ACTG Sales Management Blog

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Uncover Sales DNA Upfront and Generate Greater Success When Hiring

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Jan 21, 2021

In the 3rd article of our series Hiring No Assembly Required Salespeople, we cover the Sales DNA competencies a successful candidate must have and how to identify these traits prior to making a hiring decision.

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If you’ve been in sales management, hiring, or skill development for any length of time, you have experienced a “Groundhog Day” in sales. In the movie, starring Bill Murray and Andi MacDowell, Bill’s character wakes up every morning to the same day, doing the same things and having the same experiences. He eventually figures out how to get out of the re-cycling of Groundhog Day.

 

Can you relate?

 

How many times in a week or month do you find yourself covering the same tactics, talk tracks, and opportunity development strategies? As the late Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes would ask, “Did you ever wonder why”? Wonder no longer.

Trial the Highly-Predictive  Pre-Hire Sales Assessment

If the Will to Sell is the fuel (see the second article in our series), then the Sales DNA (audio explanation of Sales DNA) acts either as friction that stops/slows your sales vehicle or as a superset of tires that smooths the road and improves performance.

 

 

Looking at the chart, you can see this candidate is “supercharged” based on the green markers. No assembly is required here. The questions now become:

  • As of today, are you looking for this data before hiring?
  • If a candidate has weak Sales DNA, but you decide to hire them, how do you train and improve the root causes or drivers of sales outcomes?
  • Do you have the capacity to address these competencies?
  • How is your current vetting process uncovering sales-specific behaviors and beliefs?
  • If you are not using any assessment, how would you know if your candidate is weak or strong in these areas?
  • Suppose you could hire the candidate assessed above vs. the candidate you see below?

Stop taking chances with your new hire investment. Start taking an extra step-up front to identify if the candidate you are talking to has what it takes to become part of the top 10% of your sales company.

Let's discuss changing your hiring success to 92% positive predictive validity! Email me at tony@anthonycoletraining.com, provide your name and subject line "Hire Better".

Click Here for Additional Hiring Tools!

Topics: successful hiring, Sales DNA, increase sales, hire better salespeople, effective sales management, will to sell

Recruiting, Hiring and Onboarding Salespeople: It's in the Details

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Jan 14, 2021

In our first blog on How to Hire No Assembly Required Salespeople series, we discussed the four critical steps you must take to minimize hiring mistakes and identify top talent.

In this article, we cover critical selling competencies you must look for when sourcing and interviewing salespeople for your organization.

Indeed produces a series of ads on the radio discussing the value of their recruiting business solution. During the ad, the narrator describes the process as: “looking for a needle in a haystack.” Webster.com defines it as someone or something exceedingly difficult to find. E.g., Searching for an earring at the park is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Suppose you find a needle and it’s the wrong needle?

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Not all needles are appropriate for every job. The same is true for salespeople. 

Unfortunately, when companies recruit salespeople, those responsible for profiling, attracting, vetting, interviewing, assessing, and eventually hiring and onboarding, fail to take the time to get the first step right.

Step #1: Know exactly what you are looking for

The primary criteria you should use to define the role/opportunity is: “Someone that will sell vs. someone that has sold or can sell.” The components of Will to Sell, as defined by the worlds #1 Sales Evaluation by The Objective Management Group Sales Assessment, are:

  • Desire
  • Commitment
  • Outlook
  • Motivation
  • Responsibility

Trial the Highly-Predictive  Pre-Hire Sales Assessment

Dave Kurlan and his team have evaluated over 2,000,000 salespeople from over 25,000 different companies. The assessment they have created has a 92.5% predictive validity. The findings indicate that if a candidate does not score well in the Will to Sell then they are less likely to:

  • Succeed compared to those that score well
  • Be coachable and trainable
  • Have the longevity needed to reach profitability

Let's look at the graphic to the left. This is what you should be looking for first and foremost when hiring a “no assembly required” candidate! The Will to Sell is the fuel that drives the engine of a successful salesperson.

For this article, let’s assume that green is good and red is bad. If you knew nothing else about a candidate other than what you see in this chart, what do you know based on the colors? That’s right. This candidate has a strong desire and commitment to be successful in selling, they have a great outlook no matter what, they own their sales outcomes and personal goals, and they have strong motivation.

I assure you that you won’t find this information in the resume, the job application, or during your interview process. Why? Because:

  • A candidate will not admit they are weak in desire and commitment
  • They will not tell you that they make excuses
  • Those responsible for hiring are not asking questions about what motivates them
  • The candidate has one job when they talk to you over coffee or when they show up for the interview – convince you they are the best thing since sliced bread!

Based on the graphic to the right, an example of a candidate with weak Will to Sell competencies, the question I always ask is: how soon would you want to know this information? The answer is as soon as possible.

 

Better yet, how about before you hire them?

 

Let us add another question: when you hire a candidate that has this level of Will to Sell, when do you typically find out? Typically:

  • The first 90 days post-hire
  • Within the first 6 months of employment
  • After they have failed to meet validation requirements
  • When you start having discussions about performance improvement

 

The real answer is when it’s too late and expensive. This first step in your recruiting process is critical. I assure you that if you evaluate your team by doing an Ideal Fit, you would see that your top people, as well as some of your bottom, have a very strong Will to Sell.

 

If that is the case, then why do salespeople with a strong Will to Sell still fail? Stay tuned for part 3 in our series on the impact of Sale DNA.

Click Here for Additional Hiring Tools!

Topics: hiring better sales people, increase sales, onboarding sales people, top sales performers

4 steps to Hiring "No Assembly Required" Salesperson

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Jan 07, 2021

Hiring sales talent is often a costly, difficult, and time-consuming task. However, it's mandatory in order to grow an organization and sales team.

In this blog, we discuss how to identify top talent and minimize hiring mistakes by following a 4 step process.

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Hiring mistakes are expensive. Before we dive further into this topic, let's consider the following:

  • According to the Department of Labor, the cost of a bad hire can be as high as 30% of first-year earnings
  • Additionally, the CEO of Link Humans estimated the average cost to be as high as $240,000 plus expenses
  • A study of CFOs said that not only do bad hires cost them productivity, but managers spend 17% of their time supervising underperforming employees
  • Lastly, CareerBuilder reports that 74% of employers state they hired the wrong person for the job

If you have a salesforce of 25 people and 20% of your new hires fail due to lack of performance, the cost can be $100,000.00+. In a conversation with Roy Riley, President of Peel and Holland Insurance Agency, he stated that hiring mistakes are a 2-comma problem.

 

Maybe you are part of the 26% that have not admitted to making hiring mistakes. Perhaps a better piece to read would be this article, What Elite Salespeople Do Better, by David Kurlan.

 

Otherwise, here are four steps that, if followed and executed effectively, will cause you great excitement, create a more positive impact on revenue from new hires and drive a more profitable margin for your business.

Trial the Highly-Predictive  Pre-Hire Sales Assessment

Step #1: Hire for Will to Sell rather than Can Sell  

Most personality evaluations will tell you if a candidate has the personality traits consistent with successful salespeople. This information will tell you about characteristics like building relationships, being solution orientation, etc. 

What you want to know is their:

  • Desire and commitment to be successful specifically in selling
  • Ownership of outcomes
  • Motivation to succeed (specifically what motivates them)
  • Outlook when things aren’t going well

 

Step #2: Hire those that are big, fast, and strong

In other words, hire for specific sales DNA such as:

  • Ability to Recover from rejection
  • Beliefs about selling that support success in sales
  • Not inhibited by their own need for approval
  • Comfort asking about and discussing money
  • Can overcome their own buying beliefs so that they can execute a milestone centric sales approach

 

Step #3: Always be prospecting 

100% of the time, when I ask if a company is pro-active or re-active in their recruiting, they will tell me re-active. Yes, they go into the market and talk to candidates. But hiring people when they don't need them or hiring people that they can’t afford are not consistent traits. Here are my recommendations:

  • Schedule at least 20% of your time to focus on prospecting new sales candidates
  • Have a system in your organization where key people are responsible for setting prospecting activity goals and asking for introductions to other talented salespeople
  • Report recruiting activity just like you ask your salespeople to report sales activity in huddles or sales meetings

 

Step #4: Eliminate variability in the performance of your recruiting process

Too often, companies with a large footprint allow market executives to sway from the recruiting processes established by Human Resources. Companies assume that the local executive needs to have the flexibility to maximize the recruiting opportunities specific to their area. Which is causing ineffective results. Instead:

  • All job attraction posts must work from the same format
  • The first step is always to evaluate the potential candidate using a sales-specific skills assessment
  • The next step is to do a 5-10 phone interview (unless phone skills are not important)
  • The initial interview must operate like an audition
  • Use scorecards for the assessment, phone interview, and initial interview so that decisions to move forward are objective
  • Provide the next person in the selection process an interview guide with key focus points
  • Make offers to only those candidates that are committed to making a transformational career change
  • Prepare candidates to decide at the time of the offer by eliminating think it overs after you present your offer
  • Confirm with the candidate that they are prepared to go through your 3-to-6-month onboarding process in its entirety. No Exceptions.

 

In the next article, I will go through the steps and provide some more detail about each, and share with you how data can help you select candidates so that you can improve your success rate to 92% and grow your business!

Click Here for Additional Hiring Tools!

Topics: cost of hiring mistakes, hiring salespeople, key to successful hiring, sales onboarding, hiring top salespeople

Increasing Sales: The G2 Formula

Posted by Tony Cole on Wed, Dec 30, 2020

Lots of people talk about goals and having a plan to achieve said goals. And there is lots of information out there about how important it is to have an tracking system in place to make sure you execute your plan effectively. But what about the GRIND required to increase sales and achieve success?

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There is a sales production target out there – somewhere. It’s different for every person and every organization but it’s out there. And for every person and every organization there is the actual sales production result that is being achieved today. That is the Sales Opportunity Gap. 

The Objective Management Group Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis is the guide that makes you the hero to close the sales growth opportunity gap. The findings in this analysis clearly lays out the current status of the sales team in these areas:

  • Will to Sell and Will to Manage Sales
  • Sales DNA, Sales Management DNA
  • Sales and Sales Management skills
  • Systems and processes that support sales growth
  • And more

These items are critical to understand if you ever hope to strategically and intentionally grow sales in your organization (or for yourself).

But this alone is not enough. Goals and Grind are also 2 requirements to get you from where you are to where you could be.

I'm reading Bob Rotello’s “How Champions Think in Sports and In Life”. I am in the middle of the chapter: Goals, Plans and Process. Lots of people talk about goals, goals setting and having a plan to achieve said goals. And there is lots of information out there about how important it is to have an accountability system in place to make sure you execute the plan. But the thing that struck me about Bob’s chapter is the discussion about the GRIND.

GRIND: it’s not talked about enough when it comes to discussing how to achieve a goal. The grind is the day-in and day-out stuff that you have to do to leverage your natural talents. The grind is the hard stuff, the stuff where we have a tendency to procrastinate.

So, what’s the grind in Sales?

  • Making the prospecting effort on a consistent basis
  • Pre and post call sessions
  • Practicing your sales skills
  • Inputting data in your CRM
  • Going to sales meetings
  • Having 1-on-1 coaching sessions with your manager

This is the grind. This is the stuff day-in and day-out that, when executed properly, leads you to your definition of success. This is what leads you to accomplishing your goal. Without the grind your goal is just a dream.

Need Help?  Check Out Our  Sales Growth Coaching Program!

Topics: reaching sales goals, sales prospecting, sales goals, increase sales, prospect outreach

The Secret to Sales Success

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Wed, Dec 23, 2020

In this article, we cover the basic principles of control in sales and how the little things are actually the big things when it comes to selling effectively and separating yourself from the competition.

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One of the most frequently asked questions we receive from salespeople is, What is the secret sauce to sales success? or, Can you just give me the magic?  I need to sell more business.  Actually, there is a secret sauce, and if you will permit me to enter your kitchen, I am going to serve it up to you.

There is no one thing that is a big thing in selling.  In our organization, we refer to selling as a “slight edge business.”  By that we mean that the line that separates high performers from mediocre performers is usually a very small difference.  Think in terms of maybe just one or two more conversations a week, or one or two more presentations a month.

The Olympics are a perfect example of this truth.  Think of almost any race, whether that be swimming, track and field or skiing.  Do you know what separates the athlete who wins the gold medal from the athlete who finishes just outside the bronze medal?  The answer is fractional seconds, sometimes even as little as tenths of a second.

There is very little you can control in selling.  You can’t make prospects take your call.  You can’t make prospects agree to meet with you.  You can’t make them move forward in your sales process and you certainly can’t make them buy from you.  There are only 3 things you are in control of:

  1. Your effort on a daily basis
  2. Your attitude on a daily basis
  3. Your investment in becoming a better or smarter version of yourself (self-improvement)

Selling is not going to suddenly become easier.  Leads are not likely to become more plentiful. So, the question that is worth asking is this:  What are you doing to shave fractional seconds off your sales time in the race you are running

What are the little things that when done week in and week out will amount to big things in terms of your 2019 production? 

Maybe it is the one more conversation you need to have each day with a prospect.  Maybe it is the one book you will read or the one new connection you will add to your network that will make all the difference.

Sometimes little things are so small you won’t even notice them when you look back at your sales success.  But that doesn’t mean that it is not a big thing to worry about the little things.

Need Help?  Check Out Our  Sales Growth Coaching Program!

Topics: key to sales success, improve sales, sales prospecting, sales success, increase sales

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    About our Blog

    Founder and CLO Tony Cole has been working with financial firms for more than 25 years to help them close their sales opportunity gap.  He is a master at using science based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss his weekly sales management blog insights.

     

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