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Are You Plagued With Bad Sales Talent Data?

by GrowthPlay Library /

If you’re like most sales managers, you’re constantly taking shortcuts with the time you spend on managing your sales talent. In many sales organizations, activities associated with managing people often get put on the back burner either because we are uncomfortable handling them or because we’re too busy reacting to seemingly more pressing problems. Unfortunately, taking shortcuts in these key processes can bring negative consequences to your sales organization, including crippling effects to your bottom line. Add up several bad hires and you’ve got a sales talent problem that’s preventing you from making your numbers.

One bad hire can cost your organization thousands, maybe even more. Zappos CEO Tony Hseih said bad hires have cost his company $100 million. Any way you slice it, it’s a costly, frustrating scenario that no sales manager wants to deal with, but most have to.

Rating systems are tools that organizations use to effectively coach sales reps and front-line managers to success. You’ve seen these types of assessments. Managers rate their employees on their ability to do things like think strategically, or their potential for success in the company. Unfortunately, research shows that these rating scales can’t be trusted due to a well-researched outcome called “The Idiosyncratic Rater Effect.” This effect says that these type of ratings say more about the manager doing the rating, than the person being evaluated.

In his article, “Most HR Data is Bad Data,” Marcus Buckingham details why this effect is tainting the perception of your current team members. He notes research that shows that 61% of any given rating is a reflection of the individual doing the rating. Buckingham writes,

It means that all of the data we use to decide who get promoted is bad data; that all of the performance appraisal data we use to determine people’s bonus pay is imprecise and the links we try to show between our people strategy and our business strategy – expressed in various competency models – are spurious. It means that, when it comes to our people within our organizations, we are all functionally blind.”

So what is an effective way to determine the employees most likely to succeed and drive results within your sales organization? The answer is predictive analytics and a robust research solution that leverages state-of-the-science techniques to accurately predict on-the-job performance.

The rating and assessment of your employees should be based on statistically valid, proven research rather than arbitrary scales. Predicting on-the-job success should be based on the specific skills and behaviors needed to excel in an identified role. Measuring broad traits like “extroversion” won’t get you the results you need to drive bottom-line impact. It may be interesting to know a candidate’s energy level or how a manager perceives that candidate’s potential for success for example, but it is much more critical to know that a sales candidate can successfully prospect, resolve objections and close.

You’ve seen it yourself. The best sales reps don’t make the best sales leaders. The skill sets required for a Strategic Account Manager, for instance, are different from those needed by someone in Inbound Telesales, even though they are both sales positions. Implementing a research-based talent solution will provide your organization with revenue-impacting benefits including

  • A focus on the behaviors that (1) can be observed and coached and (2) affect results
  • Improved selection accuracy for new hires and existing managerial candidates
  • Fewer onboarding and ramp-up delays
  • Less loss of good candidates

The due diligence spent building a high-performance sales team saves both time and money. Take the steps necessary to build the tools and processes necessary to help you attract, hire and retain top sales talent. You’ll consistently have the right people in place to meet your numbers, quarter after quarter, and ultimately have the system in place that helps you exceed your revenue goals.

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