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Job Matching for Better Sales Performance

Job Matching for Better Sales Performance

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When sales and marketing executives get together, the high turnover and poor productivity of salespeople are probably the two most widely discussed topics. Unfortunately, they rarely talk about or challenge the hiring criteria that, more than any other factor, cause this waste.

The very basis on which hiring judgments are made helps explain why high turnover of sales personnel in most industries persists and why throughout industry, even where the turnover is relatively low, approximately 20% of the salespeople account for 80% of the sales. Basing hiring decisions on myths rather than reality is, according to our research, the reason that about 55% of the people holding sales positions have little or no ability to sell, while another 25% have sales ability but are attempting to sell the “wrong” product or service.

The remaining 20% are doing precisely the job that is appropriate for them and for their companies. These people prove to be, for the most part, the same 20% who produce nearly 80% of the sales.

Sales and marketing executives accept this situation, and corporate management continues to seek the young married white male with experience and (of course) a college degree. The result continues to be high turnover and poor productivity.

In this article we focus on such persistent hiring tenets to show that they are myths and to suggest an approach that can lead to selecting successful sales-people and sales managers from all sectors of society.

Herbert M. Greenberg and Jeanne Greenberg