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The Best Way to Improve Sales or Ticking Time Bomb?

The approach to improve sales is an endless list of efforts in many areas. To improve sales you could search for… new market segments, more robust prospect lists in existing segments, higher level influencers in each target prospect (CEO, VP Operations etc), more networking opportunities, partnerships in distribution and other channel partners with common goals to tag team with. There are industry / trade shows to attend, continuous marketing efforts and tools to better arm your sales team. There are CRM platforms that can tell you how well your people are communicating and penetrating customers / prospects.

All of these and countless other activities are worthy approaches to building and tracking sales progress. In fact the more you do these activities and track their use, the more likely you will yield more sales. However, at the end of the day, there is no exact formula like (1+1=2) to project sales from all of these efforts. I am a true believer in the synergy of multiple approaches. Yet, if a company is truly seeking better results or Greater Sales Growth from the same kind of activities, I strongly suggest you take a look at your talent pipeline and see what they are truly capable of. If you have a team or team members that cannot execute well, then all of these activities become wasted resources. Put another way, seeking a different result from the same kinds of activity some call insanity.

With the right Team, anything is possible!
Over the last several years, many assignments and seeing many tools, the vast majority of companies that I have worked with invest very little in assessing their existing and future talent. Perhaps since many assessment tools provide little useful data, that is why so few companies take stock in such things. In fact many companies just keep trying new sales strategies without ever looking at what they have to work with in their existing team.

If I was going to assess a talent pool of any company, what would I want to know and more clearly understand, than the typical performance appraisal or 1 hour interview with each team member? I find that there are many attributes that I want a perfect salesperson to possess – including the ability to take constructive criticism, keen business acumen, patience, maturity, intelligence, presentation & people skills, time management and several more.

If there was a way to quickly and accurately identify the most suitable candidates / existing team members (sales role), then I could quickly know what I was dealing with. I could save an enormous amount of time assessing the talent pool, and know how much time I would need to invest in training and personal development. Where this most comes into play is in organizations where people were hired or promoted without any exact rhyme or reason. Perhaps the entire team of people is a group of likeable people, who simply were not equipped with the right skills, experience and attributes out of the gate. In situations like this or not, I find it is best to have the ability to accurately assess the group quickly. Then determine your strategy – what kind of training and support you will likely need, to get them up to a level of execution, discipline and results that is predictable.

I am happy to say I found a tool that does this very accurately and I use it very often. I discovered The Role Fit Survey (RFS) through a chance meeting with the President Gary Melling. In the last 3 years, I have used the RFS extensively and found it to be a indispensable tool. The RFS measures someone’s capacity to perform certain tasks associated with a specific job role. The roles work in tandem with the US Dept. of Labor ONet database. This role specific assessment takes 15 minutes for the employee / applicant to complete and out comes 2 reports. The Comparative Report (2 Pages) and a 30 page Vault Report. I don’t want to get bogged down in all of the specifics of the Role Fit Survey in this blog, but do want to point out its incredible usefulness. In short it predicts future behavior well, and measures a person’s capacity to any given role. By using this tool I easily saved 50%+ of my time determining what and where I would need to invest in with the individual or the team.

It’s like knowing everything about someone for the last 20 years, but learning it in 15 minutes. Each assessment gives an overall ranking of 1 – 10. Anyone 7 or above is a likely good fit and anyone below this is something to seriously inspect so you can determine how best to manage them going forward. I have used it for many kinds of role beyond sales as well with excellent results. This is just one strategy I use when helping clients get much better results!

A sales strategy with multiple offenses will always be a wise approach. I love strategy and I am all about sales growth. The more robust your sales strategy is, the more you can protect the future from unforeseen speed bumps. Yet, if you don’t know how well your team can execute then you will waste considerable time and resources with people who can’t get it done! I greatly value the investment in people and believe that the more you invest in your team, the more successful and stronger your business will be over the long haul.

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