Today, leaders need a more predictable way to align business and people strategies for more predictable and repeatable growth.
If you have any experience hiring and firing salespeople, you know how difficult it is. For most business leaders, the process of hiring salespeople has devolved into a numbers game. A common refrain at the end of a hiring cycle is, “Let’s give them a try and see how they do.”
Over time, if a leader’s gut tells them they are retaining 50% of the salespeople they hire, they may feel like they are doing well. Unfortunately, their gut is almost always wrong. The actual hiring success rate of a typical sales leader is in the 30%-40% range, worse than the odds at a Vegas craps table.
But there’s more. The success factor not being considered is the quality of salespeople who stay. For every ten salespeople retained, less than half are able to predictably hit their numbers year to year. Hiring managers still don’t know how to (or don’t believe they can) field a team of top sales performers – one where 80% or more of your salespeople meet or exceed revenue/margin goals every year.
If this describes your situation, there is a solution. It’s not radical, it just requires you and your leadership team to stop gambling on the future of your business – to stop rolling the dice and think differently about the process used to evaluate sales talent.
Why is evaluating sales talent so hard? It wasn’t always this way. In the early days, sales success was primarily a matter of persistence. In the 1970’s my father, an Allstate agent, would recite the phrase, “There’s no one with endurance like the man who sells insurance,” immortalized in a 1935 song by Frank Crumit. Back then, my father was a perennial top producer and the secret of his success was essentially showing up and not giving up.
Back then, being a top producer was a matter of will. Over the years sales has become increasingly complex, requiring us to complement our product-service knowledge and relational skills with effective problem solving, the ability to ask good and tough questions, deep knowledge of the buying cycle, and an ability to learn and deliver to each customer’s unique definition of value.
What’s more, general sales practitioners are evolving into (or being replaced by) specialists who have learned to deliver a more narrowly defined role in the larger sales and customer experience processes. This rise in complexity and focus on specialization has produced a generation of salespeople who are not easily interchangeable from job to job or from role to role.
No longer is it realistic to expect skills and successes achieved by a salesperson at one company will be easily transferred to your company. There is, however, a missing link, a missing metric that can give hiring managers accurate insight into the transferability or fit of any candidate to an open sales role. That metric is called RoleDNA.
If you believe your recruiting process can be improved, start by using our free template to upgrade your existing team members’ sales plans. This will allow them to translate annual goals into daily activities and outcomes you can measure. Next, commit yourself to update the sales operating structure (i.e. process, methodology, etc.) each salesperson uses to execute their sales plan, so each can compete at the highest possible level.
Then, when you’re ready, make a small investment in defining the 150 data points that make up the DNA of each open role on your sales team. Instead of rolling the dice, leverage RoleDNA to make a scientific and validated decision about any candidate’s fit-to-role, so you can accurately predict the success of future hiring decisions.