Determine What Type of Sales Talent Your Company Needs

According to a recent survey by CSO Insights, 43% of salespeople do not achieve quota, ramp up time continues to increase, and the ability to close forecasted business is less than 50%.

So why do sales people who may have been stellar performers in one company turn out to be underperformers in another?


Answering this question is especially critical during economic downturns when the only way your company can maintain growth is to capture a bigger share of a shrinking market.

From personal experience, part of the issue lies with not having a full understanding of the job requirements, specifically, differences in the “type” of selling required.

Several careers ago, I was a fledgling sales manager in the transportation industry.  One of my first hires was a “no-brainer”.  A recruiter introduced me to a high performing rep who was working for a competitor.  I had heard of her and I knew she handled a number of large national accounts.  I was also aware that her company was going through an acquisition, which explained why she was looking at other opportunities.

After a few interviews we made her an offer she could not refuse.  It took a bit of work to sell this internally as she demanded compensation outside of our range.  I finally got approval, she started working for us and guess what?  Not only did she fall well short of expectations, she was untrainable.

Over the next few months I kept asking myself why she was unsuccessful.  I started realising that even though the job title, industry and customers were the same, there were many aspects of the job that were entirely different.

The behaviors and skills required for selling can vary dramatically based on a number of factors, including the sales cycle, the amount of new business development required and the nature of the product or service.

As McQuaig customers know, The Job Survey® will help you identify the key success behaviors for a specific job.  The assumption going in is that you have conducted some sort of job analysis in advance, especially if the job is a complex one.

To assist in the analysis of complex business development roles, we have developed a tool to help sales managers.

By Michael Gravelle
Managing Director of The McQuaig Institute