What Percentage of Sales Candidates Are Hired?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Sun, Jul 20, 2014 @ 21:07 PM

sales selection

 

Do you know what percentage of sales candidates eventually get hired?  I posed that very question to Google search and none of the results, that appeared on the first page, answered my question.  Two results pointed to my article from earlier in 2014 that answered the question, "How Many Sales Candidates are Worthy of Being Hired?"

That article addressed several classifications and roles and revealed that, on average, 28% of all sales, sales management and sales leadership candidates assessed were recommended using Objective Management Group's (OMG) assessment.  

 

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It's not quite as simple to figure out how many were actually hired, but we have our ways.  I'll spare you our steps and calculations, but when all was said and done, the data showed that 6% of all candidates assessed were hired.

What Does 6% Mean for You?

In very simple terms, 6% means that 20 candidates must be assessed for each one who is hired.  With an overall recommendation rate of 28%, those 20 assessments will yield approximately 6 candidates who are worthy of your time.  But there is much more to consider.

In order for 20 candidates to take the assessment, you'll probably need 40 to submit their resumes and at least 30 of them to complete an online application.  

We instruct our clients to run a 5-step process where the first 2 steps are to follow a link to an online application, and after completing that, follow another link to the online sales assessment.  The most casual of the applicants will drop out at the online application.  Too much work.  If they can submit a resume and get an interview, they'll take it, but any more effort than that and they'll remain with the company for which they are currently working.  The least qualified will drop out at the online assessment.  Too role-specific.  When they begin to complete the assessment and have difficulty answering all sales-specific questions, they quit, knowing they aren't qualified.

What if You Don't Get 40 Resumes Per Role?

If your flow of resumes is poor, you are probably doing several things wrong.  It's likely a combination of things including, but not limited to your ad title, the ad itself, the compensation, the geography, too much information, the wrong information, who you are targeting, where you are targeting them, etc.  The assessment is only as good as the pool of candidates you find and attract.  That's why a lot of recruiters become frustrated with OMG.  

Why Do Recruiters Get So Frustrated When Their Clients Use OMG?

Recruiters don't want to work any harder than they need to and when an OMG Candidate Assessment is involved, they quickly learn that, of the candidates they send to their clients, the majority (72%) are not recommended.  Recruiting is a lot like real estate sales.  Recruiters tend to send candidates who have curb appeal and a relevant resume, as opposed to candidates who have the required skills and competencies, but might be a harder sell because they lack curb appeal or their resume doesn't scream "hire me!"  The OMG Candidate Assessment differentiates between those candidates quite well, and its accuracy and predictive qualities are legendary.

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What is the Most Effective Way of Using the Assessment?

The assessment is most effective when used very early in the process - as a first or second step prior to reviewing a resume or speaking with a candidate by phone.  Years ago, I observed that most employers used assessments incorrectly.  They were using personality and behavioral styles tests which are not in any way, shape or form predictive of sales success, and they were not being utilized until after they had narrowed the field down to the final 5 candidates.  Unfortunately for them, the 5 they identified were usually not the best 5 to consider.

Used early in the process, companies eliminate the candidates who won't succeed, don't waste time talking with them, and can invest all of their time speaking with and interviewing the strongest sales candidates.  Best of all, those top candidates are identified using a customized, scientific and objective analysis, not one based on resumes and industry experience.  As a bonus, companies who assess all of their candidates are EEOC Compliant, while companies who cherry-pick to assess are being discriminatory.

Isn't it Expensive to Use That Many Assessments?

Several years ago, OMG moved to a subscription model that offered unlimited assessments, providing employers with a financial incentive to use the assessments correctly and efficiently at the beginning of the process.  Subscriptions control costs, get the actual per assessment price to a ridiculously low number, and allow companies to assess every candidate.

Companies, who use OMG for sales selection, enjoy incredible consistencies, reduce their turnover, improve their on-boarding time, and significantly increase their success rate.  That could be you...

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Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales candidates, sales selection, sales assessments, sales test, personality test

Top 10 Reasons Why Your Great New Salesperson Might Fail

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jun 30, 2014 @ 09:06 AM

failure

When a great salesperson is recommended by Objective Management Group's (OMG) Sales Candidate Assessment, and this star has a great track record, and great references, should we expect this person to succeed?

Most executives do.

But even though salespeople will tell you that "If you can sell, you can sell anything", that statement is only true some of the time.  Here are some examples of salespeople who are successful in one environment, but usually fail in another:

  1. They were the best in their business at selling high-volume, low-cost products until they went to work for a value-based company and the "beat their best price" tactics were no longer available.
  2. They were the best at selling programs to procurement until they went to work for a company where the sale had to be made in the C-Suite where they were intimidated, unable to speak the language and unable to grasp the importance of strategy, profit and return.
  3. They were the best at selling components to OEM's until they went to work for a company where they had to sell conceptual services and were lost without a product to demonstrate.
  4. They were the best at finding and selling new accounts for a local company until they went to work for a national firm and had to do the same thing, in a brand new territory, working from their home.
  5. They were the best at selling 5-cent parts by the thousand until they went to work for a company where they had to sell 6-figure programs and choked over the amount of money they had to ask for.
  6. They were the best when they were managing, retaining and growing key accounts, and now that they work for a company where they must hunt for new business, they are sucking wind.
  7. They were on top of the pack when they sold services with a six-month sales cycle, but now that they work for a company selling a product in a very short sales cycle, nothing is getting closed.
  8. They were #1 at the last company, working under a hands-on sales manager who was a stickler for coaching and accountability, but the results just aren't there with the new company where they are reporting directly to the President who only responds to the proactive requests of his salespeople.
  9. There was nobody better at getting contracts signed when they sold the product that everyone buys and it was only a matter of who they would buy it from, but now that they are selling things that companies could either do themselves or not do at all, they can't overcome the ambivalence.
  10. They were at the top of the heap working for the large, well-known industry leader where prospects rolled out the red carpet and eagerly bought their products.  Now that they are working for a lesser known company, they aren't able to overcome the resistance that is always there now, but never there before.

Skills and experience are terrific, but track record is extremely misleading!

For example, if you go back and take another look at #4, this is where great salespeople, selling the exact same thing, can suddenly fail because they aren't able to succeed when working remotely from a sales manager who doesn't manage her salespeople very closely.

I reviewed OMG's data on a random set of 4,500 recent sales candidate assessments and only 12% were suitable for working remotely.  BUT…upon closer look, 12% was not representative of the findings for any one company!

Of the companies that required both a remote seller and had enough candidates to make up an appropriate sample size, the distribution of candidates suitable for working remotely ranged from 2% to 75%.  I thought that was rather strange and looked again, but with different filters.  I found that the variations in suitability had more to do with the company, and the difficulty level of the role, than anything else.  When the role was more difficult and their job postings reflected that difficulty, stronger candidates applied and were assessed.  When the role was less difficult and the job postings reflected it, all kinds of qualified and unqualified candidates applied and the assessments reflected that change in candidate quality.  For example, look at these 5 companies, their percentage of suitable candidates, and the difficulty level of the role:

Company Difficulty Level Suitable for Remote
 A  Considerable  75%
 B  Considerable  67%
 C  Some  50%
 D  Moderate  25%
 E  Moderate  2% 

If you throw out company E, the average is 60% suitable, but we also lose 75% of the candidates in the sample, so you can’t do that… 

When the role is not very difficult, the company will attract lower level salespeople, and they will be much less likely to be suitable for working remotely than their much stronger peers.

When you look at all 10 of my examples, you should be able to recognize why it is so important to use a sales-specific candidate assessment that is customized to your company's requirements, determines whether candidates possess the required selling skills, digs into the Sales DNA to determine whether candidates will succeed in your business, and in this role, and makes an accurate, predictive recommendation.

 

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Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales candidates, omg, sales assessment test, sales selection

Case History - Achieve Lowest Turnover in the Entire Sales Force

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, May 27, 2014 @ 16:05 PM

turnoverFrom time to time, I get pretty cool emails that make me want to write positive articles instead of negative ones.  Today, I got one from an OMG (Objective Management Group) Partner, who wanted to let me know what he learned from one of his clients at a company that you all know quite well (but whose name will be withheld).

He wrote, "They have the lowest turnover of all the departments."

That's good, right?  Maybe not.

The Question That Must be Asked

Why would an enterprise (that has standardized on OMG's Sales Candidate Assessment, had OMG customize it for every sales role in the company, and has terrific data from its first year of use) have one department with significantly lower turnover than all the others?

Could it be any of the following 10 Reasons?

  1. Difficulty of the Role,
  2. Capabilities of the Different Sales Managers,
  3. Differences in the Various Selling Profiles,
  4. Differences in the Criteria for a Recommendation on the Assessment,
  5. Varying Interviewing Skills,
  6. Varying Expectations,
  7. Differences in Team/Department Cultures,
  8. Demand for the Different Products/Services,
  9. Varying Degrees of Competition Across Departments, and/or
  10. Luck of the Draw.

In most companies, each of those possibilities are always in play.  However, in this particular company, it wasn't any of them.

The Actual Reason

In reality, it was a very simple difference and you could say that this department was being really smart or that the other departments were being stupid.  

OMG's customized Sales Candidate Assessments could say that a candidate is recommended, not recommended or worthy of consideration.  They could also indicate that a candidate is recommended ideal or recommended perfect.  Each of these 5 possible recommendations is extremely accurate and predictive.

The department with the lowest turnover followed the recommendations, remained patient, and did not hire any candidates that were not recommended.  The other departments thought they knew better despite very strong statistical evidence to the contrary.  Our statistics AND THEIRS showed that 75% of the candidates who were not recommended, but hired anyway, failed within 6 months.  Why would anyone, anywhere go against a powerful statistic like that?  They're Smarter-Than-Us-Professionals, I declare - or STUPID.

You don't have to reinvent the wheel.  You don't have to be creative.  You don't need magical powers.  And you don't need to perfect your gut instinct.  Just use a tool that is proven to work consistently and reliably, and use it the way it was intended to be used.  And when it comes to sales selection, you'll be in good shape.

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Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales recruiting, sales candidates, sales turnover, objective management, sales selection

Finding the Right Sales and Sales Management Candidates

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, May 22, 2014 @ 12:05 PM

selectionI read this terrific post from our friends at New-Hire.com about the best sources for candidates in general.  It certainly applies to sales candidates as well.  Not only are the best sources a moving target, but the candidates themselves can be looked at the same way.

Five years ago, we may have started with Monster.com, two years ago, CareerBuilder.com and today, we may start with Indeed.com.  That represents two major sourcing shifts in just 5 years.  In the same period of time, there have been major shifts in the quality of sales candidates, in the roles those candidates will fill, and the capabilities we need those salespeople to possess.

For example, just 7 years ago, a company may have needed salespeople who could hunt and/or close.  While that still could be true today, it's also possible that inside sales might replace the need for hunting, and a good consultative seller could add enough value to the prospect, his/her business, and the buying process so that great closing skills aren't required.  The competencies of an inside salesperson, hunter, closer, consultative seller and even account manager are vastly different, so it is imperative that we not only define those competencies, but use tools to measure them.  Assessments are the logical choice, but it should be more and more obvious that a personality assessment can't possibly measure the different sales capabilities that would cause one to be effective in one of these roles and ineffective in another.  Objective Management Group (OMG) measures sales-specific capabilities, has configurations for all of the various sales roles, and further customizes those configurations for the specific business, market, competition and decision maker to be called or visited.  Its recommendations are extremely accurate and today it even identifies the intangibles that could cause an otherwise mediocre salesperson to succeed.  

If you would like to learn more about how OMG's sales candidate assessments can help you select the right salespeople, I am leading a complimentary webinar on the magic of the OMG Sales Candidate Assessment.

June 5
11:00 AM Eastern
Register here

Seven years ago, a company may have wanted sales managers who were task masters, holding salespeople accountable to top of the funnel metrics.  While that could still be true today, a company should be looking for a sales manager who is an extremely effective sales coach, who spends 50% of the available time coaching and developing salespeople.

As sources shift, requirements change, and the capabilities of the available candidates become less than what we require, it's more important to develop a sound sales recruiting process that is repeatable, transferrable and delivers consistent results.  In this case, results must equate to successful salespeople and sales managers who achieve and even overachieve.  

This level of consistency and success requires a change in beliefs, a desire to change the status quo, an exasperation with previous attempts and results, and embracing new ways to improve results.  Unfortunately, there are still many executives who have unrealistic expectations about their ability to recruit and select, and that if they do what they have done before, the result will change for the better.

It's not that difficult to get sales selection right, but it does require discipline, patience, process, tools and tremendous sales interviewing skills.

Let us know when you're ready to take that plunge.

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Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales recruiting, sales candidates, sales test

Your Next Sales Candidate: Looking for "The One"

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Mar 05, 2014 @ 08:03 AM

the oneA couple of questions from the mail bag concerned finding that special someone; you know, "The One."

In the first case, the client had hired a few salespeople who didn't work out and wanted to know if Objective Management Group's (OMG) Sales Candidate Assessment was capable of identifying and recommending what they were calling a crusader.  They believe that their business is different because people don't know that they need what this particular company is selling.

Their business is different - a little - from most businesses, but certainly not unique by any definition.  Most companies sell products and services to a saturated market - companies and consumers that already buy "stuff" like that and the only thing a customer or prospect must determine is which company they will buy from this time.  A great example of this is your copier lease.  At or before lease expiration, you will lease one or more new machines and the only decision that you might need to make could be to which brand, company or salesperson you will give the business.

There are also products and services that aren't automatically purchased, with any regularity or certainty, by anyone.  Budgets may not exist, they don't appear as line items, and it's quite possible that nobody has ever given it a thought.  In most cases, when we recommend evaluating a sales force as a way to provide an executive the answers he needs to explain why performance isn't where it needs to be and make the decisions to get the organization performing at a higher level, it's the first time that executive had ever given thought to a sales force evaluation.  In this case, it's not "Who do we buy from?", it's "Do we buy?", a completely different kind of sale.  But like I said before, it's certainly not unique.

So this company wanted a crusader, something OMG calls an evangelizer.  That the company had little success before was only partly due to not having properly set its selection criteria.  The other issue with small companies like this is that very frequently, they are not set-up in such a way that will support the hiring of new salespeople.  Many small companies do not have sales managers, leaving the Presidents, CEO's and owners serving in that role on-demand.  New salespeople require knowledge, onboarding, training, coaching, direction, training, coaching, support, training, coaching, accountability and attention.  (I know that there are 3 instances of training and coaching.)  When sales management is provided only as required, new salespeople will take 3 times longer to ramp-up (now do you understand the importance of the 3 instances of coaching and training?)  If they even survive that long.

The other mail bag question was from a Sales VP who had his final 3 candidates lined up.  They had already completed comprehensive online applications, taken OMG's Sales Candidate Assessment and were recommended, had been interviewed by phone and again via video conference by me, and had been interviewed via video conference a second time by the VP and Sales Director.  Their final criteria for selection was about finding "the one."  I told them that "the one' should never be the goal…nobody ever lives up to that label.  After putting a candidate through all of those steps in the process, you already know they have the capabiity to succeed in this sales role.  The final step is when it's finally OK to choose someone you like.   You should also be favoring someone who really gets what you do – who understands how to hunt for and create applications, relentlessly drives the sales process, and will get up to speed quickly.  "The one" is probably earning $250,000 or more selling something more conceptual to CEO's…

You can get sales selection right, but it takes the right process, tools, interviewing skills, and selection criteria.  As with the sales process, you can't skip steps, take anything for granted, or be too casual about your role in any part of the process.

I'll be talking more about selection criteria when I speak at The EcSell Institute Sales Coaching Summit in Charlotte on April 15.  Their Summit is always a terrific program and if you're available, you would benefit from attending.

We'll also be talking about sales selection when I host part 2 of Leading the Ideal Sales Force on March 12 at 11 AM ET.  We'll discuss the following 3 topics:

Blindspots - When Salespeople Finally Have Better Conversations
Blindspots - Fighting for The Candidate You Love
Blindspots - We Finally Have a Working Pipeline

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales candidates, omg, sales selection, sales assessments

Are You Any Good at Evaluating Sales Talent?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Feb 11, 2014 @ 17:02 PM

MLB Hall of FameWell, are you?

I'll bet you are.  You can probably spot an energetic, motivated, likable, memorable, polished, polite and attractive salesperson from a handshake away.  Aren't those the ones you like best?  Aren't those, especially when they have industry background, the ones you hire?  And don't they all perform just swell?  

No?  Why not?  After all, they met all of your criteria, didn't they?

In baseball, they call it the 5-tool player.  This is the kid who can run, field, throw, hit for average and hit for power.  These kids are the can't miss prospects.  They get drafted in the first round and become perennial All-Stars and Hall-of-Famers.  What's that?  They don't?  Why not?  They have all of the tools...

In the NFL, only 13 players in the Hall of Fame were selected with the first draft pick.  13!

In the NBA, only 8 players, selected with the first pick since 1991, are in the Hall of Fame.

In the MLB, only 5 players, selected in the entire first round (28 picks in the round each year) between 1965 and 1982, are in the Hall of Fame.  That's 5 of 476 first round picks!

There's talent, and then there's the ability to utilize one's talent and most sports talent evaluators are no better at this than most sales managers.

In sports, coaches, GM's and player personnel directors can evaluate skills, but it's more difficult for them to evaluate a player's makeup and how that will translate to performance at the highest levels.

In sales, managers can evaluate soft skills, like the ones I listed in the first paragraph, but not strategic and tactical skills, and not sales DNA, their sales makeup, and how that will translate to performance at their company and in a specific role.

For sales, there are quality tools that can be utilized to help with sales selection.  One such tool is Objective Management Group's (OMG) Sales Candidate Assessment.  It's simply more predictive of sales success in any number of roles and environments than any other tool or assessment.

But the assessment is only as good as the pool of candidates, and that is influenced by the job posting and where that posting is placed.  Most postings are horrible and most are not placed using ideal strategies.

But even the posting is only as good as the role specification and I've never seen a sales manager or HR director get this correct on their own.

Getting selection right depends an awful lot on selection criteria and being able to identify it during a sales interview.  Interviewing salespeople is completely different from interviewing candidates for any other role in a company, so it's no wonder that so few HR professionals and sales managers excel at this.

So, you can evaluate talent.  You just can't predict whether that talent - their personality - will translate.  Use some world-class tools to help you get the job done effectively!

Do you need to transform your sales force?  My article on sales transformation appears on the Selling Power blog.  See it here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales recruiting, sales candidates, sales assessments, objective management group, sales transformation, selling power

What Percentage of Sales Candidates are Worthy of Being Hired?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jan 13, 2014 @ 06:01 AM

worthyIt’s an interesting question and one that has more than one answer.  I wrote an article back in September of 2013 that asked the question, Are Sales and Sales Management Candidates Getting Worse?

Consider the way that most companies hire people for sales roles.  They skim through resumes, select only those that have the experience they look for, do some preliminary phone interviewing, and bring in the best for a series of face-to-face interviews.  They may eventually hire 50% of the candidates they interviewed, a group of finalists that represented 75% of the phone interview group, who represented perhaps a third of the resumes collected.  Do the math, and you’ll see that the typical company hires about 37% of the candidates they originally identified as worthy.

Now consider that on average, about half of those new salespeople fail, and half of the successful group fails to meet quota.  Why are companies still getting sales hiring so wrong?

It begins with the skimming of resumes.  This practice causes many of the wrong people to be included in the candidate pool.  They have nice resumes, have the right background, and may even interview well.  But most of these candidates have little in the way of selling capabilities.  According to Objective Management Group’s (OMG) statistics from more than 700,000 sales evaluations, 74% of all salespeople suck.

When OMG’s Sales Candidate assessment is used as a substitute for skimming through resumes, the process is similar.

Each candidate is assessed – before anything else is done.  Depending on the difficulty of the role, and the requirements of the position, and the customization of the assessment, we can expect anywhere from 87% (for the most challenging roles) to 57% (the least challenging roles) of all candidates to be disqualified based on whether or not their selling capabilities meet the requirements for the role.  By the way, that averages out to 72%, which is extremely close to the 74% that you know aren’t very capable.  See the detailed chart below.

So now, we have anywhere from 13% to 43% of our original candidate pool to work with.  As in the first example, those candidates are phoned and the best of those candidates are interviewed.  Finally, the best of the best are hired.  The difference with this example is that better than 90% of the salespeople in this group succeed!

I’ll be leading a Webinar on February 26, at 11 AM Eastern, that walks existing OMG clients through our Candidate Analyzer – a web tool for sorting and filtering their candidates that have already been assessed.  You’re welcome to join us and see what all the fuss is…

Register here.

2013 Candidates Recommended by Role and Difficulty  

 Percentages

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales candidates, omg, sales selection, sales assessments, statistics

Global Warming, Social Selling and The Sales Force of Tomorrow

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jan 08, 2014 @ 04:01 AM

global warmingGlobal Warming is a trend.  Its impact on our future and the role that humans played are both hot topics and subjects of great debate.  In my opinion, the globe has been warming since the end of the ice age.  Humans, with their man-made factories and ozone-depleting products, had nothing to do with the origins of global warming.

The origins of Social Selling go back to early human life too, although, the tools that have given social selling its name are relatively new.  Social Selling is also a trend.  The role it plays and its impact on the future of selling are also hot topics and subjects of great debate.

For example, you only need to read this article and the links within it to get a sense for how strong the opinions are and how much passion is driving those opinions.

Proving that social selling is having a positive effect on results is one of our greatest challenges.  In my opinion, the challenge is the data iself.  Social selling experts use data from the marketing, inbound and inside sales groups with whom they work.  As you might expect from groups who spend all of their time at the top of the sales funnel, there has been a positive impact on their ability to add opportunities to the pipeline.  If every other ratio remains the same, then more opportunities will translate to more sales and greater revenue.  

Experts who work with traditionally built sales forces look at their data and don't see the same impact, especially on win rates and sales cycle length.  The obvious takeaway is that social selling's greatest early success is not only its ability to help sellers move more opportunities into the pipeline, but to do it more passively compared with more traditional methods.

That doesn't mean that social selling has no place or impact on the traditional sales force.   Let's look at the impact from a different perspective.  How does Social Selling affect A's differently from how it affects B's and C's?

Let's start with A players which, according to our data at Objective Management Group (OMG), represent the top 6%.  They are great salespeople, performing at elite levels, and if you provide them with great new tools, they still will be performing at an elite level.  There won't be a statistically significant difference.  

How about the C players which OMG defines as the bottom 74%?  These salespeople are mediocre at best and that's being polite.  When I'm not being as kind, I would say that the bottom 74% just plain suck!  If you provide this group with great new tools and direct them to make use of the tools and methods, they would still be crappy salespeople.  Most prospects would decline to engage (just as they would with their traditional approaches) and the impact of social selling would be statistically insignificant.

That leaves the B's.  OMG defines them as the 20% of salespeople who rank between the elite and the crappy.  They are very good salespeople.  This is the group where we would see the most significant change in results from social selling.  These salespeople understand that Social Selling, used effectively, gives them an edge and this group will leverage anything and everything to improve their results.

Some might say that while this makes sense, it represents such a small percentage of salespeople that it can't have a significant impact.  That is short-sighted thinking.  It only represents a small percentage of salespeople when a company has a poor track record with recruiting and sales selection.  If more focus and attention were given to this aspect of building a kick-ass sales force, the entire team would have ONLY A's and B's.  There would be no tolerance for C's!

As with nearly every sales metric, results are directly correlated to the caliber of the salespeople.  When companies emphasize selecting the right people, most challenges (from the use of CRM, to following a sales process, to meeting and exceeding quotas) fade away.

In 2014, focus on upgrading your sales force, not on integration of tools.  The correct salespeople won't need to be led to the promised land.  They already work there!  The more immediate question is, how do you know whether or not you have accurately graded your salespeople?  After all, the only salespeople you can compare them with are those that have worked for you.  How would they compare with the other 650,000 salespeople that OMG has evaluated and scored?  Of even more importance, what will you do if you learn that the salespeople you thought to be A's and B's are really B's and C's?  We have sophisticated algorithms that tell us which C's can be saved and developed and which C's can't.  Isn't it time to learn the truth about your sales force?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales training, sales recruiting, sales candidates, social selling, sales selection, sales assessments, objective management group

Sales Candidate Shortage - More Proof That Sales Isn't Dead Yet

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Nov 07, 2013 @ 06:11 AM

Death Of SellingAs you probably know, many people have been writing premature obituaries about the impending death of selling.  Of course, that's been going on since at least 2006 when I posted my first rebuttal to this silly claim, and as recently as last month when I posted my latest rebuttal.  It's being perpetuated by extremist marketers who are claiming that inbound will become the be-all end-all.  

It's simply not true.

The latest proof can be found in this July 2013 USA Today article.  I'll give you the important facts, but you should shoot over there and read the entire article.

The article said that in June, "the number of jobs in sales and related occupations jumped a whopping 445,000 to a four-year-high of 15.8 million."  That's in the USA alone.  Those numbers are trending the wrong way for the pro-death-of-selling folks.  Not only that, our company, Objective Management Group, will need to change it's BHAG from 14 million to 16 million salespeople evaluated! 

The article also said that "Thirty-five percent of sales managers couldn't find qualified candidates for open positions."  That's consistent with what clients have been seeing.  

Another important point from the article was that it is now taking three months to fill a sales position.  I should add that that's when standard quality sales managers look for standard quality salespeople.  If we raise the bar and look for high quality salespeople, the timeline can extend to six months!

These developments place an even bigger emphasis on the importance of using a best-in-class, sales-specific, accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment early in your sales recruiting process.  When there is urgency to fill positions and most of the candidates aren't very good, even your hiring managers will have to deal with the case of happy ears.  Consistent use of the assessment will alleviate that.

While this is all disappointing and frustrating news for companies that need to hire salespeople, and especially for those who want to hire great salespeople, it's really bad news for the people who have been holding those messed-up crystal balls!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, Inbound Marketing, sales candidates, omg, sales recruiting sales assessments, death of selling

Are Sales and Sales Management Candidates Getting Worse?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Sep 09, 2013 @ 21:09 PM

drop in rateThere are more sales experts, self-professed and otherwise, than ever before.  There is more free content on sales and selling than anyone could have imagined.  There are probably twice as many books on the subject than just 10 years ago.  There are categories of sales tools and CRM applications where none existed a few years ago.  Companies are spending more money on sales force evaluations, sales training, consulting, sales leadership development, sales process, infrastructure and sales recruiting services than 5 years ago.  And selling has changed more in the past 5 years than ever before.

With all that, shouldn't the quality of sales, sales management and sales leadership candidates be on the rise?  Yes, it should.  

But there's a problem.  The quality has not risen.  It seems to have worsened!

Look at this trend where the average percentage of recommended sales candidates has dropped 6%, while the average percentage of recommended sales management candidates has dropped by 15%, in just the last 3 years:

HirableStats

The small dotted line is the trend for the percentage of sales candidates who were recommended by Objective Management Group from 2009-2013.  The darker dotted line is the trend for the percentage of sales management candidates who were recommended by Objective Management Group for the same time period.

There are four possible explanations for this considerable drop.

1.  The first dates shown on this table - early 2009 - represent a time when the country was deep in recession.  When their industries were negatively impacted by the economy, many salespeople and sales managers were laid off or left voluntarily to search for better opportunities.  There were some very good salespeople and sales managers among the mix of the total population of candidates.  During the past 12-18 months, good performers have been a rarity among both groups with mediocre and poor candidates being the norm rather than the exception.

2.  During 2009, only those companies with cash and a willingness to spend it - mostly mid-market companies - were hiring salespeople.  They tend to pay more than smaller and larger businesses and their recruiting efforts, compensation and incentive plans are designed to attract stronger salespeople.  In the past 2 years, the large and small companies have resumed their recruiting efforts, but their less-impressive compensation plans don't appeal to strong salespeople at a time when weak sales and sales management candidates make up most of today's available pool.

3.  Despite the factual nature of explanations 1 and 2, when you also weigh the availability of content, books, video, training, evaluations, consulting and development, the trend should still rise instead of fall.  This would point to an overall weakening of those in our profession.  

4. Dramatic changes have made professional sales a much more difficult profession.  The top 10 changes include:

  1. The need for salespeople to follow a buyer-focused, consultative approach; 
  2. Expectations to utilize a myriad of tools;
  3. Increased price sensitivity;
  4. Prospects are less likely to answer their phones, return calls or respond to emails;
  5. Information previously available from salespeople is now readily available online;
  6. A new type of lead - from inbound marketing efforts - which requires a radically different approach;
  7. Prospects have different expectations of salespeople;
  8. Prospects invite salespeople later in their buying processes;
  9. A growing trend to move outside salespeople to inside;
  10. A shift where sales managers are now expected to devote 50% of their time to coaching.

As a result of these dramatic changes, salespeople who were once quite capable of succeeding, while using a traditional transactional approach, now struggle and even fail with growing regularity.  The growing percentage of salespeople, who don't make the grade, have simply failed to adapt, learn and improve.

The reality is that all 4 explanations are plausible and there could be other explanations as well.  What do you think?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, sales recruiting, sales candidates, sales management coaching, salespeople suck, sales managers suck

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for nine consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave

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