A sales consultant who knows that I geek out on sales data read that 84% of salespeople suck because they don't enjoy what they do. A huge percentage of salespeople do actually suck but the actual number is closer to 75%. Is it really because they don't enjoy selling?
Most of the data I write about comes from Objective Management Group which has assessed more than 2.3 million salespeople. OMG has around 250 data points on each salesperson so there is a lot of data to work with. My plan was to mine OMG's data to see what might support the claim that 84% don't enjoy selling and to conduct a Google search to find the source of that claim.
I began with Google and searched for "84% of salespeople." While I couldn't find a reference to unfulfilled salespeople, I did observe that 84% must be the favorite made up statistic by all of the people (those who will benefit from selling you a service) who make up statistics!
- 84% of B2B Buyers start the buying process with a referral (nope. They start with who they usually buy from)
- 84% of salespeople are active on LinkedIn (not a chance in hell - it's more like 5%)
- 84% of top salespeople crush their sales goals because they are smarter (sorry - it's because they reach decision makers, thoroughly Qualify, have strong Sales DNA, and take a consultative approach to selling)
- 84% of salespeople have invested in CRM (nope - their companies are investing in CRM and based on OMG's data, only 42% of salespeople use it)
- 84% of salespeople at businesses that have adopted professional sales enablement strategies are reaching their goals (No company anywhere has 84% of their salespeople reaching their goals unless the goals were lowered so that everyone could receive a participation trophy)
- 84% of salespeople think their 3-month onboarding training was ineffective (not completely surprising but not nearly that high)
- 84% of salespeople will miss their performance targets for the year (Not. This varies from 47%-57% every year)
- 84% of sales teams are more productive selling from home (if it's from not driving around all day the number should be 100%)
- 84% of salespeople like being recognized for their performance (not even close. OMG's data says it is 21%)
- 84% of top performers ask for commitments (This is so far off. OMG's data shows this number to be 27% for the top 20% of all salespeople)
- 84% of top salespeople rank high in achievement orientation/goal setting (OMG's data has it as 72% for the top 20%)
- 84% of sales training is forgotten within 2 years (it's a made up number and probably closer to 50%)
The references to 84% continue but let's go back to the claim that 84% of all salespeople are not fulfilled in their sales roles.
OMG measures 21 Sales Core Competencies with an average of 10 attributes for each. Some directly and/or loosely correlate to fulfillment. If 84% are not fulfilled we would convert that to a positive and say that 16% are fulfilled. Here is the real data:
- 55% of all salespeople Enjoy Selling and this goes up to 78% for the top 10% and down to 23% for the bottom 10% but their number is supposed to represent all salespeople and that isn't close to 16%.
- 62% of all salespeople have a strong Outlook and feel good about themselves and what they do. This goes up to 75% for the top 10% and down to 40% for the bottom 10%.
- 61% of all salespeople are highly Motivated. This goes up to 89% for the top 10% and down to 12% for the bottom 10%
- 3.5% of all salespeople feel that selling isn't fun. This goes down to .5% for the top 10% and up to 38% for the bottom 10%.
In conclusion, the majority of salespeople feel good about selling, enjoy it, and are motivated to do it. There is a direct correlation between fulfillment and the percentile in which a salespeople find themselves. Better and more successful salespeople find more fulfillment in sales than weaker and less successful salespeople. While that shouldn't surprise anyone, 84% of salespeople lacking fulfillment is not to be believed.
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