So, what are you looking for in your next great sales person? I guess the most important question is this: Are you really looking for the next great sales person or are you looking for a sales person that will fill the FTE allocation? Will you settle for someone that is “at least as good as” your average sales person?
No one in their right mind would say “yes” to those questions, but if your sales organization is large enough, the data would support that your hiring practices are getting you exactly that. According to Geoff Smart (Topgrading), 75% of the hires made are not as good as or only as good as the person they are replacing.
If we were to look at the 80/20 power curve in your organization, we would probably find out what we normally do – that about 36% of the sales force is responsible for over 90% of your sales results. So, what is the other 64% doing? How did they end up on your sales team?
In order to get the right people, you have to know what you should be looking for. In conjunction with Objective Management Group, we have studied our clients. We have evaluated their top performers and non-performers. Looking at over 100 data points, we know what separates those who will sell from those who won’t sell. Do you?
Ignore the words and numbers. Just look at the sea of green which is representative of performers and compare that with the sea of red representing non-performers.
Here is the list we’ve come up with after analyzing the sales teams of 5 of our clients in the financial services/banking business:
- Strong desire for success in selling
- Strong commitment/motivated to do everything possible to succeed in selling
- Has a strong figure-it-out factor
- Possesses Sales DNA Competencies
- Has no need for approval
- Controls emotions
- Has supportive beliefs
- Comfortable discussing money
- Handles rejection
- Sales posturing
- Consultative seller
- Follows consistent sales process
- Compatibility with top performer profile
- Prospects consistently
- Schedules meetings
- Reaches decision makers
- Recovers from rejection
- Does not need to be liked
- Comfortable talking about money
- Has a strong self-image
- Loves to win
- Motivated by recognition
- Loves competing with others
- Rejection proof
What I find interesting about some of the items is that there are a few that have a significant variance between the performers and non-performers:
- Commitment – The commitment to succeed in selling is 77% GREATER in performers than in non-performers.
- The trainability in performers is 34% HIGHER.
- The hunter skill in performers is 112% HIGHER.
- Performers have a 48% HIGHER figure-it-out factor.
- Performers score 119% HIGHER in handling rejection.
- Those that hit sales goals score 87% HIGHER in sales posturing
- This one blows me away – neither group is particularly strong in closing: non-performers have only 13% of the closing skills required. Even though top performers OUTSCORE their counter-parts by 150%, they still only have 33% of the required closing skills.
How do you explain that last item? Look at the others strengths: Desire, commitment, trainability, hunter, figure-it-out qualifier, consultative, posturing… they are REJECTION proof!
The purpose of this post is to get you to think more seriously about what it is that you really know about the candidates you are looking to hire as well as what you really need to know before proceeding with the interview and hiring steps.
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