Tag Archives: sales

Culture of Coaching

What is your sales team coaching like?

Learn from our adviser and mentor Dave Kurlan, Objective Management Group.


SG Partners Super Sales Clinic is coming to Brisbane on  21 & 22nd August.

Have your people – internal, sales and technical refresh and learn new skills on how to really engage with clients/customers. What would happen if your customer treated your people as trusted advisors more of the time – they would come to you first, they would buy on value (not price) and they would be loyal. Make this happen this year.

Click here for more information 

Sales Weaknesses

By Dave Kurlan, Objective Management Group   

I have written extensively about Sales DNA over the years and today we will view Sales DNA from the perspective of sitting inside of a chemistry lab.

Sales DNA is the combination of strengths (or weaknesses) that support (or sabotage) the execution of sales process, sales strategy and sales tactics.  Objective Management Group (OMG) measures and includes the 6 most powerful of those strands of Sales DNA in its 21 Sales Core Competencies.  While I usually discuss the impact of these weaknesses, we have never conducted a lab experiment like this before!

The image below shows the average scores for all salespeople in the 6 Sales Core Competencies of Sales DNA:

The average scores for all salespeople are not very good!  The next image shows the percentage of all salespeople who have those 6 Competencies as strengths. This isn’t very good either:

You can see all of our data in all 21 Sales Core Competencies and filter it by industry and company here.

Most experiments begin with a theory or a question. My theory is that Sales DNA is similar to a chemical reaction whereby if a salesperson has 2 or more of the 6 above as weaknesses, and #2 is the tendency to become emotional, then weakness #1 will trigger weakness #2. 

A weakness is triggered when salespeople are aware of the need to execute a step, strategy or tactic, like asking a specific question, but are worried that the prospect will dislike them for doing so. As a result, they avoid executing and thereby sabotage themselves.

DOESN’T NEED APPROVAL: As a weakness, it causes salespeople to avoid an action when they worry that their prospects won’t like them.  Prevents salespeople from asking tough questions, pushing back and challenging their prospects, the core skills to selling like a Challenger.

CONTROLS EMOTIONS: As a weakness, it occurs when salespeople worry, strategize, panic or get excited.  This causes them to get in their own heads, and prevents them from being able to actively listen and ask good questions, the core skills of a consultative approach to selling.

COMFORTABLE DISCUSSING MONEY: As a weakness, salespeople aren’t comfortable asking a prospect where their money is coming from, how they might find money they don’t have, how they might find more money than what was budgeted, or how to prioritize expenditures to solve their problems.

The first CompetencyI tested was Doesn’t Need Approval or, whether a salesperson NEEDS to be liked.

58% of all salespeople Need to be Liked (a weakness) and their average score is 76 (weak).

When I sliced the data with Controls Emotions you can see what I found in the table below:

66% of salespeople who need their prospects to like them become emotional when the weakness is triggered.  2/3 of them!

I wondered how much that percentage might change based on our Sales PercentileTM score so I dug deeper and learned that:

  • The bottom 25% of all salespeople, almost all of them at 85% – become emotional when the need to be liked is triggered.
  • For those in the percentiles between 26 and 50, 72% become emotional when the need to be liked is triggered.
  • Salespeople in the percentiles between 51 and 75 were less likely to become emotional when the need to be liked is triggered. It happens with 60% of them.
  • Only 41% of the salespeople in the percentiles between 76-94 (strong) have the need to be liked but when it is triggered, 46% of that group become emotional.
  • Only 18% of elite salespeople (the top 5%) have the need to be liked but when it is triggered, 24% of them become emotional. 

I ran the same experiment on Comfortable Discussing Money. As with the need to be liked, 60% of all salespeople have this as a weakness, and: 

  • 67% of those who are not comfortable discussing finances become emotional at the moment the money weakness is triggered. 

Again, it’s two thirds of them!

As with the need to be liked, the percentage changed according to Sales PercentileTM so here is what happens:

  • 78% of the salespeople in the bottom 50% become emotional when the money weakness is triggered.
  • 59% of the salespeople in the percentiles between 51 and 75 become emotional when the money weakness is triggered.
  • Only 34% of salespeople in the percentiles between 75-95 are uncomfortable discussing money but when the weakness is triggered, 41% of that group become emotional.
  • Only 8% of elite salespeople (the top 5%) are uncomfortable talking about money, but when the weakness is triggered, 17% of them become emotional. 

Upon the triggering of the first weakness, these findings show that for most salespeople with more than 1 major weakness along with the tendency to become emotional, the emotional weakness is triggered as part of a chain reaction.

The data also confirms that nearly all the weakest salespeople (Sales Percentile below 25) have these weaknesses (and more) and the 1st weakness almost always triggers the 2nd weakness.

Finally, the data confirms that very few of the salespeople in the elite top 5% have these weaknesses and when they do it is far less likely for the 2nd weakness to be triggered with the 1st.

When everyone on the sales force receives the exact same sales training and coaching, these findings explain why top salespeople continue to succeed while poor salespeople fail to show measurable improvement.

If you would like learn more, please contact SG Partners today!

Approaches to Sales Team Selection

 A World Cup sales reflection on reaching the goal.

By Matt Pearce

I don’t know about you but even without being a religious football fan I still love to switch on and watch the World Cup every four years. With the Socceroos now being a regular participant (at least in the first two weeks), it has added excitement.

The big question was:

“How were we going to put the ball in the back of the net?”

One we answered with a not very well.

For Australia, the simple (and only way) for us to score with certainty was via the penalty spot. Best part about scoring from the spot is it takes the least amount of effort.

Like football, Sales Team Search and Selection is about scoring the goal with the least effort and greatest efficiency. For a business if that sales chair is empty, the company is not growing as well as it could.

The irony is many businesses choose to start with a goal kick or a free kick rather than a penalty kick.

A lot of the time it’s the approach they take in engaging external support to manage the process.

When doing so, a business is looking to short circuit the selection and quickly and effectively identify the best prospective candidates for a role.

The challenge is depending where you place the ball it has a dramatic effect on the efforts needed by the business to reach the goal. Choosing how and who you use will determine where you start your attack.

The Goal Kick Approach

This is where a business engages multiple external consultants to “broaden the net and provide the most options”.  They end up with each submitting candidates leading with up to 10 to 15 resumes for review. The question here is:

“Has the consultancy and the business really defined the selection criteria or are they using “broad net” to do so?”

When you start with a goal kick approach, you still have a lot of hard work to get the ball in the net. You are working out how to get to the goal as you go. You spend as much time moving sideways and even backwards then forward.

The Free Kick Approach

The business engages an external consultant. After receiving the PD and a brief discussion, the consultancy starts the search. The consultant then submits resumes based on the general discussions that have occurred. They may have used a behavioural/psychometric assessment, but that is about personality traits rather than sales traits. The client spends time interviewing and working through the selection process. If the candidates don’t fit or “feel right”, more are added to the list. It’s like a free kick in football, you have a clear view of the goal but still have a lot work to do. You may take a direct kick and score but many times it is blocked. You must reset your attack and start moving towards the net again.

Both approaches end up consuming more time for the business then needed. It is taking the leader away from the more critical process of running the business. It’s even more challenging when they are down an important Sales resource.

The Penalty Kick Approach

A business engages an external consultancy to short circuit the selection process.

We understand this, and our approach is to provide strong candidates with the right blend of skills, experience and motivation. Our goal is to put you at the top of the box with two strong choices, both of which will lead to success.

The challenge is to do this quickly and effectively. We take a true consultative/advisory role that involves detailed initial analysis of the position and requirements combined with several short, sharp strategic discussions leading to strong candidates being presented.

An example of this is around some work we are just finalising with a company. The role in question was a State Sales Leader. We gained a brief from the client and started sourcing candidates. Our response was huge. We had 140 applicants, not including the high caliber people we already had pre-qualified from previous roles.

Then the selection really began. You can imagine our surprise when we started reviewing the applicants and many were of a high caliber. We used a mixture of our Sales Assessment Tool (qualitative data around how successful a sales person will be), initial phone screening and detailed interviews to bring the most suitable talent to the fore.

Halfway through this refinement was a final conversation with the client to clarify criteria based on our discoveries to date, allowing us to more effectively narrow the field.

The result:

In two and a half weeks we narrowed 140 candidates to 2 extremely strong candidates and 3 strong candidates, all suitable for the role.  Finally, we had identified another 5 candidates who are amazing Sales Leaders but just not right for this role. Several of these people we will be discussing with other clients to consider in their future growth plans.

We presented the two candidates, both were extremely well received by the client. The client was standing in front of the goal deciding whether to kick to the left corner or the right corner.

Final interviews are happening as I write this. The client will be offering one (possibly through a coin toss) by the middle of next week.

The time required has been dramatically shortened with a better outcome.

The key for successful selection is having a rigorous process that brings the strongest candidates to the business for consideration.

I must ask what type of attack is going to be most effective for Sales Team selection in your business?

If you are interested in a more effective approach to Sales Team Selection, reach out to us.