A very interesting article in December's Harvard Business Review: Do You Really Know Your Best Salespeople (subscription required).
Here are some interesting observations:
- The study observed 800 sale professionals in live sales meetings, measuring each salesperson in 7 skills.
- Skills related to sales success: rising to the challenge, meeting prep, customer interaction, and company presentation.
- Skills not related to sales success: storytelling, the sale pitch, and presentation and rapport.
- Only 9.1% of sales meetings result in a sale, and just 1 out of 250 salespeople exceed their targets.
- It takes $1,760 of profit per sale to just cover the cost of failed sales meetings, assuming that the meetings cost, on average, $160.
- The study categorized 8 sales types, but only 3 of those 8 types (about 37%) were consistently effective.
- The behaviors of the remaining 5 types (63%) actually drove down performance.
I'll share my thoughts on this study in a future post.