3/4 Sales reps have no idea what they're doing

3/4 of Sales Reps Have No Idea What They’re Doing?

Nooooo, right?  This can’t be true

Surely the article referenced at the end of this post from Huffington Post can’t be true, can it?  Dan Lyons, Marketing Fellow at Hubspot, wrote the article based upon deep research of over 700,000 Sales assessment tests administered by an organization called Kurlan.  Does this number surprise you?

Here’s a synopsis of article

  1. 74% of sales people are failing
  2. There are 4 Elements of Sales Success:
    1. Desire – You GOTTA be hungry
    2. Commitment- How Committed are you to meeting your goals
    3. Responsibility – Do you hold yourself accountable when you fall short or do you use it as a chance to grow & learn
    4. Outlook – Are you generally happy with yourself and your company

My Take on This Data

I wish I could tell you that this information is inaccurate, but in my experience it’s true.  As a simple test, ask yourself what you went to school for.  Even if you’re in sales, you might have studied business, marketing, engineering, etc, but chances are, you had no formal education in sales.

I’ve made quite a few purchases in my career as a VP Sales and Chief Sales Officer, and I can tell you that many of the people I’ve purchased from had pretty bad habits.

From a Sales Tactics perspective, almost none of the Sales Reps that I’ve worked with ever scheduled follow-up meetings and sent me calendar invitations.  This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to move a sale forward, but yet so few sales reps do it. It’s easy to forget to schedule a follow-up meeting, but any rep who wants to win should be doing this.

My Recommendations

My suggestions to Sales VPs and Sales Leaders is to listen to the phone call recordings of your sales reps, and make it a point to provide sales coaching.  Otherwise, seek out a sales consulting company or sales training company that can listen to your rep’s phone call recordings, and provide sales coaching to the reps.  Ideally, you’d want to create a numerical grading system that allows you to grade your sales reps’ phone calls using a custom object in Salesforce.com.  This way, you could provide ongoing coaching to the reps, and run reports displaying each team member’s scores on an ongoing basis.

My recommendation to sales reps is to really concentrate on personal mastery of your craft.  Too many sales reps never attend sales training, and think they can just wing it, but it’s unlikely you’ll be wildly successful if you don’t take the time to educate yourself.  There are lots of organizations that provide sales training, and plenty of books, blogs, and materials you can use to hone your craft :).


This piece appeared on Huffington Post, and was written by Dan Lyons  at Hubspot.

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