Why Top and Bottom Salespeople Have the Same Scores

Why Top and Bottom Salespeople Have the Same Scores

Companies want to use accurate sales assessments but are they accurate when the top and bottom salespeople have the same scores?

The Analogy

Have you ever searched for an item on Amazon and you not only found the item you were looking for, but found around 100 variations of the same product.  They appear to be the exact same thing but since there is a huge difference in price, you look closely and learn that the cheapest products are Chinese rip-offs that don’t work, don’t last, and don’t include the same features.  For example, I looked at what appeared to be two identical steel wire rotary brush cutters to convert string weed trimmers but the cheap rip-offs didn’t include the hardware to install them!

The Problem

A question was brought to my attention about Objective Management Group (OMG) assessments.  For context, OMG has assessed more than 2.4 million salespeople, their accuracy is legendary and they’ve earned their stripes for predictive validity as well.  I was shown two sales candidate evaluations that at first glance had important findings that looked the same.  Both individuals lacked Desire for Success in Sales and Commitment to Achieve Sales Success.  The problem is that individual number one is their top salesperson and individual number two is their worst salesperson.  The question I was asked was, “How can that be!”

The Context

OMG measures salespeople in all twenty-one sales core competencies (see them here) and the Desire/Commitment findings are two of five competencies from the category Will to Sell. While you would recognize the ten tactical competencies, like hunting, qualifying, closing and sales process, Will to Sell shows the difference between those who can sell versus those who will sell.

Circling back to the two salespeople, at first glance the same findings for Desire and Commitment would seem to discredit the accuracy of the assessment.  But could there be more to it?

Historically, Bill is the company’s best salesperson.  Fred is a relatively new hire who is not performing.

The Analysis

A top performing salesperson couldn’t have been a top performer all those years WHILE lacking Desire and Commitment, so the CURRENT lack of Desire and Commitment suggests that something has changed.  And when the CEO met with Bill, she learned that Bill’s father just died, his mother is in hospice, and his wife is being treated for Cancer. So right now, sales success is not top of mind or the number one priority. His findings for Desire and Commitment are spot on.

Fred was a hiring mistake.  It doesn’t matter how strong Fred is in the other 19 other competencies because his lack of Desire and Commitment are non starters.  If the company had used OMG’s Sales Candidate Assessments when they hired Fred, the lack of Desire and Commitment would have caused Fred’s assessment to have a Not Recommended finding and the company would have avoided Fred and the problems that came with hiring him.

The Summary

Whether it’s with Amazon or in this case, an OMG Sales Assessment, you can’t look at two findings and think that’s enough to tell the story of a salesperson.  The assessment shows all twenty-one sales-specific competencies for a reason so you need to review all of them and then put them into the context of the salesperson, their role, their challenges, their history and their life.