All posts by Jim Nelson

How Do Your Salespeople Measure Up?

We’re almost halfway through 2017 and business owners, company presidents and CEO’s are looking at their progress toward their sales goals for the year. With the national economy growing (slowly and surely) they are feeling more confident in current business conditions. Revenue is coming through the door, margins seem to be holding up and they are cautiously optimistic.

However, they also know that selling continues to change dramatically from past years and it’s getting harder.

-It’s more difficult to reach prospects

-Prospects do not have time to meet

-There is much greater resistance

-Salespeople are getting invited in later and later in the sales cycle

-There is greater need to differentiate

Knowing all of this, business leaders are asking themselves, “Can our sales team continue to meet these challenges and perform at the level we need to reach our goals?” Or said another way, “How do our salespeople measure up when it comes to our industry/”

When it comes to looking at sales performance, Objective Management Group (OMG) has a very cool new tool that business leaders are using to see how their salespeople compare with other salespeople in their industry or with all salespeople. If you check out Dave Kurlan’s blog post, scroll down to ‘Here how it works’ and take advantage of data OMG has gathered from over 11, 000 companies, 1 million salespeople in 200 industries in the last 22 years to gain insight into your sales team.


Does Your Next Sales Hire Need to Be a Consultative Seller?

I was reviewing some of the incredible data and science that Objective Management Group (OMG) has on more than one million salespeople when the following caught my eye.

Today, salespeople possess, on average, only 48% of the attributes of consultative sellers.

You read that right–48%

I found this particularly interesting because selling has changed substantially in the last 8 years and one of the biggest changes has been the need for salespeople to differentiate themselves and their product or service offering from the competition. Without differentiation, salespeople will encounter more resistance, more price sensitivity and much lower win rates.

When a salesperson is a consultative seller—asking great questions, doing great listening and identifying the prospect’s compelling reasons to make an initial purchase or move their existing business to them—they are not only creating value for the prospect, more importantly, they become the value. “I don’t know what it is about Jennifer. She just asks great questions when it comes to helping us with our problems. She gets us!”  And Jennifer’s value provides differentiation for her because no one else interacts with her customer like she uniquely does.

My experience is that when companies think their sales teams are consultative sellers, they’re usually using the old definition of the term–selling solutions to customers and as discussed above, it’s more than that. Much more. Moreover, the changes in selling brought about by the economic downturn in 2008 have made their version of consultative selling obsolete.

Are sales candidates who are consultative sellers hard to identify? It’s not as difficult as you might think. You can consistently hire great salespeople, who will succeed in your business, selling to your ideal decision maker, against your competition, at your price points by using the tool that the most successful sales organizations use. OMG’s Sales Candidate Assessments are the most accurate and predictive sales assessments on the planet. Check them out here.




Are You a Scary Judge of Talent?

Many readers have probably seen the movie “The Recruit”, starring Al Pacino and Colin Farrell. The movie deals with the CIA and uncovering a ‘mole’ inside the agency and is memorable for one line spoken by Pacino’s character, a veteran agent. Here’s the clip–if you want you can skip right to the line at the 2:48 mark. After viewing it you’ll know where I pulled the title for this post.

How does this relate to sales selection? From working with sales leaders for the last 24 years, when they rely too many times solely on their judgment alone and have the mindset that they’re “a scary judge of talent”, it can get expensive…fast.

Have you ever hired a salesperson who didn’t work out? Beyond the emotional costs to a sales leader’s psyche (“Heck, I thought he was going to work out. I had such a good feeling about him and he interviewed so well!”) there are also the tangible, hidden costs of a salesperson not succeeding. Here just a few:

  1.  Time spent on first interviews
  2.  Time spent on second interviews
  3.  Time spent on reviewing resumes
  4.  Time spent onboarding a new hire
  5.  Time spent on coaching
  6.  Fees paid to a headhunter/recruiting service
  7.  Cost of job ads
  8.  Cost of training
  9.  Average annual salary of salesperson

Now if you look at these costs over the last five years of your sales force and if you’ve experienced the average turnover, it doesn’t take long for the numbers to add up.

Companies have reacted in one of two ways when faced with the costs of hiring salespeople who don’t work out. Some have remained “stuck on stupid”, hoping that their next hiring round will be different and they’ll magically find their next sales superstar. Other companies have turned to sales assessments that leverage science and take the guesswork out of making their sales selection decisions. Of course, these sales organizations have drastically reduced their sales hiring costs, built stronger sales teams and experienced more business being closed.

If you are interested in learning how we use an accurate and predictive sales tool to help companies reduce their hiring costs and hire stronger salespeople join me on September 28 for “The Magic of the OMG Sales Candidate Assessment” hosted by Dave Kurlan, Founder and CEO of Objective Management Group. Dave will take us through a compelling 45-minute behind the scenes tour on how the magic (and science) in OMG’s sales selection tools will put sales hiring problems in the rear view mirror.

Go here to register.


Should Hiring Salespeople Really Be Different?

Selling has changed dramatically in the last 10 years and companies are seeing too many of their salespeople struggle to reach their sales quotas. Sales cycle are getting longer. Win rates are getting smaller and the gap between elite salespeople and mediocre salespeople is growing larger.

Have you ever hired a salesperson that didn’t work out, even though you were sure they would?  Or do you need stronger salespeople to combat how difficult selling has become in 2016? If you answered yes, then this Webinar will provide you with the information to help you identify and select those very salespeople.

Register today for “The Magic of the OMG Sales Candidate Assessment” hosted by Dave Kurlan, Founder and CEO of Objective Management Group. Dave will lead you through a compelling 45-minute session on how the magic in OMG’s Sales Candidate Assessment will put sales hiring problems in the rear view mirror.

This LIVE webinar will be held on Wednesday, September 28, 2016, 11:00am-12:00pm USA Eastern Standard Time (GMT-4).

Register Now

Exsell is a certified OMG Partner.


The Science is Settled

No, this isn’t a post about climate change!

It’s a post on how companies continue to get sales hiring wrong by ignoring the use of science as part of  an effective sales selection process.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Too many companies are using the same hiring process to hire salespeople as they use for non-sales employees. And they are using the same assessment tools they use for screening non-salespeople to screen sales candidates.

These are the wrong tools to use because typically, these assessments are really behavioral or personality tests and not sales specific. They’re not predictive of the candidates future success for the position. Most importantly, they don’t measure the right competencies and sales DNA for identifying over achieving salespeople.

What happens when hiring companies ignore science? Costly hiring mistakes! Very costly. If you want to find out what a hiring mistake costs your company, go here and use our Free Hiring Mistake Calculator.

Recent Gallup research data shows there is a 20% increase in sales when companies select the right salespeople. Your company can take advantage of science when dealing with the challenges of hiring high performing salespeople by using the most accurate and predictive sales candidate assessment by Objective Management Group.** This assessment has been chosen as the Top Sales Candidate Assessment for 5 consecutive years.

The science, at least when it comes to hiring great salespeople, is settled.

**Exsell is a Certified Partner of OMG





Getting Sales Selection Right in 2016

Getting sales selection has never been more important! Here are a couple of statistics that show why:

  • According to Forbes, businesses in the U.S. spend close to $72 billion each year on recruiting services and products, yet 46 percent of new hires fail within the first 18 months of employment!
  • Our available research reveals that looking at all salespeople, there is an elite 6% that are top performers, another 20% that are good and 74% that are bad.


Unfortunately, when it comes to selecting sales hires who are in the elite (ideally) or good group and can succeed in this tougher selling environment, companies haven’t adjusted their sales recruiting practices. More costly hiring mistakes are being made today than ever before. Many companies have given up finding their next ‘sales superstar’, getting fooled by sales candidates in the interview process and wind up with someone in the ‘74%’ group described above. To get sales selection right requires a process that includes identifying, attracting, interviewing, hiring and onboarding high performing salespeople. And doing it all in a time and cost effective manner.

If you’ve ever hired a salesperson that didn’t work out or you want to learn how hire the perfect salesperson for your role, in your market, facing your challenges, with your competition and your pricing, plan on attending “The Magic of the OMG Sales Candidate Assessment” hosted by Dave Kurlan, Founder and CEO of Objective Management Group. Dave is one of today’s leading sales experts and will lead you through a fast paced presentation. This live webinar will be held on Tuesday, June 7, 2016, 11:00am-12:00pm USA Eastern Standard Time (GMT-5).

To register click here .



The Green Bay Packers are Hiring

green-bay-packers-logo Another football season is almost upon us and here in town, the Green Bay    Packers have just started their training camp. “Training camp” is just what the  phrase implies–veterans and rookies alike will be competing to make the final  roster before the season opener against the Chicago Bears.

For the coaching staff, the next several weeks will be their opportunity to do an up  close and comprehensive assessment of their top draft picks in an attempt to  answer these questions–“Who can we count on to help us win games and bring  home the Super Bowl trophy?”

Drafting ‘sure fire, can’t miss, future Hall of Famer’ players is not an exact science. If it was, the biggest busts in Packers history would never have happened.

To avoid the next ‘bust’ the Packers, like many other NFL teams employ as much science as possible. They gather data on each potential draft choice and match  it to their requirements for each position: 40 yard dash times, vertical leap, bench press reps and IQ testing. During training camp the players are put through football drills and game situations to see if their physical skills can translate to performing effectively on the field. Everything is videotaped and that tape is compared to the data for each player.  This process is designed to reveal the ‘real’ player and the results are used by the coaching staff in making decisions when it comes time to cut the team down for the final roster. This systematic approach for evaluating talent changes very little from one year to the next. And the success the Packers have had over the last 8 years speaks to the effectiveness of the system.

The Packers’ approach is in direct contrast to how many companies typically go about hiring salespeople. All too often they don’t use a sales specific, systematic process or almost as bad, they use the same process their human resources department uses to hire non-selling employees. The result? Too many sales busts.

My experience over the last 23 years in helping companies grow revenue is that their ability to attract, identify and employ overachieving salespeople is a critical component in their success. In our work together, the discipline in using a repeatable, best practice, hiring model has helped them avoid costly hiring mistakes (think Tony Mandarich).

Sales candidates come in four flavors:  Can sell but won’t, can’t sell but will, can’t sell and won’t, can sell and will.

Can your hiring process help you tell the difference?

For a complimentary white paper, “Modern Science of Sales Selection”, go here and scroll down to the white papers section.



Top 5 Steps to Building a World-Class Sales Force Webinar

Selling has changed dramatically since 2008!

In this fast-paced presentation, Dave Kurlan, one of the top 50 Sales Influencers in the World, and the author of the Top Sales & Marketing Blog for 4 Consecutive Years, will share what World-Class Sales Teams Do Differently. He will then provide 5 simple steps for turning your sales force into the best sales force in your industry. Join Dave for this 45-minute, must-attend, live online presentation.

This LIVE webinar will be held on Tuesday, July 14, 2015, 11:00am-12:00pm USA Eastern Daylight Time (GMT-4).

Join us and  REGISTER NOW !



Getting Sales Hiring Selection Right

I seem to be getting more requests for help from clients who are looking to fill a sales position with a current employee who is working in a different function than direct sales–technical customer service or quality assurance, etc. Management wants the employee assessed to ffind out if they qualify for a sales position. Sound familiar?

Now here’s where companies seem to experience collective “brain fade”. If they have a structured, formalized best practices sales selection process (most often they don’t…if they’re not currently working with us), they tend to lose all discipline, rush to make a hiring decision and wind up hiring with their business ‘heart’ (“Brian knows our product and everyone loves him–he’d be great in sales!”) rather than with their business ‘head’.

It’s not until a year later when management looks at Brian’s results–his sales are flat with very few new customers–that they begin to have remorse over whether they made the right decision. Meanwhile, a year has been wasted with almost nothing to show for it.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying moving a current non-sales employee into a sales position can’t be successful. It can but it’s a long shot. But would it help to know what you could expect to happen after you did it…before you did it? Of course it would and here’s where ‘science’ can help plus using a systematic selection process that’s contains effective methodologies and tools. The point is that when a company is considering a current employee for one of its sales positions, they should use the same method as when they are looking at outside candidates.

As always, the three biggest steps to get right in the selection process are:

1)  Write  a clear, concise role configuration describing the successful candidate.

2)  Use a sales specific, predictive sales assessment that identifies the candidate’s sales competencies and DNA needed for success

3)  Make sure that the hiring team has mastered the skill of asking great interview questions.

Want to know how your company’s sales recruiting process stacks up? Click here.

Want to talk about a turnkey methodology that will help your company identify, find, attract, interview, hire and retain top sales talent? Email  me at




“The Magic of the OMG Sales Candidate Assessment”

Have you ever hired a salesperson that didn’t work out, even though you were sure they would? Or do you need stronger salespeople to combat how difficult selling has become in 2015? If you answered yes, then this webinar will provide you with the information to help you identify and select those very salespeople.

Register today for “The Magic of the OMG Sales Candidate Assessment,” hosted by Dave Kurlan, Founder and CEO of Objective Management Group. Dave will lead you through a compelling 45-minute session on how the magic in OMG’s Sales Candidate Assessment will put sales hiring problems in the rear view mirror.

This LIVE webinar will be held on Thursday, February 26, 2015, 11:00am-12:00pm USA Eastern Standard Time (GMT-5).

To register click here.

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