Is Fred a Top Salesperson or a Horrible Imposter?


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Was the Nissan Cube a good car or a bad car?  Was it the dream vehicle that its designers imagined or the ugliest thing you ever laid your eyes on with four wheels?

I pose a similar question about Fred. One client claims that he is their top salesperson.  His Objective Management Group (OMG) sales evaluation says he is one of the worst.  If the conclusions are that far apart, can either of them be correct?  Is there any chance that both could be correct?  Could it be that neither is correct?

If we define a top salesperson by a single metric – total revenue – then the person who manages the most revenue would be the top salesperson.  In Fred’s case, he leads the company in total revenue.  Best salesperson.

If we define the OMG sales evaluation by a single metric – Sales Percentile – then he falls into the bottom 50% of all salespeople.  Weak salesperson.

Of course we can’t define anyone by a single metric – that’s unfair – so let’s dig in.

Fred’s CEO says, “Everyone should produce like Fred.”  Fred’s sales manager claims that he closed all of Fred’s accounts for him so Fred actually inherited all of his accounts.  And his accounts are the biggest accounts so, at best, Fred is an account manager.  There isn’t anything wrong with being an account manager but let’s be honest.  Account Managers are not producers and therefore, must be measured using different metrics.

How did Fred’s sales manager close the business for Fred?  Well it seems that Fred is really good at showing up.  That’s half the battle, right?  But he shows up so often that his prospects compare him to a bad rash!  His sales manager steps in and promises that if they complete a credit application and agree to do business, he can make Fred go away – for good.  So Fred not only isn’t the one closing the accounts, he isn’t even the one managing the accounts!

Out of 21 Sales Core Competencies, Fred was strong in only two of them on his OMG sales evaluation.  Fred doesn’t need people to like him which is usually a tremendous strength but Fred takes it too far though, in that he not only doesn’t care about being liked, he isn’t even aware that he’s totally hated!  His other strength is prospecting – he will and does consistently prospect.  You might recall that I said something about Fred showing up…

It’s very easy to see why his CEO believes Fred’s efforts should be duplicated.  Fred works harder than anyone else and if one looks at only the numbers, it appears to be working!

It’s very easy to see why the OMG Evaluation is accurate – Fred’s Sales DNA is pathetically low, he is lacking in 19 selling competencies, and his incredibly low Sales Percentile is spot on.

Fred’s sales manager sees both sides.  He told me that Fred is an imposter and the OMG evaluation perfectly described his sales capabilities. So yes, Fred is both a top salesperson and a horrible imposter.

How many C Suite executives fail to look past the numbers and label people like Fred as top salespeople?  Unfortunately, it happens a lot more frequently than you can imagine!

There’s a bigger problem here than a CEO failing to understand the reality of what is taking place beyond the numbers.  When this company hires new salespeople and the newbies ask who the top salesperson is so they can pick his brain, they are directed to Fred.

What do you suppose this company’s biggest challenge is right now?  Retention of new salespeople.  Do you think introducing them to Fred has anything to do with that?

You can see the magic of OMG’s accurate and predictive sales candidate assessments here and learn about the power from evaluating your existing sales team here.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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