Research indicates that only 45% ofbusiness-to-business salespeople achieve their quotas, and in many cases, 20%of the sales team in an organisation deliver 80% of the revenue. Somet30hing’sclearly not working. Peter Gilbert, MD of HR Chally SA, looks at some of thereasons behind these failure rates.
Whatare the most common mistakes made when hiring salespeople? The problem starts whencompanies do not have a clearly defined go-to-market sales strategy. Differenttypes of sales roles require different types and different levels of talent andskill. Without a clearly defined sales strategy, you will not know what kind ofperson you are looking for.
Another problem is that the averagerecruitment process is marginally more effective than flipping a coin. Mostinterviews consist of coffee and a chat, and perhaps a short psychometric test,giving no idea of a person’s networking ability and closing skills. It’s claimed that you can teach anyone tosell. You could probably teach me to play golf too, but I’ll never be TigerWoods. Sales is an inherent talent-based skill; it’s an intuitive business andits components are difficult to capture in a regular HR framework.
Another common practice is to take a greatsalesperson and appoint them sales manager, with the result that you lose agreat worker and gain a bad manager. And then there are the recruitment agenciesthat send along a bunch of deadbeats who, once hired, take up all ofmanagement’s time with their problems, and deflect attention from the customer.
Howdo we solve these issues?
- Recruit for the talent required, and only then look for skills and knowledge. Understand exactly what you are looking for – is it a strategic account manager, or an outbound telesales agent?
- Use an assessment system that can accurately predict future performance. The HR Chally methodology was originally developed for the US Justice Department by actuaries from the insurance industry. Additional research across 320 criterion-based studies has identified 156 unique and independent competencies that every salesperson should have.
- In “best fitting” combinations of the most predictive skills for a given job, accuracy can be as high as 85%.
- In addition, research has identified 14 basic sales and customer-facing positions. Some types of sales roles are similar, but others such as “new business development” actually require a completely different skills set.
- Scales based on individual item correlations for specialised positions can reduce staff turnover by more than 30% and increase productivity by over 35%.
- All of this can be accomplished with an online assessment that requires no new hardware or software, takes a candidate about an hour to complete and is cost-effective for small and large organisations.
For more information, call +27 11 801 9401,or visit www.challysa.co.za