decided to replace all of the components.  New burners, new heat plates, new briquettes, new grates, new ignitor, and new wiring.  All told, it took three-hours of work, much of it with the ignitor and the wiring.  When I got it all reassembled, everything worked except the ignitor despite the fact that I smartly tested it prior to reassembly.  I opened it back up and discovered that the battery had become disconnected.  A tweak later, it was reassembled, the ignitor was sending sparks, but it was still failing to ignite the gas.  After all that work, and despite all the new components, I still must use a hand lighter to light the grill and will have to call a gas grill expert to get the sparks to ignite the gas.

My project corresponds so well with how many executives approach their sales teams. 

They do nothing for years, and then, after growing frustrated with complacency and inability to grow revenue, finally decide to make changes and rebuild their sales teams.  They quickly reassemble the team by terminating the obvious liabilities and hiring replacements.  Then, when the new salespeople don't perform to expectations, they make additional tweaks by adding hiring criteria, and try again.  Lacking a real sense of what good looks like, they continue to get it wrong and are back where they started, needing expert help to select the right salespeople to grow revenue.

We went to an outdoor garden center - outdoors means no masks if you're fully vaccinated so it should be an opportunity to shop mask free!  Not.  Everybody - young and old were masked up because we've learned that if you remove your mask people give you dirty looks and employees refuse to help you. So we must continue to mask up.  What does this have to do with selling?  

The discomfort with removing masks outdoors speaks directly to our discomfort with, resistance to, and fear of change.  After 14 months you would think that people would be excited for the opportunity to go maskless but it's not close to happening in Massachusetts.  You would also think that salespeople would be quick to embrace strategies, tactics and sales processes that will help them dramatically improve their effectiveness, and help them differentiate and close more business. That has great appeal, but most salespeople are typically slow to adapt for the very same reasons.  Discomfort with, resistance to, and fear of change.  It takes time.

Like most spring weekends, we were watching our son play baseball (2 games each day) only this year spectators aren't allowed on college campuses so we were watching live streams.  We wondered how we would handle not being present and cheering for him and his team, how disconnected we might feel watching him on a computer screen, and how much we would miss it.  It was especially difficult this year since it is his freshman, or as they now say, "first year" season.  We adapted.  We had to adapt. The seating and food were both exponentially better at home, we didn't have six hour round trips to campus and back, and the bathrooms were sparkling!  That said, we still missed being there for him and can't wait until we can return to watch him play in person.

This aligns with how sales teams pivoted to virtual selling in the spring of 2020.  It worked, but many of the same differences were in play.  The seating, food and bathrooms were better, but we missed being with our colleagues and customers.  We adapted, although in the case of virtual selling, we didn't adapt as well.  I am still very frustrated with the sales teams I personally train, who week after week, have failed to upgrade their physical appearance, wardrobe, and backgrounds.  I don't want to see bedrooms, closets, kitchens, dens, basements or bathrooms!  The lighting sucks!  You've had 14 months to upgrade how you present yourselves, so read my article on upgrading your virtual presence and get with the program.  Many of you will be selling this way, from home and/or office, for the foreseeable future.

It was a great weekend for gardening and when the baseball games weren't streaming we were in the gardens.  Pulling weeds, grooming the beds replacing perennial flowers and cutting down scrawny, ugly or dead trees were on the list.  It's what we do in May.

This is a great time for weeding out your under-performers and negative, whiny liabilities, upgrading your sales teams, and replacing them with better salespeople who are better fits for the role.  It's what we should do, not only in May but year-round.  A sales force evaluation should come first so that you know who is part of your future, how to develop them, and how much more revenue they can generate. You must also know who is part of your past and whether or not to move on from them.  You must understand why you get the results you get and what needs to change.  You should also use an accurate and predictive, customizable, sales-specific candidate assessment to help select your new salespeople. Ask your sales consultant about Objective Management Group (OMG) for help with both issues.  If you don't have a reliable, magical sales expert you can call, we can recommend one for you.  If you have one, but they don't offer OMG, insist that they either become OMG certified or find one who does offer OMG.  Just email me and I'll get you hooked up with someone who can help in a big way.

Image Copyright: arinahabich

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, Salesforce, sales effectiveness, sales hiring tools, objective management group, sales team

My Prediction - What's in Store for Sales Teams in 2021?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Jan 08, 2021 @ 11:01 AM

prediction2021

When I made my predictions for 2020 I'm pretty sure I didn't predict a pandemic.  Making predictions isn't easy. 

In the US, sales teams are coming off three robust years of sales growth and while revenue was up during that time, the percentage of salespeople hitting quotas was not.  That means the top 20% were not only carrying the load, they carried more of the load.

That dynamic growth hit an iron barrier last spring when COVID became the unexpected economic disrupter, but the second half comeback was quite impressive.  What does 2021 have in store for those of us in the sales world?  In the US, how will Democrat control of all three branches of government affect sales and selling?  And how long before that kicks in?

Americans can't be certain that threats to pack the supreme court, make DC a state, and change the rules will come to fruition, but the incoming administration has been very clear about their intent to quickly increase taxes, especially on corporations and people with annual income of more than $400,000.  Given the ambitious progressive agenda they wish to implement and the enormous cost - trillions of dollars we don't have - it's likely that the tax increase will include the middle class too.  How will that affect our ability to sell stuff for at least the next two years?

Their progressive agenda, some anti-capitalist cabinet appointments, and Biden's history of coziness with China suggest that the next two years will not be very business-friendly.  Tax increases lead to reduced spending by corporations, small businesses, and consumers.  Lay-offs come next as companies scramble to do more with less.  Sound familiar?  That was the new normal from 2008-2016 so what's old is new again.

That said, we can be sure of three things thanks to the ripple effect of a China-friendly administration, a massive tax increase and lay-offs: 

  1. Imports from China will be on the rise and that means increased competition from low-cost competitors. 
  2. There will be increased pressure on sales teams to boost revenue and profit to compensate for the cost of the tax increases.
  3. Companies will be significantly more restrained about what they purchase from sellers.

See the challenge?  While sellers will be under tremendous pressure to generate additional revenue, the very companies on which they rely for revenue will be more resistant to buying and more price conscious than ever!  

There's more.

With Democrats in control, fear about the new strain of COVID, and the vaccine still months away for most people, it's likely that many more states besides California will be back in a lockdown.  If the new lockdown is anything like the last year's lockdown, the shit show known as 2020 will be back for an encore performance.

You can't endure lockdowns, tax increases, lay-offs and Chinese imports and expect selling to resemble anything routine or easy.

Salespeople will fail.  Objective Management Group's (OMG) data on 2,050,385 salespeople shows that the bottom 50% lack the selling skills to handle resistance, competition, and price sensitivity.  This screen shot represents the percentage of salespeople who have these ten tactical selling competencies as strengths.  See all 21 Sales Core Competencies here.

Mastery of these 10 selling competencies is required for times like these but as mentioned above, fewer than half of all salespeople have them as strengths.  We know that the top 20% of all salespeople generate 80% of the revenue so if the bottom 50% are going to fail, that will either reduce revenue by 20%, or place even more pressure on top producers to compensate for the shortfall.  Neither option is a winning strategy.

That leaves two viable strategies:

  1. Evaluate and train the ever living crap out of them.  OMG's sales force evaluation will identify the areas in which each salesperson needs help in all 21 Sales Core Competencies and then training and coaching can be targeted.  Typically, around 65% will improve but it may take 8-16 months! 
  2. Replace them with top performers. OMG's accurate and predictive sales candidate assessments will help you identify and select those who will succeed in your roles but it won't eliminate the need for on-boarding and you still have to allow for ramp-up time (the length of your learning curve plus the length of your sales cycle plus 30 days).

There is always one more option.  Hide under your desk, hope that things work themselves out, and that you won't have to do anything different.  We already know from last year how that option worked out!  Companies that asked for help during March, April and May of 2020 had absolutely rocking, kick-ass fourth quarters.  By the time the US began reopening during the middle of the year, those who didn't ask for help earlier were so far behind the 8-ball, they were no longer in a position to even pay for the help they so desperately needed.

What will you do to make sure that 2021 is a growth year?

Image copyright 123RF

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales process, sales training, sales evaluation, sales predictions, 2021, democrats in control

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

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

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

Subscribe 

Receive new articles via email
Subscribe
 to the Blog on your Kindle 

 

 

Most Recent Articles

Awards  

Top 50 Sales & Marketing Blogs 2021

Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame Inductee

Hall of Fame



 Hall of Fame

2020-Bronze-Blog

Top Blog Post

Expert Insights

Top 50 most innovative sales bloggers

Top100SalesInfluencersOnTwitter

Top Blog

Hubspot Top 25 Blogs

 

2021 Top20 Web Large_assessment_eval