This presentation outlines the different types of salespeople and how a top performing salesperson is impacted by their strengths, skills & the severity of weaknesses. Also it provides a brief summary of the sales assessment we have used on almost 1 million salespeople around the world to determine whether they can and will sell. This is the current slide deck I use for when speaking on sales.


Initially we look at the most common personality profile DISC which many people have heard of and look at the difference in a DISC profile between a salesperson and an accountant, making the connection that it is inappropriate to expect accountants to be great salespeople. Next we look at the fact there are many different types of salespeople, sales environments and sizes of deals and that due to the large number of different sales people selling different priced items in different sales environments it is important to get the right person, and that something as basic as high DI in the DISC profile is insufficient to guarantee a person will sell.

We look at one area in particular, hunters or rainmakers in the professional services environment. Next using Jeremy Millers work analysing demand within the market, we learn that only 3% of people are active buyers, with 7% intending to change soon and 30% irritated but not enough to change. From this we draw the conclusion that marketing can in fact only impact the top 10% of people who are able to change.

Sales force assessment

Objective Management Group (OMG) research which was pioneered in 1989 looked at the reasons for failure in salespeople rather than looking at the reasons for success (as previous studies had done), uncovered that the two main factors in sales succeed were the absence of 4 crucial elements in sales – desire, commitment, responsibility and outlook, as well as a severity of weakness that would counter any positive attributes. The OMG assessment now has been used to assess almost 1 million salespeople across all industries and sizes and offers a;

  1. 94% likelihood that a salesperson will be in the top half of the salesforce within 6 months if that person is recommended for the sales position
  2. 70% likelihood that if not recommended the salesperson would have resigned or been fired within 6 months

Next we look at how supply and demand interact, how our assessment of almost 1 million salespeople correlates to the active buyers in the market and how weal salespeople without skills, strengths and with weaknesses at a level of severity to prevent them being successful are able to enjoy less success not only because they have these issues, but these issues mean they are unable to make inroads to the larger opportunity pool. This leads to the conclusion that the elite 6% of salespeople deal with 40% of the market, whilst the weak 74% of salespeople only deal with 3% of the market. Therefore the elite salespeople deal with 6 times as many prospects.

We take a look at the major factors influencing sales success including

  • The will to sell
  • Sales DNA
  • Sales Quotient (SQ)
  • Competencies
  • Development
  • Skills
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses

Then by concluding the overview of the depth and breadth of the OMG sales assessment, we are able to confirm that in fact high DI on the DISC profile is no correlation that a salesperson can and will sell. There are simply too many other factors in play, and our assessment provides predictive validity about a persons sales DNA rather than a sense of what the person could be like from an emotional perspective.

Next we look at how a professional services firm such as an accountant should look at business development and sales; 1. to understand who is capable of selling and 2. decide on your business development approach.

1. Understand who is capable of selling

We discuss how our assessment goes wider and deeper than any other at both an individual sales person level and a company wide sales force level, and how deciding how to grow your sales force it is important to consider all factors and what the interplay is between those factors. Also looking for common themes that indicate cultural sales issues that must be addressed. When one understands who is capable, it is possible to attribute new opportunities within the business to those with hunter or rainmaker skills, and not waste those expensive opportunities with people who are unlikely to win that opportunity. Next we would isolate the people who have account management capabilities and put those people with the clients who have the potential to grow and finally understand who are the individuals who simply are not capable of selling, these people would be given clients who do not have the capability to grow (or be upsold to).

Importantly once we have an understanding of who is capable of selling and in what particular areas there sales skills lie, we can train against their specific skills and strength deficiencies as well as work to address weaknesses.


2. Decide on your business development approach

Sales hunter or rainmakers don’t align with the customers growing level of interest in a relationship as time increases, and for that reason sales hunter or rainmakers have a specific and important role. To bring in new business and pass that off to others, ideally people with account manager skills. Unfortunately this doesn’t sit well with the traditional professional services model.

Using these statistics we then looked at how a dedicated focus on business development in a small accounting firm would reap almost 3 times the opportunities, and how its important to have salespeople in an accounting firm focus on sales. Also that if they are to focus on sales there must be someone to coach, train, motivate and hold these people accountable. An internal or external sales manager.


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