When Does Sales DNA Lead to Sales Hiring Mistakes?

Posted by Chris Mott on Thu, Sep 04, 2014 @ 14:09 PM


Sales DNA describes a salesperson’s underlying strengths and weaknesses.  Using athletic traits as an analogy, they are comparable to good hand-eye coordination, quickness off the line, acceleration, and balance.

A salesperson’s Buy Cycle (how a salesperson purchases), the time it takes for them to Recover From Rejection, and whether they Get Emotionally Involved when selling can significantly influence selling behavior and outcomes.

Sales candidates either can sell or will sell.  The challenge is selecting the ones who will.  Effective sales recruiting requires science, the right process, patience, and excellent interviewing skills.  Unfortunately, many companies don’t approach sales recruiting holistically.  The most common, first mistake comes in identifying what they’re seeking.

Science is critical to consistently hiring “Will Sell” salespeople.  Recent data from the Objective Management Group sales candidate assessment and sales force evaluation identifies the following:

  • 90% Have Unsustainable Pipelines,
  • 83% Lack Written Personal Goals,
  • 60% Make Excuses,
  • 55% Lack Urgency,
  • 45% Are Not Self-Starters, and
  • 21% Have Consultative Selling Attributes.

Because prospects are more knowledgeable (due to the internet), increasingly skeptical, and empirically proven to contact salespeople much later in their buying process, hiring managers absolutely must identify a salesperson’s DNA and skill gaps very early in the recruiting process.

On Objective Management Group’s Sales Candidate Assessment Dashboard, Sales DNA is reported as a percentage.  The difficulty of the sales position drives what the minimum required score is for Sales DNA.  The candidate’s Sales DNA must correlate with the specific sales role for which they are best equipped.  For instance, salespeople who must hunt require very different attributes to be successful than those who will manage accounts.

Benchmarking, while commonplace, universally misses one critical component.  If you identify only those elements that your top salespeople have in common, the analysis is inherently flawed.  For example, in one company, executives bragged that all of their top performers were highly motivated.  That proved to be an irrelevant finding when we showed them that their bottom performers were also highly motivated.  We were able to show them that while their bottom performers had difficulty recovering from rejection, their top performers were rejection proof.  While both their top and bottom performers were committed to sales success, their top performers all scored more than 15 points higher for commitment than those of their underachieving peers.

Great data and science create a foundation for successful recruiting.  A best practices, sales-specific, recruiting process, combined with practiced, honed interviewing skills, will increase your percentage of “Will Sell” salespeople.

Join me at the EcSELL Institute Fall Summit this October in Dallas for a lively, real world discussion about the science of sales recruiting and how you can learn to attract, screen, interview, hire and onboard great salespeople.

Topics: sales assessment, sales hiring, sales recruiting, Top Performer, EcSELL Institute, Sales DNA, Sales Candidate, Candidate Assessment, chris mott

Sales Selection in an Age of Debt and Bailouts

Posted by Chris Mott on Mon, Aug 23, 2010 @ 10:08 AM

We have seen a seismic shift in the business landscape in twenty-four months. Bailouts, debt, unemployment, and tight capital markets are the norm. Businesses are spending but very carefully. 

All of the companies we are helping to recruit great salespeople (yes, companies are hiring salespeople) have one question and one question only: “Can they find new business in our marketplace?”  Great account managers, while skilled at what they do, without hunting and closing skills may become the next horse and buggy.

So what’s important and how do you find it? 

  • Can they sell in a fiercely competitive marketplace?
  • Can they sell consultatively instead of presenting features, benefits and capabilities?
  • Can they sell value?
  • Can they hunt for new opportunities?
  • Can they really work independently?
  • Do they have closing urgency?

In the new sales landscape the answers to these questions are more critical then ever.

On a separate note can you or your sales managers truly mentor your existing sales force to do this? Do you really have the skills, desire, willingness and expertise needed? I save this topic for another posting.

The Express Screening peels back the onion and gives you answers. The first milestone is do they have the necessary motivation factors; second how many weaknesses do they have, third how severe are the weaknesses and then we answer the questions above.

This means it’s crucial you have an accurate, up to date client profile. If your criteria isn’t air tight, some candidates, that aren’t a great fit, may be recommended. A candidate who can sell but needs to be supervised may fail when expected to work independently. How you answered the questions two years ago doesn't matter. Put yourself in the shoes of your prospects and be honest, how would you react to a salesperson selling your products or services to you. The road has changed. It’s harder, rougher, more twisted and full of blind hairpin turns. The Express Screening when used properly will help you navigate better.

Topics: sales hiring, hiring experienced salespeople, Great salespeople, Sales Candidate

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