Recruit, Select and Retain Employees Who Can Sell

Key Findings

There were a number of significant findings from our research, all of which are detailed in the full research report. A few of the most significant findings were:

Top sales producers outperform average producers by 2 to 1 and outperform low producers by 10 to 1. These numbers suggest that replacing your bottom 10% of sales producers with top sales producers would increase your total sales by all sales producers by more than 25%.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the core competency that best distinguishes superior performers in sales, service and leadership roles. Emotional intelligence skills are twice as difficult as other skills to learn late in life which may account for their strength as a distinguishing competency.

There is little correlation between age, gender, race, education or experience with superior performance in sales, service and leadership roles. Our findings demonstrate that sales, service and leadership are equal opportunity professions. Not only are demographic factors such as age, race and gender not predictive of performance, but even prior experience matters only slightly if it’s in your industry and for the role being recruited, and then only among strong learners.

The profile of top performing sales and service supervisors differs substantially from the profile of the people they supervise and from the profile of successful supervisors of other functions. Prior studies have found that strong service orientation to develop others appears twice as often in models of high performing sales managers as it does in models of high performing managers of other functions. For sales managers, the motivation to develop others is the distinguishing competency of superior performers.

Competency and motivational “fit” with various sales, service and leadership roles is the key predictor of superior performance. Our data leads us to conclude that almost all sales and service positions and all distinguishing sets of sales and service competencies can be described by five job roles based on the behavioral requirements of the job. Follow the link title 5 Selling Roles for more information.