Published by : Eric Dionne
Since joining Prima Ressource, I've had the opportunity to greatly expand my knowledge and skills in sales management. It allowed me to discover some things I would have loved to know when I was in a sales manager position, that would have completely changed the way I acted in that role.
Among all that I have learned, there is one fundamental component that caught my attention and that would have made all the difference: the importance of using specific sales assessment tools such as Objective Management Group's assessments. These are tools that make a huge difference in sales coaching and that would have made me a much better sales manager than I have been.
How can sales evaluations help you excel as a sales manager?
1. Putting the right people in the right sales roles
In my role as sales manager, I often had the impression that some individuals on my team were "sitting in the wrong seat". The problem is that I had absolutely nothing tangible to justify and objectively support this feeling. As a result, I was relocating some individuals and firing others based on the lack of results and on the feeling that I had tried everything I could before making these decisions.
If you are a sales manager or leader, I am sure you have already been through this situation. You may even be currently wondering whether some of your players should be part of your team as you are seeking to make the best decision for both the company and the individuals.
If, like me, you base your decisions on your observations and instincts, you will understand that this is not the optimal way to manage a sales team. Maybe you will make good decisions, but the odds are higher that, just like me, you will be making bad decisions because you lack objective data based on scientific evidence.
Within my sales team, I had a representative who couldn't prospect. For years, the phone rang and he could close sales easily afterwards. He won a lot of sales, but always by making concessions. For the company and for my team, this person was a risk, so I redeployed him to another department. It was by no means a sales manager's power trip, but the best solution I had at the time to regain profitability in sales.
If I had made sure that my rep had completed the OMG sales evaluation, I would have known exactly what his strengths were and what skill gaps needed to be filled. Maybe the representative had the necessary commitment to accept being coached and in this case, I could have kept him on the team, or I could have allowed him to better handle his redeployment by including a development plan as well.
2. Improve the quality of the team by recruiting better
You should use a specific test for sales during your recruitment process. Personally, I have often recruited sales reps based simply on my intuition, their performance during interviews, their DISC profile (or other psychometric tests not specific to sales) or their experience in the specialized environment in which I was working. Therefore, I did not have a scientific evaluation to help me make the best hiring decisions.
As a result, not all the salespersons I hired performed as expected. To give you an idea, about 50% of the salespersons I hired did not perform, so these hires resulted in dismissals. The problem is that firing 50% of the people you hire costs a company a lot of money. You can do the calculation here and you may be surprised by the real cost of only one poor sales hiring. When I did the calculation, even several years after, I had cold sweats!
3. Coaching sales representatives to increase their performance level
In regards to my experiences in recruiting representatives, I was confronted with the difficulty of coaching high-performing salespersons. Not because I was not fulfilling my role properly or because I didn't know how to coach a sales team, but rather because I was approaching sales coaching without a method and without tools to allow me to understand what elements of the sales DNA were blocking my representatives. I was asking questions, again on the basis of my intuition, without really knowing where I was going with all this.
This is why a good sales evaluation tool can play a major role in your coaching, as it will objectively identify the components of the sales DNA, the will to succeed in sales, and the sales competencies on which each rep has development opportunities. Individual evaluation therefore allows you to better focus and guide your coaching sessions for better results and to avoid repeating my mistakes.
Use your intuition differently in your decisions
Throughout this article, you probably realized that I was relying heavily on my intuition when I was a sales manager. I know very well that many leaders do like me and also rely on their intuition, and that's not bad.
I want you to realize that intuition brings its share of cognitive bias, because it is based on real-life experiences and not on objective data. Intuition is not a measurable or tangible science.
That is why I believe that intuition should be only a simple part of your decision-making process. Instead, prioritize tools such as sales evaluations that will give you results that are more representative of reality and that are not biased.
For example, in recruitment, you should start your process by scanning your candidates using a scientific sales assessment that gives you a recommendation for each candidate in relation to the role. This will help you retain only the best candidates and those who are most suitable for the position advertised. You should only use your intuition at the end of the process, with the final candidates who have passed the other steps. See a detailed article on the recruitment process for sales roles.
If you are looking to excel as a sales manager and want to make more appropriate and justified decisions, equip yourself with the tools that offer you the highest level of detail and predictability.
Your role as a sales manager is absolutely critical for your company, and I believe that the more you are able to make decisions based on objective data, the more positively you can contribute to the results of your team and the company.