Sales & Sales Management Expertise

The High Cost of Replacing Unsuccessful Salespeople

Tags: OMG assessment, assessing sales talent, #1 sales assessment

Before the Salk Vaccine:

“Until 1955, when the Salk vaccine was introduced, Polio was considered one of the most frightening public health problems in the world. In the postwar United States, annual epidemics were increasingly devastating. The 1952 U.S. epidemic was the worst outbreak in the nation's history. Of nearly 58,000 cases reported that year, 3,145 people died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis, with most of its victims being children. The "public reaction was to a plague", said historian William L. O'Neill. "Citizens of urban areas were to be terrified every summer when this frightful visitor returned." According to a 2009 PBS documentary, "Apart from the atomic bomb, America's greatest fear was Polio.”

Before the Objective Management Pre-hire assessment:

In the late 1980s, David Kurlan founded the Objective Management Group (OMG). The primary focus of his company was to help sales organizations uncover the root causes for the sales opportunity gap – that variance between how a sales team is performing and how it should be performing. Kurlan’s main objective is to answer the question “will they sell?” That's the essential question every sales interview is geared to answer. So why do we so often end up with salespeople that can't or won't sell despite our best efforts and intentions? 

hiring chart

I'm not trying to compare Polio to hiring salespeople-- just trying to make a point that something dramatic had to happen (a significant change in preventative medicine) to eliminate ‘America’s greatest fear’. Hiring the wrong salespeople is happening today constantly and it’s crippling. Bad hires have an impact on:

  • Top line revenue
  • Profitability
  • Effectiveness of Sales Managers
  • Culture
  • Productivity of the rest of the sales team
  • Wasted time money and effort on training and development

Several years ago I met with a group of financial advisory managers. As part of our meeting we used the Hiring Mistake Calculator to help them determine their specific cost of bad hires. When we finished, I asked the president of the advisory program what number he came up and he said $2,000,000 a year. Based on best estimates, a bad sales hire is a $100,000 to a $1,000,000 mistake. If you are a hiring manager, an HR director with a recruiting team or a president of a company, this 2-comma problem should cause you to realize that a dramatic change is needed.

Everything that the hiring manager and supporting HR team does when attracting, vetting, assessing and selecting salespeople should be focused on ONE thing! Will they sell? Not: Can they sell? Do they know banking? How well do they understand coverage’s and employee benefits? Can they conduct a financial plan? 

Over the years I’ve asked sales managers and presidents this question: How many people that are no longer with you are gone because they didn’t understand insurance, banking or investment advisory. The answer for 25 years has been; Zero! Not a single person was fired or left because they didn’t know the how to of the business. Bad hires are bad hires for 1 primary reason – they can’t or won’t sell. Yes, you will sometimes have cultural, compliance or HR issues but 90% of the time people are exited because they did not perform the basic fundamentals required to be successful in selling.

Click on the links below to learn more about the Objective Management Group assessments and how having a strong recruiting process will help eliminate hiring mistakes!

The OMG Assessment

Eliminate Hiring Mistakes for Outside Salespeople

What Does Your Best Sales Person Look Like

Understanding the Make-Up of Your Current Sales Team

Hire Better Salespeople Recruiting

How to Hire Bankers Who Will Sell

Why is Selling so #%&@ Hard

7 More Sales Core Competencies

Tags: sales competencies, improve sales, OMG assessment, sales improvement

In 2008, I posted two blogs covering 14 of the 21 core competencies identified by the Objective Management Group Sales Person Assessment.  Between then and now, much has taken place that I've written about, and as I fly from Atlanta to Portland, Oregon, I have some time to write about the remaining 7 core competencies.  I know that you've been waiting with baited breath.

1.  Establishes early bonding and rapport:  The ability to quickly establish confidence and trust in the first meeting, rather than taking several meetings to develop a strong relationship.

2.  Uncovers actual budgets:  The skill and the consistency in knowing what the investment parameters are going to be so that you eliminate money, time or resource objections at time of presentation.

3.  Discovers why prospects will buy:  As elementary as this sounds, most sales people do not find out exactly "why" a prospect will buy. They know what is important, they have an idea of what a prospect will consider or look at, but that is entirely different than knowing exactly why someone will buy.  You know that you have this competency when you get decisions instead of "think it overs".

4.    Qualifies proposals and quotes.  Those that have this competency and execute it consistently will make sure that they will get a decision or, at a minimum, a very clear future once they present.  Those with this competency only make proposals and quotes when they know that the prospect is committed to buying.

5.  Gets commitments and decisions:  This competency manifests itself prior to making presentations.  It needs to happen once you have uncovered the compelling reasons someone will buy, you have their commitment to buy, you know the budget issues and you know that you are talking to the decision maker(s).  Once these items have been covered, a great sales person simply asks the prospect to make a decision, yes or no, when the presentation is completed.  More importantly, they make the commitment to decide stick.

6.  Possesses a strong desire for success in selling:  this is defined as being passionate about your success.  It is someone that enjoys selling.  Someone with the appropriate desire is someone that looks forward to generating new relationships and is passionate about pursuing and achieving their goals and the goals of the company.  They don't just set goals; they achieve them.

7.  Commits to succeed in selling:  I have identified three types of commitment:  1) WIT: Whatever it Takes.  2) WITALAIITU:  Whatever it Takes as Long as it Isn't Too Uncomfortable.  3) Coast to Coast: When they are just going through the motions and coast from the beginning of the day to the end of the day.  However, there is only one level of commitment that contributes to extraordinary success:  WIT.

Think about these 7 core competencies and how they relate to your ability to execute an effective sales process.  These 7, along with the other 14, should be considered the "root causes" of your sales issues.  If you are to continue your improvement in sales, then you might consider working at the correct end of your problems:  Theses 21 core competencies of selling.

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