The problem was over 85% of this training was focused on how to coach vs. how to select. This is the key reason why the focus of the training must change; and the number 1 way to impact hiring in 2012 is master the job tryout.
Problem—Our sales force design study showed sales force turnover at just under 40%. The average cost of a sales rep hiring mistake in 2011 is approaching 6.7 times base salary (up from 5.6). This alarming statistic will cause many sales managers and sales forces to miss their number. If you can’t select, it doesn’t matter how well you coach.
Solution—Spend at least 50% of your leadership sales training on helping the sales leadership improve their skills in picking ‘A’ players. Some of you may be saying “yes, I know the importance of thorough interview process”. It is more than that; it is about staying current on best practices. It is about being able to explain why somebody is an ‘A’ player not just who the ‘A’ players are.
In 2011, the number 1 predictor of ‘A’ player performance in a role was the job tryout.
While there is no silver bullet for talent selection, the job tryout is proving to be the best predictor of future success in a role. Here are a few tips to executing the best practices of a job/work tryout:
When—The above graphic shows that the tryout is conducted late in the interview process so you only have potential ‘A’ players participating. This ensure it is not a time waste for candidates or companies. You have to do this before the reference interview. Why? Because you can validate the performance of the tryout with past bosses. Was it a lucky day? Consistent representation of the candidate’s skills?
Where—in the setting of the job. If it will be a virtual job, have the person perform the job tryout virtually. If it is a face to face sales job, execute the tryout as an executive sales call in your company boardroom with a few people.
How—Provide the candidate with a scenario, key players, product background, business problem and potential competitors they may be faced with. Ensure people in the hiring organization act like realistic prospects/customers.
Why—all great roles involve tryouts. Actors read scripts. Athletes send tape, do physicals and run drills. Musicians play. Chefs sample their food. Why should a sales person be any different?
Call To Action
• Start this with your next requisition. You may say “I don’t have time to put a tryout together”. I would contrast this with the time and cost of filling your next role with anything other than an ‘A’ player. If your Leadership Sales Training focus shifts to 50% selection and 50% development, you will generate a higher and more consistent ROI in 2012. To learn more, download our Talent Management whitepaper.