Made Up Sales Statistics and Their Contrast to Real Data

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A sales consultant who knows that I geek out on sales data read that 84% of salespeople suck because they don't enjoy what they do.  A huge percentage of salespeople do actually suck but the actual number is closer to 75%.  Is it really because they don't enjoy selling?

Most of the data I write about comes from Objective Management Group which has assessed more than 2.3 million salespeople.  OMG has around 250 data points on each salesperson so there is a lot of data to work with.  My plan was to mine OMG's data to see what might support the claim that 84% don't enjoy selling and to conduct a Google search to find the source of that claim.

I began with Google and searched for "84% of salespeople."  While I couldn't find a reference to unfulfilled salespeople, I did observe that 84% must be the favorite made up statistic by all of the people (those who will benefit from selling you a service) who make up statistics!  

  • 84% of B2B Buyers start the buying process with a referral (nope.  They start with who they usually buy from)
  • 84% of salespeople are active on LinkedIn (not a chance in hell - it's more like 5%)
  • 84% of top salespeople crush their sales goals because they are smarter (sorry - it's because they reach decision makers, thoroughly Qualify, have strong Sales DNA, and take a consultative approach to selling)
  • 84% of salespeople have invested in CRM (nope - their companies are investing in CRM and based on OMG's data, only 42% of salespeople use it)
  • 84% of salespeople at businesses that have adopted professional sales enablement strategies are reaching their goals (No company anywhere has 84% of their salespeople reaching their goals unless the goals were lowered so that everyone could receive a participation trophy)
  • 84% of salespeople think their 3-month onboarding training was ineffective (not completely surprising but not nearly that high)
  • 84% of salespeople will miss their performance targets for the year (Not. This varies from 47%-57% every year)
  • 84% of sales teams are more productive selling from home (if it's from not driving around all day the number should be 100%)
  • 84% of salespeople like being recognized for their performance (not even close.  OMG's data says it is 21%)
  • 84% of top performers ask for commitments (This is so far off.  OMG's data shows this number to be 27% for the top 20% of all salespeople)
  • 84% of top salespeople rank high in achievement orientation/goal setting (OMG's data has it as 72% for the top 20%)
  • 84% of sales training is forgotten within 2 years (it's a made up number and probably closer to 50%)

The references to 84% continue but let's go back to the claim that 84% of all salespeople are not fulfilled in their sales roles.

OMG measures 21 Sales Core Competencies with an average of 10 attributes for each. Some directly and/or loosely correlate to fulfillment.  If 84% are not fulfilled we would convert that to a positive and say that 16% are fulfilled.  Here is the real data:

  • 55% of all salespeople Enjoy Selling and this goes up to 78% for the top 10% and down to 23% for the bottom 10% but their number is supposed to represent all salespeople and that isn't close to 16%.
  • 62% of all salespeople have a strong Outlook and feel good about themselves and what they do.  This goes up to 75% for the top 10% and down to 40% for the bottom 10%.
  • 61% of all salespeople are highly Motivated.  This goes up to 89% for the top 10% and down to 12% for the bottom 10%
  • 3.5% of all salespeople feel that selling isn't fun.  This goes down to .5% for the top 10% and up to 38% for the bottom 10%.

In conclusion, the majority of salespeople feel good about selling, enjoy it, and are motivated to do it. There is a direct correlation between fulfillment and the percentile in which a salespeople find themselves.  Better and more successful salespeople find more fulfillment in sales than weaker and less successful salespeople.  While that shouldn't surprise anyone, 84% of salespeople lacking fulfillment is not to be believed.

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

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