The organization in reference, wanted to understand which of the knowledge, skills, attitudes, critical behaviors, and personality traits of their sales force that drove the sales performance. Post determining the key competencies and attitudes driving sales/performance, build a data-driven decision framework on key talent management areas: recruitment, development, progressions, and reorganization decisions. The long term aspiration was to build a high performance sales culture, leap-frogging the organization to higher growth trajectory. (Also see, other similar case studies on linking critical behaviors to business outcomes here)
We collected data from 3 key sources – Employee Performance data (360 Feedback scores for the sales team), Behavior Characteristic data (Culture Survey, Personality Inventory, & Behavioral Assessments) and Business Performance data (Sales metrics & outcomes – sales goal attainment, average win size, and average win rate for each sales employee).
The Behavior Characteristics data consisted of the following:
- Culture Survey – assessed employee attitudes on several key aspects of the organization’s sales culture
- Personality inventory – assessed several personality factors perceived to be important for sales performance (Also see, The Big Five Inventory, Berkeley Personality Lab)
- Competence Assessment – Sales manager ratings of sales force on a variety of behavioral competencies presumed to be important for sales performance
The organization provided several measures of sales performance data that were then linked to the competencies & critical behaviors data in order to build predictive analytics models. These models enabled us to do following:
- Identify key factors from each assessment that were drivers of current sales rep’s performance such as new business revenue and target achievement
- Use key drivers of performance to develop a persona for a high performer Sales Executive, to make data-driven recruitment and talent management decisions
- To identify sales representatives that needed focused training related to ascertained key drivers from the predictive model
Through predictive models, we were able to determine the specific behavioral competencies assessed in 360 feedback that had the highest impact on sales (which had statistical significance across predictive models). In this case, 5 critical behaviors from the 360 were identified as key drivers of sales outcomes.
Comparing the high performing sales executives (in terms of scores on these 5 critical competencies) to their peers on the yardstick of sales outcomes, we found that high performing sales executives, who evidenced high levels of all 5 of the above critical behaviors had an average incremental sales goal attainment of 64% than their peers, an average win rate of 8.4% more often than their peers, and an average win size of $8,500 more than their peers. This differential helps us calculate build the business case with projected ROI of investing on development programs for 5 behaviors,
From the competencies and attitudes identified as key drivers in sales performance, the organization developed a behavior re-engineering training curriculum to target these specific differentiating behaviors.
Post implementation of the revised curricula, the organization witnessed a 45% increase in sales revenue, an increase in target achievement of 70% for the sales force that saw the successful completion of development programs.