According to hiring expert Dave Kurlan, only 15% of sales candidates that are tested by his company pass the pre-hire screening test, and are recommended for hire. These numbers are in line with Herb Greenberg’s numbers that state that only 20% of the people now selling has the emotional and psychological talents to be top performers. Both of these numbers are in line with the Pareto Principle.
In my study of sales, I have found that the normal bell shaped curve applies to sales organizations. This normal distribution can be understood by identifying the four kinds of performers within an organization. These four can be labeled A’s, B’s, C’s and D’s.
For training purposes these groups can be divided into two groups: The Trainables and The Non-Trainables.
The Trainables are: A’s who are highly productive, motivated to grow and trainable and C’s who are non-productive, but motivated and trainable.
The Non-Trainables are: B’s who are highly productive, but are comfortable with their current level of income, have no motivation to grow, and are not receptive to training, and D’s who are not productive, not motivated, and have no potential for growth.
If we apply the normal bell shaped curve to a sales organization, we will find about 20% of the sales organization are A’s, 60% are B’s and C’s and 20% are D’s.
From a training standpoint, the only salepeople it makes sense to train are the A’s and the C’s who want to become A’s – usually about half of this C group. The B’s are not candidates for training unless and until they become uncomfortable with their current level of success. The D’s are not trainable and should be replaced.
Using these numbers, on average, only about half of any sales organization, the A’s and half of the C’s will benefit from training.
When we work with companies to improve the sales process we usually find that improving the sales process involves a two pronged approach of identifying and training the trainables and implementing a more effective recruiting and hiring process to replace the non productive, non-trainables.
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