Why Salespeople Fail and How You Could Have Predicted It

The senior level salesperson was hired with a $130,000 base salary plus bonus – very high compared with the rest of the industry.  He was expected, with minimal support, direction or supervision, to add new distribution and end-users.  After all, he had enjoyed tremendous success while engaged in similar activities within the industry.

In a recent meeting, there were discussions on what to do with this salesperson.  In his first year, he had only minimally increased sales, bringing in only a little bit more than his salary.  While he did build a pipeline, he had failed to close most of what was stuck inside. And he was spending his days on airplanes, touring the country, rather than spending any time building momentum in any one territory.

It’s really a very simple problem.  The company he came to work for was a small, little known manufacturer in need of distribution and end-user accounts.  The companies at which this salesperson had prior success were with brands you know well, that everyone in the world already carried, with established distribution.  All he had to do was grow what had already been established by others before him. After all, how much new distribution had to be created for Oscar-Mayer Wieners?

In the new position with the small company, distributors had to be convinced to carry a product that their customers weren’t asking for.  He needed to create need by opening end-user accounts.

As you can see, the new position required him to actually sell, while the old position only required him to have a presence, maintain relationships and attempt to grow what already existed.

He lacked the experience needed for this position and his prior income and experience at well-known companies masked all of that.

This happens at companies all the time when companies hope to recreate the success a salesperson enjoyed at another company.  But you have to look at what you’ll need them to do and compare that with what they were expected to do before.  In this case, one is not the same as the other and the failure of the $130,000 man could have been easily predicted with OMG’s Sales Candidate Assessments.