August 30, 2013

Sometimes in business, we get tunnel vision in regards to what our real problems are and what solutions should be undertaken to fix them. I suspect it happens when business owners either fail to step back and look at the big picture, or when they dismiss the obvious cause of failure simply because “it cannot be that simple.”

Here are four startling facts about business and sales that every company owner and sales executive should know. You might notice a common thread running through them, which is that while the facts might be surprising, the solution to them is quite obvious: hire the right people.

1. The Vast Majority of Viable Sales Leads are Simply Ignored

A study cited by InTouch shows that nearly 8 out of 10 closeable leads are longer term propositions, and that these leads are mostly ignored by salespeople who are either uncommitted, unmotivated, or simply don’t know how to nurture prospects. While some of this has to do with training of course, many business owners are unaware that natural aptitude also plays a big part.

There are specific traits that are essential to sales depending on the role and job function, and those should be taken into account when hiring. For instance, in order to nurture longer-term leads, an overly aggressive Type-A sales hunter might not be the best hiring choice, but a more conscientious, patient personality type would.

2. A Bad Hire Can Cost You Twice or More of their Annual Salary

The costs of an employee leaving your company can be substantial and some estimates hold the numbers at upwards of 200% of an employee’s salary. These costs can include draws or base salary, job advertising and recruiting fees, and the loss of revenue due to employee dissatisfaction and lost sales. One of the best tactics for saving money is to focus on hiring the right people in the first place who show the proper characteristics. Again, one method of doing this is through a sales aptitude test.

3. Workplace Conflict Costs Billions

A recent study found that employees spent nearly three hours each week embroiled in conflict. What some employers might believe to be a slight workplace annoyance has drained $359 billion in paid hours in a single year. What does this mean? If your employees seem to be having a conflict, don’t wait until it becomes a major problem. Address it immediately!

It also means that care should be taken in the hiring process to ensure newcomers are a good fit for the existing team.

4. The 80/20 Rule is Real

It’s called the Pareto principle, and it relates to the uneven distributive relationships in a business. That is to say, 20 percent of a group is mostly responsible for 80 percent of the results. In most sales organizations, 20 percent of the salespeople are very productive, while the majority flounder.

The bottom line: Most of your employees aren’t doing all they could to sell, which means most of your customers are being tended to improperly and strong leads are not being cultivated long enough to generate revenue.

A lot of these issues can be solved through better hiring. Sales aptitude tests such as the Craft Personality Questionnaire can help you screen for employees that put your business and its customers at the forefront and drive sales higher.