Selleration on Selling Intelligence


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Nick RiniI’ve believed in assessments for many years. They are a required component of my hiring process.  As of today, the quality of the tools has improved to the point that many of them provide very accurate insight into candidates as well as existing personnel. What a help for hiring and talent management!

Digging into this subject a bit deeper, according to Nick Rini, co-founder and CEO of Selleration, (SI) Selling Intelligence is the Selling DNA makeup of a salesperson.  Nick says, “When a doctor understands the genetic makeup of a patient, they can more effectively diagnose medical problems, prescribe treatment, and better predict an outcome.  The same holds true in sales.  When sales management understands the SI of a salesperson they have the insight needed to make better hiring decisions, more effectively deploy salespeople, make investment decisions around professional development, and can better predict the likelihood of sales success.”

I had the opportunity to interview Nick. I think you’ll find his responses enlightening.

Dave Stein: Why do you believe improving sales performance is so challenging for sales executives today?

Nick Rini: I believe it’s our commitment to after-the-fact sales management/coaching.  Sales management spends a lot of time looking at after-the-fact metrics – the number of calls, customer touches, deals in the pipe, and deals closed.  Then the managing/coaching begins.  But if you understand someone’s SI metrics, their achievement drive level, their level of confidence, or their work ethic, you immediately see what you need to do to get the results you’re looking to achieve.  Of course, you need to know the Selling DNA or Selling Intelligence of the individual to be able to coach effectively.

DS: What is Selling Intelligence and how do YOU measure it?

NR: SI is made up of a combination of a salesperson’s Cognitive Skills, Selling Behavior, and Sales Skills.  The measurement of SI is accomplished using evaluative tools:

  1. Cognitive Skill assessments tell you how well a salesperson solves problems and articulates themselves – important in today’s complex selling environment.
  2. A sales-specific assessment tool provides data on a variety of key behaviors like Assertiveness, Confidence, and Work Ethic.  This reveals the Hunter/Farmer makeup of the salesperson and produces recommendations to management on how to leverage strengths, or work around weaknesses.

Sales skills can be measured many ways: through eLearning, and more advanced simulations.  You just need to make sure the tool objectively measures their abilities throughout the sales process.

DS: Where do you believe the greatest opportunity lies to improve sales performance?

NR: Sales is all about people and we all know people are different and have different needs.  Yet our approach to improving sales performance has traditionally been to deliver a one-size-fits-all talent development solution.  I was speaking with a neuroscientist a few months back who told me her pharmaceutical firm had begun research on new ways to deliver medication 20-30 years from now.  I asked a few “what/why/when” questions and learned her firm is anticipating that in 20-30 years from now geneticists will likely have perfected the doctor’s ability to diagnose a patient at such a level that prescribed medication should consider the individual’s genetic makeup to be most effective, and minimize side effects.

Sales management has the ability to do this today with salespeople.  The tools already exist.  Understanding the Selling DNA of each one of their salespeople gives sales management the ability to apply “selling medicine” where it’s needed.  For example, if I know Michelle is a strong hunter but can be too assertive, I can work with her to make adjustments so she can close the deal without assistance.  If Don is lacking in goal orientation, I can put a plan in place to keep him on track.  Hiring execs agree that it costs too much time and money to replace salespeople.  It puts the desired revenue goal at risk for approximately for 12–18 months.  Additionally, knowing the Selling DNA of the existing team helps management establish a model they can use to hire more effectively.  This alone will improve sales productivity.

DS: Assessments have been used to evaluate sales candidates for years.  What’s new in this area and why should executive sales management be thinking about using Assessments?

This is true, but the operative word is “candidates.”  Here are some important points:

  • Only 38% of sales organizations use assessments;
  • Most assessments are administered by HR and are used exclusively for hiring. Fewer than 5% use them for coaching existing salespeople;
  • Most of the 38% use a generic assessment instead of one that looks specifically at SI; and,
  • Using assessments is a competitive advantage.

It’s also a sure way to realize an uptick in sales productivity.

About Selleration

Selleration combines automated, scalable 3-D avatar role plays with predictive analytics to provide sales management actionable insight into the performance and productivity of their teams.

Visit these links for more information:

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Stein
Dave specializes in helping his clients win critical B2B sales opportunities as well as helping them hire the best sales talent.Dave is co-author of Beyond the Sales Process. He wrote the best-selling How Winners Sell in 2004.


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