Many industries will not hire a salesperson without an evaluation to determine the candidate’s level of sales performance and skills. Most of the companies we work with are banks and insurance firms, and while these are not industries that have typically been committed to evaluating, we are seeing a movement in that direction. Bank CEOs are beginning to understand that the data behind that robust resume or smooth interviewer can reveal some critical tendencies and potential weaknesses that they need to know before making a job offer. Banks and insurance firms realize that they need to know this same information about their current sales team. It is sometimes difficult to understand what makes the top producers so successful and how to find, attract and develop more of those types of salespeople. There is a science to the soft skill world of selling. We utilize the #1 sales evaluation by Objective Management Group, Inc., and here are a few examples of why this data is so important if you are leading a sales team and must grow the company. If you are a salesperson, understanding this data is critical to honing your skills and moving up the leader board!
Take a look at the chart below. While this example is for banking, we provide this type of data for every industry. There are 21 core sales competencies listed here and measured by OMG, but we are going to focus on the middle group called Sales DNA. Sales DNA can be coached, and it does not make sense to invest in sales training and techniques until your company and salespeople understand the dynamics of Sale DNA and how it affects them and their skills.
Case study example – Let’s say we are planning to train your team on a sales approach that they have not used before with a questioning technique that, while very successful, they do not understand or “believe” in. For example, asking for introductions from their current advocating clients. If we don’t train them first on the impact of their own supportive or non-supportive beliefs, many will not buy into the new sales technique, and they will push back and never utilize it. Beliefs drive behavior, and behavior drives outcomes and results. If no change is made, then sales training budgets are wasted on this approach.
Here’s another Case Study example of how Sales DNA can affect sales performance. If your salesperson is unable to “stay in the moment”, they are likely to miss critical cues from the prospect because they are already thinking of their next question or how to answer the prospect. Many salespeople struggle with this particular Sales DNA factor because they are good at presenting and telling. They are not as skilled at asking more questions like “Why is that” or “When did that problem begin?” or “What has your current bank done to address that?” This more consultative approach is what elite salespeople have mastered. They can listen very closely to the prospect, follow their lead and ask the right questions to let the prospect self-discover why the problem must be fixed. They stay in the moment and are not distracted by previous conclusions they might have had.
One last Case Study to think about. Your salesperson might have great relationship-building skills, be strong at qualifying, and prepared to ask all the best questions of the prospect, but what if they are uncomfortable discussing money? They will often not ask about budget or fees and proceed down the path to the proposal stage without a handle on what the prospect will pay to solve their problem. This is very common with salespeople because from a young age we are taught that talking about money is inappropriate and can be uncomfortable. If a salesperson recognizes that they feel that way, they can be taught to understand that there are many comfortable ways to ask the money question. If they then practice these in sales training class, they can become comfortable asking the money questions, but they need to know the reasons behind their hesitancy to ask those questions.
The reason why the data behind the sales performance is so important is this: You cannot change that which you cannot see. If you need to improve your sales team, and are considering sales training, make certain that your sales training provider utilizes a sales-specific assessment. It is critical that you understand the data beneath the behavior and can address the root of the sales problem to achieve long-term, meaningful change.
From COO & CMO, Jeni Wehrmeyer