The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 3 years ago

Using Core Competencies Instead of Personality Tests to Find the A Players w/ JB Bush & Liz Roche

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

You can’t choose your sales team like you choose dinner.

“Smells good, looks great on the menu...” “Wait, that’s what I ordered?”

So many leaders hire based on non-quantifiable measurements.

They use personality tests or behavior assessments, or worst of all gut feeling.

When that person leaves 9-12 months later, it’s painful and expensive.

I sat down with experts Liz Roche and JB Bush, who are both managing partners at VSA, and in this episode, they share their expertise on the importance and the how-to of quantifiable sales-person assessment.

You were listening to the BDB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping the executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Welcome everyone to the BB revenue executive experience. I'm your host, Chats Anderson. So let me ask our audience, as you rush towards the end of the quarter and you start planning for next year, have you solved the challenge related to ensuring you're hiring the right sales people for two thousand and nineteen? We all know hirings difficult, especially in sales. Let me come on, if can't get a job, should really be in sales begin with. So we want to talk about today. Once you understand if they can sell, do you know if they will? Until it's explore the topic we have with this Liz Roche Jb Bush, both managing partners of VSA. Welcome to the show. Thank you, glad to be here. Thanks, Chad. Excited to have a conversation today. All right, so, before we jump in, we like to get one question out of the way so our guests could feel for who you are as individuals, and I randomly, randomly decided to pick the most memorable airline experience never had, since I know all of us travel ridiculous of mouse. So, Liz, what's the most ridiculous airline or memorable airline experience you've ever had? Yeah, and I let me just start by saying I travel in and out of New York, so they're all ridiculous. Right now, ardia is a mess. The woman jumps to mind. Sounds Weird, but recently I had a memorable experience sitting in the middle seat in coach on a return trip from a European business triplash vacation, and I know right, it sounds really weird and I was really pissed and I was wanting to call my travel agent and I didn't do any of that stuff, but I did something that I hardly ever do, which is engaged my seat met. My husband was on one side and this woman showed up late, very harried on...

...the other. And I never do this because I don't want to talk to people the whole way, but I did. I did ask you know where you're coming from. It seems like you're quite rushed, and I learned that she was returning from a volunteer trip to Africa, where she had been helping, I know, women at risk participated in microeconomies to help support their families, and this woman told me she had lost her luggage on the way over there, so for two weeks she had not much more than the clothes on her back. And as she shared the circumstances of her trip and the women she was working with, it really made me grateful to just be on that plane at all, even in the middle seat, and it kind of gave new meaning to me at least, to the notion of, you know, the middle seat is a first world problem. So, yes, right, and since we're kind of recording with around Thanksgiving on, sort of thinking, yeah, I was. I was very grateful for that middle seat. How all right, so, Jib now you have fun enoperational airline. This is this is so bad because, yeah, we all travel so much, we've all lost luggage. We could tell thousand stories, but you know, you said the memorable one of this one's just so bizarre. So I live South California, you know, there's see, the Hollywood thing here and there, but I was on a plane probably fifteen, twenty years ago, and on walks of plane is George Hamilton, the actor, George Hamilton, the actor, and he had on a fur coat that went from shoulders to his ankles. His Tan was spectacular anyway. Keith were white and he you couldn't take your eyes off this guy. He owned the plane. He armed as much as you don't want the guy. It's the first time I've seen somebody and there was an are about him and I just, you know, he was larger than life. I'd never seen, like I said, come on, it was a character of himself, but he owned it and I have to think that was clearly the most humorous but memorable because you couldn't turn it.

Yeah, what I was looking around, look at George the whole time. He knows you're looking, he's looking back and he's good. Yeah, I almost bought around for the entire plane. It was. It was wonderfully memorable. All right. Well, that opens a lot of drows that are not going to expe on this past. So let's talk about evaluating sales professionals. Right, so it's more black magic than sales itself and I most sales exactly. I know. Yeah, can't seem to crack the code. So let's start with why evaluating your sales team is so critical. Is You want to help us understand why we should be doing it? Yeah, for sure, Chad. You know it's super critical because you have to know, not just know, but no quantitatively, where your team is today, where they're starting from, to help you inform how you're going to develop them. And really you need to think about for strategic questions and the answers to those questions. So the first one, if you're a revenue executive, is can your team be more effective? Just literally, where are the opportunities to improve effectiveness? The corollary to that, the second question is how much more effective can we be? Even if I had a silver bullet and I had some magic and I wipe my magic, want, can I get my sales team to where we need to be? Third Question that I need to answer is, if I can, what will it take to accomplish that? What kind of investments do I need to make? And the fourth answer you need is how long will it take to accomplish that? Knowing quantitatively is key. You need that information and that information is based on actual selling competencies. So just still by way of context and why it's so critical to evaluate quantitatively. You need to look beyond personality assessments, because those measure traits and they assume relationships. Some...

...people like to look at behavioral assessments, where you look at a specific group of behaviors and you look at a select group of people that have those top behaviors, but that doesn't predict success because you're not looking at the non behaviors. The nonbehaviors may also have the same behavioral traits and when you put them in different groups they may have different qualities after two tests. A lot of people look at aptitude tests, which is also not quantitative, because what you know is not what you execute. So knowing something called sales, yeah, right, exactly. I know how to play basketball, but I don't execute basketball because I am five foot nothing, and that's all about looking at how you can execute. Not only can they sell, but will they sell? So this is more you keep using, the more quantitative, and I do want to highlight that because I'm one of those guys that came up and would believe that it would be really difficult to quantitatively assess sales people because you know, we've all seen the cliches. I mean we will using we work with clients. We know the supposed to be charming. You're supposed to, you know, be able to convince people to do what they don't want to do or buy when they don't want to buy. So how do you quantitatively get into that? Is starting point and well, I know we'll dive into that. So Jab helped me understand how I don't get charmed by a sale is up. How do I avoid the cult to personality? Yeah, well, that's that's it. I mean, if you're if you're a sales leader, it's a critical role and he it's. It's often we take more time figure out what we're going to have for dinner than we do who we're going to hire to represent our company. Right, because the you look good, you smell good, it looks great on the menu and it comes late and your finally that that's not it's not what I ordered. So I'm looking for data points. Right, let's get to get to it and the quantitative thing. Yeah, it's not just numbers, but there's so much data, grass white...

...papers, chart that's Alan points to how good you look, but I think what lists at earlier. First of all, can you sell in our environment? You know, because what you said, what you sold last time might not be what we're selling here. Are Sales Circus might be different. who were calling on might be different. The way we positioned it in the conversation we have around business outpun might be different than we had before. And even though you look good and your successful before, doesn't mean you can be successful here. So, as a sales leader, I'm trying to look for some data points to just help me make better decisions. I mean there is there some predictive data to says, okay, here's where you're going to fit, but also here the weaknesses that I can work with so I can ramp you up a little bit more effectively? And are your other doors even open for you to be coachable, to take those that coaching that we're looking for? So you know, there's still that element. Do you represent us well? But there's more to it. It's a much you know, when we're looking for well routed players, I'm just looking for data points to make sure I'm getting right people on the bus. Well, the most sales exact. I mean they'll start to believe. Okay, if I need to answer those questions that Liz was talking about, I'm going to focus on how I get them to prospect better or how you going to close more effectively. Yeah, but there's more to it than that, right, there's a lot more to it than that. So help us with the contextual picture. Who is when I'm evaluating sales professions, what else besides behavior or past performance succession I'd be looking at? Yeah, and that's such an important distinction because past, past performance success tends to be what people look at. But revenue executives really need to look at sales competencies, and JB and I kind of look at these sales competencies and for buckets. We mentioned one earlier. You know, can a sales person cell like literally, are their specific selling skills appropriate? You know, and here we think about things like how well do they hunt, how well do they qualify, how well do they prospect? You know, this is the blocking and tackling stuff. But here's something that people don't think about.

It's, you know, will they sell? What is their desire, their commitment to do what it takes, so long as it's sort of legal and ethical to do a deal. What if sales people do every day when things get difficult, when economic circumstances are cyclical? You know, what is their will to sell? The third categorior things that get in the way of selling, or neutralizers, right, like, you know, what are your self limiting beliefs, like I don't like the prospect. That's one of mine. I say exactly. I'm just saying, like, you know, she's got a Cardigan sweater on you, we're gonna well. It's so funny, though, because it's kind of like your sales DNA. What's getting in the way? You know, do you you buy in a way that's going to prevent you selling optimally? We can talk about that in a bit, but I just want to mention the fourth category that Jamie and I like to look at, which is sort of, I'll just call it, other unique factors relative to sales, like what is a sales person's, you know, figure it out factor. How self supportive are they? Are they constantly relying on their manager for answers? How coachable are they? How well do they posture themselves as a salesperson when they walk into the room? So it's some of those less than tangible skills that absolutely have to be measured quantifiably with data so that you can get a sense of, you know, contextually, where is your sales team and it's and it's not just behavior. So I'm still struggling here because I'm hearing a lot. First off, that did remind me of therapy after one. So you guys to know that I feel like they have accomplished something. I've had a moment of enlightened. You feel better and better...

...to feel worse. That's I'm going to have to do more therapy to figure that out. Well, don't know the voice yet. You can send it. I'll just send it over to wife number two. But when we look at this like I hear a lot of, I mean we're talking behaviors, we're talking things that I don't think most sales exacts would truly believe can be quantitatively assessed. Yeah, so I have to play the skeptic. Care and help me, help me understand. How are we going to do this? What is it? What does it look like? And then how are we going to convince sales exacts that the results are seeing are going to be accurate? Jb, you got anything that's going to get me over the edge? I don't know. I mean Liz and I have struggled with this too. It's more than just skills. And you know you've heard it forever. You and I were on the sales game. Where we are in the changing behaviors and are sales people really born or they built? Who knows? But people say God, you know you're born to be a sales guy because you got all those soft skills. But then when you break it down and you look at you know the our craft and all that goes into our craft. You know the ability to hunt prospect now you got to see her social sal ability to present, to ask questions, to uncover the business case, to be able to talk about, you know, big ticket items with the right people, your commitment level, your desire level, there's so much goes in to be successful in our role that it's more than just saw skills. So then you start to look at it, go okay, how do I figure out if you got it, if you're going to be successful in my environment? What do you take? A Myers break personality test? You take a behavioral test, because some of your top performers and your lows reformers might have the same behaviors. So when you start to look at a little bit, can we at least just take a snapshot, some findings, if you will, against the ideal, the ideal salesperson that doesn't work or doesn't work that does exist exactly? We want to know what that is those guys, because we've all got gaps in the best of the best are continually trying to improve.

Well, improve against what? And what's the benchmark? So the idea of you know, quantifiable and the analytics here is, can we get a set of findings here at put myself against the Michael Jordan said, okay, we're do I excel and where some gaps so that I have a road map, some data points to make better decisions on where to make investments as a sales leader. Then just some soft skills, because training isn't always we hear it all the time. I need my people to be better closers. Well, closing is kind of overrated. I think closing the natural outcome. But well executed sales cycle. Do you qualify well? Do you ask the right questions? Do you navigate the decisionmaking process effectively? We have the conversation around you know, business value business outcomes. If you're doing all of those things, then we're closing. So when we look at the analytics here, can you present a me with a, you know, a set of finance it allows me to make better decisions, more than just personality tests. Long answer to a simple question, but it's I mean, I just confuse you to higher level. No, no, you just raise really good point. There are so many things that sales professionals have to do today they have to be good at right. So you've been most people just lump it all together. That's right, a sales person, right, but we you're all right now. I'm following. Now, maybe you got me closer to the fence right now we got to get me over. But so it's like, okay, how am I going to assess all these? Now we were prepping, as you mentioned, something about core competencies and then a host of other associated confidences. I'm not sure I want to go through that test because that's I probably gonna tell me more about myself than I get begin Abu Writing. Yeah, yeah, and so, Chad, let me, let me give you, give you an example, and and let me let me frame it up, because JB jv mentioned something earlier, comparing ourselves to the ideal, and an ideal that well doesn't work because they've been so good and they can retire her, but actually doesn't exist. And we've been talking a lot about one offiable assessments,...

...and the key is what goes into that day to repository against which you're going to create this composite perfect seller. We actually have found an assessment from g called objective management group, or Omg, just not, oh my God. That's composed of twenty six thousand companies and I'll most one point eight million salespeople across two hundred industries in forty three countries. So it's a super rich repository that when you compare a particular sales person, our sales manager, against you know, and using these twenty one co competencies, so you get just a very informed in deep data analysis. So let me just give you an example of too cool, cool competencies that you probably don't think of. You know, people think of things like ability to close and it's to Ja. These at hunting skills are kind of overrated. But look, we're all thinking about it, you know, building relationships. I had someone tell me the other day that my sales guys are from. Sales people are great at building relationships, which is helpful when the economic cycle is up, but when it's in a trough those relationships are tough. So here's what might surprise people. One of those twenty one car competencies is something like to call supportive bicycle, which is how a salesperson individually makes a major purchase, and that informs how they sell. So do they think things over? Do they comparison price shop? Do they do research and think something is expensive even when it isn't? If they do this personally, it means they'll accept that behavior and those objections from their prospects, and that might not support an ideal set sales outcome. Another interesting one that we've been alluded to all along is commitment, and this is so important to the whole idea of will they sell. Like a willingness to do whatever it takes, so long as it's legal and ethical. Who...

...can condition? Well, what are those words made? Wait, let's just be clear. Legal and ethical. So selling what? It's not easy, and just having this unconditional commitment. So all right, so there's ways. So there's twenty one commed disease there's an amazing database of what good looks like. Right, this is the way. If we can compare ourselves against that. Now, what do you do when you run into an exact, and we've all heard this, I just hire a players. That's enough. Like, I just hire a players and let him do their thing. How would I'm come on, how would you respond to that exact compared to what you know that if you just, if you look at it it just objectively. Of course, we're all on a players, but we all always get first pick in the draft. There's just so many out there. So when you look at what we're trying to do, and I love the objective of that, you're just trying to find people who are going to succeed in your environment, and the question becomes, yeah, that should be everybody's mantras. I want to hire a players that work well with it, within my environment, based on my sale. How long is our cycle? How bigs the deal? Who Do need be in front of? How do we differentiate? What are the true skills? I have to have a place. Is it a hunting role or is it a nurturing land and expand roll within you know, whatever it is, it three months fast west coast offense type of sale? Or is it a twelve month? Aren't you two different completely environment. So yeah, you want an a player, but let's at least profile what that looks like so that that individual has the competencies to succeed your environment, because you and I both know said there's nothing worse than hiring somebody, investing a ton of dough and train development tribal knowledge, only to see them walk right nine months, twelve months later and they didn't work out. It's expensive. What is it? A four x now that yeah, wait, at least so again, compared to what? And so we all right. So we...

...need so sales exacts out there. Listen, you need it. You need to know your environment, which we hadn't touched on too much for you. Really, how many people walk, you know, I know sales exacts walk in and they go, oh no, I know how to sell and they don't even do the assessment of the environment they're walking into. And are they successful? That we're talking about doing this assessment and this understanding and what good looks like, not only for the individuals you want to bring in but within the environment. So there's two pieces to the puzzle. There that they need to look at and it sounds like all of this should be done before they start doing sales training or sales Nimplification, sales transformation, whatever, whatever calase you needs this week. How do you convince the sales exactly now? What do you say do with sales exists is I don't have that kind of money to invest in assessing and doing that type of assessment and then the training. You know, I'm not going to get that kind of investment budget from the board whatever. Yeah, so it's sort of like, you know, deciding to spend it, to spend a bunch of dough on sales training without really knowing what problem you're solving is putting the car before the horse. And you know, do they know for sure they're solving the right problem? And could they invested differently and prioritize differently if they knew what the real problems were? For example, we have a client who's just invested a ton of money and methodology and they're wondering why it's not working. They think they've done everything right, but what they didn't appreciate is that their managers are part of their problem. Their managers aren't able to manage salespeople, holding accountable for results. Not Great Coaches. They actually they're at their managers are big rescuers and it is jb and I always say to each other, you know, as going your managers, so go your salespeople. Yeah, and you won't know that without first understand, understanding the current state of sales people, managers, executives and also the like, the systems and processes in plays, the management strategies, the alignment. So when someone says to me I can't afford to do both, my question back is, well, can you afford not to understand your...

...starting point and and can you change your investment mixed to solve the right problems? Yeah, can I add a little color that list. Working with that, you know multi, you know global company right now. When we were asked to engage because they're salespeople weren't selling and they felt there were some gaps and they need to assistance on where the gaps were so they knew where to place their their development dollars. You know, some of it was around value selling, so I was around presentation skills. I was darn crm training. Well, what's been very interesting for the client is that the sales people weren't the problem. It's a sales yeah, exactly. They're not coaching and not holding people accountable. They're not motivating, you know they're they don't believe in those sayings. So it's shifted how they were going to invest worth thinking. Okay, let's do all the stuff for the sales people which will come. Let's get ahead of this and put some of that those investment dollars in the management team. And it was an Aha moment. Otherwise they might have thrown a bunch of dough at the sales team and not gotten the lift they were looking for. That's a next it's an excellent point. I mean we see it all the time because of the work that we do. Right, that's right. You know the managers of the key and we say that we try and said that right up front. But if you're not assessaying that you have not just the right sales people with the right managers, you still have a broken machine at the end of the day. Well, think about it. We talked about all the time. Either most managers, he or she were promoted from being a great quarter carrying exceeding busted through their number and then they say you know what, Chat, here's a team over here of ten guys. Make them do what you did. Good luck, yeah, for and they it's a different skill set. It's a completely different skill set of selling the bag and sell at caring a quote a Daytoday, basis via hitting a number through others, which is a different skill set. And the assessment of allows you to look not just at we're talking about the twenty one core copsies with the sales individual, but also those leadership qualities to carry forward the flag of the processes are trying to drive, the mission, statement of the organization,...

...the ability to coach people up and to motivate them when they walk and flat not. I don't want to be here today. And how does it manage? You're engage without the help them get over that hup. Yeah, how many managers have you seen that? Have you know? They've gotten that promotion and they do it for about a year and they get wow, thish, I'm going back to carrying a bag. And you know what they do? They're their faults. You know what, Chad, just take me out and I'll close the deal for you. Yeah, and that's not scalable. It's not. That's not scale at all. Excellent. All right, so let's change your action a little bit. We ask are all of our guests to standard questions towards in each interview. In the first is simply as a revenue executor yourselves. That means you guys, are a prospect for other sales professionals. Some I always curious to understand how somebody who doesn't have a referral into you, doesn't have a reputation or a relationship with you, how they are going to most effectively capture your attention and get you to give them fifteen, twenty minutes here time. So, Liz, how's somebody going to capture your attention when they don't have that relationship with that referral? Su Chad just probably wants surprise you to hear me say this, but my name, my thing is show me, you know me, and I know I'm not the first person to say that, but here's, here's what I mean to a little freaking research about what I might be struggling with or a problem that I might have. Come pitch me a generic email or leave me a voicemail and me when I have laughed about this, because what I might actually just do is turn the tables on that sales are up and try to help them solve there's yeah, I have seen you do that. I have so ten, five minutes, do a little research and then reach out. That will always get my attention. All Right, Jab what's gonna do it for you? Boy, you know I wrote this down. It's give me a little bit off. Authenticity obviously as front center, but let's just have a conversation first. Don't sell me. You know I'm all talk to anybody any day the week, but let's just see if there's a fit in any value taking next...

...steps. And so many people come at me hard, first of all to get my name wrong or, you know, they're not as punch as it could be. All the table stakes and stuff. We know. But to Liz's point, not only have you done some homework and that it's worth it for me to spend ten or fifty minutes with you, but don't you know, sellings and natural outcome of us just having a conversation get we've got to get, got to be and I think it comes through. I've got a BS meter and I think our clients have a BS meter. I know if you're there to help me or to sell me and if you're there, I think that comes through pretty quickly and to me that's just a bit. It's a differentiator and that comes through in the tone of our emails or voicemails and how we handle that first conversation, because I think you'll get the first five minutes and then I'm looking for a way to get out. But if it's authentic and we're having a conversation, yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm yours. So to that, to that know me approach. I got to give an example, and I don't normally do this, but literally yesterday there's a a knock on the door. I get this package. I owe this package and I opened it up and it's got a little two little airline bottles of Jack Daniels in it that wrapped in a little Harley Davidson best and it just says the note on it says I just need fifteen minutes and it's a phone number and I'm like what this? This is the coolest thing I had, and so I call and it's a guy who's been trying to get ahold of me from email and social interactions. Listen to the show, because I'm obviously pretty up front about what makes Chad Tick and and he sends me this and we end up having an hour and a half conversation yesterday. It was the most impressive display of prospecting I had seen in a long time. What is awesome. So could I throw a story on top of your story? Yeah, it was in a workshop and we were talking and we go through the framework and we talked about the concept of the anxiety question, asking a question that peaks curiosity, gets to think about the future when people really aren't engaging...

...with you. And so this, this individual dropped me notes that I've been trying to reach this one exact for the longest time and I've had no luck. You know, circled influence, all that are the good stuff. He puts. He finds out that this individuals a huge Duke Basketball Fan and so he takes anxiety question, puts it on a basketball and he sent the basketball with anxiety question to the exact with the same thing. His name is, phone number, he said. The phone rang just like that. I said that's the most creative thing I've seen. When you want to come on in it just because he did something different. He obtously knew the individual, but he tied that to some sort of business outcome or business channels. I did visuals having was pretty cool. Yeah, I mean it's looked. We all like. You Know Me, I could tark prospecting forever, but that personalization in that and that creativity goes a long way, as does as does humors. All right, last went. Just try to have fun. We're just trying to have fun, you know, we're trying to say, you know, make sure that baby gets new shoes, but man, we're just yeah, I just like to say I got to change the oil of my hearty. Yeah, last question. We call it our acceleration insights. There was one thing you could tell sales, marketing professional service with one piece of advice that, if they listened, you believe would help them crush their targets. What would it be and why? Lizen? So this is a hard one because we all love to give advice, but I think that my my sort of most most profound, at least for this moment, piece of advice would be understand your personal sales strengths and weaknesses as compared to an ideal sales person, of perfect salesperson who might not exist. But really be fearless about out vetting your skills and understanding what you need to develop and put in place a plan to to really develop those muscles so that you can become the best version of yourself, that that you can be perfect. Jab I'm going trust but...

...verify, and I think that I think that goes with a couple different things. I think it speaks to your question earlier on. How do you get through the you know, the veneer of the goodlooking salesperson. I Trust you, but let me just verify, let me ask some questions on that. It goes back to Vale so on. We talked about the plan letter. Hey, I trust you, but let me just verify heard you correctly, that we're on the same page. Just a little bit of just don't go into the night blindly. Let's just trust, but VERFI. Excellent, perfect. Jimmian is, I cannot thank you enough for taking time to be on the show. Is Said gonna be way great. I think about have a Jack An. It was just you. Tomorrow is dunks giving. Just so, yeah, thank thank you for the invitation. Always good to be with you, my friend. All right, everybody that does it for this episode. CHECK US out. of BB REV exactcom show the episode of Friends, family, Co workers. You know the drill. Give us review on itunes. Until next time. We've value selling associates with you all nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the BB revenue executive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in Itunes for your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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