(Hint… It’s not high; therein lie both the dilemma and the opportunity for savvy hiring managers).
Research emphatically shows that the non-teachable characteristics of need for achievement, competitiveness and optimism (the three most important ingredients of “Drive”) must be in place before someone can be developed to be a high performing salesperson.
So the natural, next question, is how many of those people are out there?
Let’s start with the bad news, but come back around with the very good news for savvy hiring managers.
Less than 20% of the general population is high in Drive.
Sales managers already know this and often refer to the 80/20 rule (20% of their salespeople producing 80% of their revenue). But it is actually a lot more challenging and complex than that. Because not all 20% of the general population who are high in Drive are interested in sales. Some go into science, law or medicine. So let’s cut that number in half and say that 10% of the people who are interested in selling for a living are high in Drive. It would be nice if we could stop there, but not all high-Drive people are qualified to sell certain things… complex pharmaceuticals or manufacturing goods, for example. So once a hiring manager finds a high-Drive candidate, he/she needs to match him/her with the nuances of the mission.
So, the next time you decide to set up a recruitment for a salesperson, be aware that maybe 5%, or five candidates out of every hundred that respond to your outreach, have the potential to succeed as a salesperson in your organization, and that there are not nearly enough high potential salespeople to go around.
This is where scientific assessment techniques can really make the difference, because top notch recruiting starts with screening out the millions of people who apply for sales jobs that will never produce to expectations, but will slip through frustrated hiring managers and proceed to burn hundreds of millions of dollars in training and lost productivity across all industry lines in the process.
Fortunately, it is now possible for hiring managers to keep low potential candidates out of the system from the get-go, allowing managers to spend all of their time determining if high potential candidates meet the other criteria for the job.
Like the New York Yankees or other successful teams, the system can be designed to stack your bench with stars, letting everybody else try to manage the lesser talents, but it does take the application of metrics and diagnostics to accomplish this mission.
Next week – The Costs of NOT Applying a Scientific Assessment
Dr. Christopher Croner and Richard Abraham are authors of “Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again” and developers of the proprietary and patented sales test, The DriveTest™, for Sales Candidates. For more information, click here.
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