The Sales Conversation CEO’s & Sales VP’s Must Have with HR

HR heroHR Directors love our sales candidate assessments because when they finally learn to select the right salespeople, their job becomes easier and they become heroes!

Promises of great success would lead you to believe that this is not a difficult sale, but it doesn’t always go that smoothly.

Today, there are two classes of HR Directors working at companies.  The first class is made up of great ones who have a seat at the executive table, understand the business issues that need to be solved, and strategize with the leadership team to integrate appropriate and effective solutions to help the company grow.  HR Directors in the second class are administrators of recruiting, compensation and benefits and they justify their existence by getting in the way, defending their turf, taking tactical rather than strategic approaches and staying with what they are familiar.

Once in a while, an HR Director from the second class knows so much more than me about assessments that they take it upon themselves to make sure I know how smart they are.  They make sure that I’m aware of the letters that appear after their names, their experience with assessments, they dig their heels in with anti-assessment or anti-OMG (Objective Management Group) biases, and then they ask all of the wrong questions.  When HR Directors are more interested in how the assessment works and how it could be so accurate than problem solving and learning whether or not it will help them select great salespeople for their company, it’s a pretty good clue that we are heading up the creek instead of getting down to their challenges.  Sometimes, these HR Directors need to take OMG’s Sales Candidate Assessment themselves in an attempt to somehow disprove its accuracy and predictive ability.

Recently, I had one of those extremely productive, uplifting conversations.  This particular class 2 HR Director wanted to take our assessment as well as the one her company was currently using.  The other assessment was a personality test disguised as a sales assessment.  Even more ironic, it was the assessment that wasn’t working, as only 11% of the salespeople who were selected with it were hitting their numbers and 40% had failed and turned over.

I had to laugh when I was told that our assessment was “correct in not recommending” her for the sales position at her company, but “the other assessment was a more accurate description” of her.

Of course it more accurately described her – it’s a personality assessment, not a sales assessment, so it described what she is like and she was able to relate to the description of herself.

OMG’s Sales Candidate Assessment does not describe a personality or a person or a type.  It answers business questions that are far more important, like:

Will this candidate succeed in this particular sales position, selling these particular products or services, into this particular market, calling on this particular decision-maker, in this size company, against this kind of competition, at these price points, in a sales cycle of this length, with this level of difficulty and resistance, these challenges, and your expectations?

Which information is more useful when determining which candidates to interview – the kind of personality they have, or whether they will succeed in the role?

When HR Directors don’t understand business and the challenges of selling, they can much more easily relate to a known (albeit useless) personality assessment for the purpose of pre-employment testing.  This is why it is so important for CEO’s and sales VP’s to work with HR and help them understand why the sales role is so completely different than every other role in the company.  Help them understand that while the information from personality assessments is nice to have, the accurate, predictive findings of a reliable sales-specific assessment like OMG’s is a must have to get sales selection right.

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