“People are overlooked for a variety of biased reasons and perceived flaws. Age, appearance, personality. Bill James and mathematics cut straight through that.” -Peter Brand, Moneyball
The premise of Moneyball, both the book and the film, was that the method of recruiting baseball talent was stuck in the past. The process used outdated methods and antiquated statistics. Recruiters were using the same skills assessment methods tied to the same statistics dating back to the early days of baseball. However, the Oakland A’s had a smaller budget for salaries. Because of this, they were forced to look for players undervalued by the market. When the general manager teamed up with a statistician, they found that certain, previously ignored stats were better indicators of a player’s performance than the traditional stats used by the bulk of the sports executives and talent scouts.
As a result of this radically different methodology of gauging and using human capital, the Oakland A’s in 2002 were able to compete with larger market teams while operating with a much smaller salary budget. Today, almost every team uses some form of advanced statistical measures to assess and onboard the right talent.
In my training sessions, one of my discussion points is that you can tie sales results to a repeatable process. And in order to have a repeatable process, you need to have a team composed of members performing actions based on their strengths. In effect, you need to perform some kind of sales skills assessment so your team members can play to their strengths.
Statistics and Data Analytics are the New Foundation of Sales Skills Assessment
Success in sales, or in any endeavor, begins with the people on the team, or the talent. And the success of your team is dependent on how you select, deploy, and develop your salespeople. Much of what’s on record shows that selecting talent strictly by the gut results in personal biases skewing the selections. Sales leaders in today’s business environment recognize that the art of selecting human capital will never disappear. But you must temper those feelings with the facts and statistics you will only find after you perform the sales skills assessment.
Using the Sales Skills Assessment to Build Your Team
Back in 2017, our partner agency conducted a research study to look at the long term outcomes from using our predictive assessment for talent selection. The study focused on the skills and job performance of 700 sales employees in various positions. *
The researchers correlated the participants’ skills to their role profiles as well as to their job performances. They then compared new and seasoned employees over multiple years. They used revenue generation as the key measure of job performance.
The analysis confirmed that new employees whose assessments predicted a high likelihood of job performance, performed better than those with less predicted job fit. In fact, sales reps with high job fit attained a 59% greater job performance.
In addition, new employees with the right job fit obtained sales quotas faster than expected, increasing revenue generation.
Remember, you will build your sales team like a baseball team, composed of a number of different players. Some will be excellent at fielding inbound calls. Others will be excellent at handling large accounts. Some of your members will be masters at developing new business. Others, will have strengths at managing and nurturing current accounts. Just like the days of using outdated analytics, the days of order-taking sales reps are gone. So too are the days when you hired a salesperson using a one-size-fits-all mentality. Today, you need to look at your sales process and align your team members according to their strengths. At the same time, you must train them to bolster those areas that will ensure maximum effectiveness in their current role.
Before Investing in Training, Assess the Skill Set of Your Salespeople
At the end of the day, statistics, pattern analysis, and behavioral science are making impacts in the field of sales. They will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. As sales leaders, we need to be aware of that and use it to develop our salespeople. If you aren’t using sales skills assessment to get an accurate picture of your sales team, your sales process is not reaching its potential. Before you make investments in training, take a good look at your training process. Perform a sales skills assessment of your salespeople. Only then can you make an informed decision about where you need training and coaching, and tune your sales process for maximum impact.
To get an idea of how well tuned the elements of your sales ecosystem are, take the Sales Team Science Assessment and align your business operation for maximum effectiveness.