- December 3, 2010
- Posted by: Dave Kurlan
- Category: Understanding the Sales Force
If you’re a regular reader, you know I have sometimes written about other assessments and how they fare when they go head to head with Objective Management Group’s Industry Leading Sales Force Evaluation tool and Sales Candidate Assessments. Today, another one of those attractively packaged, inexpensive behavioral styles assessments challenges OMG’s highly predictive, insightful, sales specific champion. How will this newcomer fare?
Well, the marketing and graphics on the cover are great. After all, how can you beat a report title like “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Salespeople”? But from there? Pretty standard behavioral findings. Let’s compare a few, shall we?
First, the 7 areas they look at don’t even differentiate successful salespeople from unsuccessful salespeople. I’ll give you an example:
Their #1 is what they call Being Your Own Ally – It’s very similar to what we call Self-Limiting Beliefs. Objective Management Group’s data on 1831616 salespeople assessed to date shows that 77% of the top 5% of the sales population have a supportive Beliefs while none of the bottom 5% do. The problem is that while we are measuring sales specific beliefs, they are measuring general positive thinking, more closely aligned with what we call Outlook. Not only is there little difference in the Outlook of strong and weak salespeople, MOST sales candidates (possibly in between jobs) have a Poor Outlook.
Their #4 is the Ability to Develop a Compelling Story – This IS a differentiator between good and bad salespeople – only they have it backwards! The bottom 74% have perfected the ability to present capabilities, value proposition, the brand promise and other pitches. The top 26% have perfected the ability to ask good, tough, timely questions. What good is the story unless you can tie it to the problems uncovered by effective questioning?
Their #3 is Prospecting but even 31% of the bottom 5% of the sales population prospect consistently!
Their #2 is something called Maximizing Return on Energy or the ability to stay focused. This is mostly about being organized and realizing the importance of prospecting. Our data shows that the best salespeople have this attribute – but that data also shows that the worst salespeople have it too!
Their #5 is Becoming a Master of Communications which is understanding the importance of communications and being prepared. This is actually one of the few things one can observe from simply interviewing a candidate! It is not a differentiator between the top and bottom performers, just a differentiator between those who are prepared versus not prepared. There is only a one-way correlation between performance and preparation. While those who are successful are always prepared, those who are prepared are not always successful!
More important than the difference between the skimpy findings in their assessment is what’s missing from their assessment. Motivation, Real-World Sales Challenges, Skill Sets, and Predictions. Salespeople can have the skills yet have weaknesses that won’t allow them to execute their skills. Salespeople can have skill gaps galore but strengths that allow them to consistently achieve favorable outcomes on pure determination alone. We see strong salespeople – skills and strengths – that lack the desire and commitment to use their skills and strengths. And we see motivated salespeople who have neither the strengths or the skills to succeed.
In a nutshell, this assessment is cute, but like every other behavioral styles assessment disguised as a sales assessment, it is not predictive and therefore, has little value as a sales selection tool or a sales development tool. This is a great example of an assessment whose relative cost is as low as the value provided.