A few weeks ago, I spoke with Andrew Dugdale of SalesAssessment.com about a research study he had completed recently. The study assessed salespeople’s competency across five groups of selling skills that most of us would consider to be table stakes: 1) customer contact, 2) customer engagement, 3) negotiation and closing, 4) information and activity management, and 5) business acumen.
Because the sales skills being assessed were so fundamental, I have to admit that I expected the results to be a lot better than they were.
For example, 64% of the salespeople in the study did not have the skills to effectively understand their customer’s needs. And a whopping 73% were apparently oblivious to competitors and competitive offerings!
Now correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that the ability to understand customer needs is as fundamental to a salesperson as the ability to see is to a cab driver. And, am I wrong in thinking that awareness of the competitive set is as a fundamental to a salesperson as awareness of the menu is to a waiter?
Seriously…how can you even get a job as a salesperson if you don’t possess these basic selling skills?
Of course, we all know the answer. The unfortunate reality is that most salespeople are still being hired based largely on intuition, gut-feel, and first impressions.
We check the candidate’s resume to see if they’ve worked in a similar industry. We check their online profile to see if they have some customer recommendations. Next, we run them through a series of interviews with other team members to see if they’re likeable and quick on their feet.
And a year from now…after dozens of opportunities have come and gone…their performance in the field will tell us about their selling skills.
That’s an extremely expensive way to evaluate selling skills, isn’t it? And it’s a completely unnecessary risk in today’s internet-enabled world.
In a SellingBrew Playbook guide entitled, “Assessing Core Sales Skills in the Hiring Process,” you’ll not only see the complete results of Andrew’s study, you’ll also learn about how the internet has now made it possible for anyone to use objective criteria when hiring B2B salespeople—so we don’t have to wait a year to see if someone actually has the core skills they need to hit their numbers!