Foresight Sales Quarterly

Global research key findings to increase your sales
Tools and Training
Hiring for Performance in Sales
The Metlife Sales Force Effectiveness Research


For those of you I haven't spoken with in a while - my name is Jamie Ford.

Part of the evolution of Foresight is the launch of Sales Quarterly as a means of creating value and supporting your business endeavours to compete nationally and globally.

We are entering a new era in business, and marketplaces have changed dramatically over the past few years. One thing that remains the same, that your people are your biggest asset and greatest opportunity to create a competitive advantage.

At Foresight we have made a few changes, one of them is increasing our Team with the addition of Nick Muller. Nick comes from a background of Coaching and Sales Training in the business arena and we feel he adds another vital dimension to Foresight's capability.


Click here for more about Jamie

Nick Muller will be working alongside myself developing and integrating Sales Training with the Seligman Attitude testing tool, a powerful combination both for training on intrinsic motivators and for recruiting and enhancing sales performance.

Nick Muller comes from a background of owning his own business and also has occupied roles as General Manager for one large New Zealand based company. Nick provides coaching and mentoring within the Small Medium Enterprise market through part of the Auckland Business School "The ICEHOUSE".

"The missing link for most businesses, or ceiling to growth is mostly centred around people", Nick Muller suggests. The route to unlock potential is based on Skills, Knowledge and Perspective. Nick was attracted to Foresight and it's direction, and sees a natural alignment and fit.

Nick has extensive training experience and has been a full time professional Coach and Trainer in various organisations for the last 6 years.

Nick has 2 children and lives on Auckland's North Shore.

Click here for more about Nick

Gear your organisation to support your salespeople

Recent findings in a major global survey about sales force productivity uncovered the following as survey responses:

Respondents said the area they had the most success with was "Establishing Relationships and Uncovering Needs" (36%), while the number one phase they found most challenging during the past year was "Developing New Business" (54%).

From the highest to the lowest, salespeople ranked their experience, which was then scored against changes in revenue. The following findings clearly indicated the kind of environment required to support sales success (in this order):

1. Salespeople receive valuable coaching from their sales managers.
2. Our company objectives are clear to salespeople
3. Our sales leaders treat salespeople fairly and equitably.
4. We effectively use metrics or dashboards to manage sales performance
5. Salespeople meet operational/reporting requirements.

In fact top performing salespeople relied more on a clearly outlined sales process and sales coaching than their lower performing peers.

Key Insights:

  • Of salespeople receiving lesser coaching and training, more than half (58.2%) spend most of their time servicing existing customers rather than finding new business.
  • More than a third of respondents from the higher coaching/training cluster are primarily engaged in finding new business (compared to 28% of salespeople in both the moderate and low sales productivity clusters combined).
  • The evidence is there for all to see and use - coaching and training increases the hunting effectiveness and sales productivity of salespeople.

Tools and training

All salespeople are not wired the same.

There are vast differences in personality styles from Attitude and Outlook to our default behavioural style ( click here to see DISC).

First it is important to have the right person in the right seat on the bus.

A lot of recruiting decisions are made with the priority on background and skills. While this is important a vital consideration to take into account is how closely they fit the role profile requirements.

Yes, you can profile a role and even more accurately match a salesperson against that role profile to establish their "fit". This is done best using a combination of assessment tools and minimises the risk of costly hiring mistakes.

As an employer you can take on the responsibility for ensuring a degree of success as do a number of Foresight clients. We coach the organisation and provide the framework to optimise their likelihood of getting it right, from the outset.

Testing for High Performers

What if I told you that you could reliably hire high sales producers and design your organisation for greater sales capability with a little thought and planning?

That's exactly what is available to sales organisations from both a hiring and training perspective.

The Metlife USA Study

(How to accidentally hinder your sales force effectiveness)

Metropolitan Life used the insurance industry career profile to help screen new agent hires.

In 1985 after three years of initial research, 15,000 applicants took both an attributional (attitude) style questionnaire (SASQ) and Met Life's career profile. One thousand agents were hired based on the career profile alone, as MetLife had done in the past.

However, MetLife had a chronic shortage of agents and as an experiment also hired 129 agents who failed the career profile but came out in the top half of the SASQ. These agents became known as "The Special Force", and they sure were.

Findings- after two years of further research:

Year one
The special force sold 21% more than the pessimists Metlife accidentally hired in their normal manner using the Career Profile

The most optimistic 10% in the special force sold 88% more than the pessimists Metlife accidentally hired in their normal manner using the Career Profile

Year two
The optimists Metlife hired accidentally in their normal manner using the Career Profile outsold their pessimists by 31%. Amazingly however, the special force, who failed Metlife's standard hiring criteria, outsold MetLife's pessimists in the regular force by 57%!

One fascinating example of how important it is to assess for this optimistic attitude comes from research into real estate agent productivity. This study showed that the extremely optimistic agents generated over 300% more than the extreme pessimists accidentally employed by the same recruitment system.

With the best of intentions and even with massive investments in recruitment systems, all kinds of sales organisations are accidentally handicapping their effectiveness by making recruitment decisions on the basis of things that don't matter, while ignoring the very one thing - attitude -  that does matter.

Metlife USA is the biggest Life Insurance company on the planet and had spent millions on its recruitment system prior to the 5 year research project studying the role that attitude plays in sales productivity.

We recommend the following to anyone looking to create a high performance sales culture:

1. Create an environment conducive for success ? train and coach your salespeople
2. Plan and develop your hiring processes to maximise your likelihood of success from the outset
3. Use behavioural style tools as part of developing an understanding around behaviours (both internally and in relation to customers)
4. Employ the Attributional Style Attitude Assessment as an integral part of your training (both with existing staff) and in recruiting.

Please contact us for a conversation on the next steps to increase the effectiveness of your sales force.

Kind regards
Jamie Ford

Server DateTime: Wed, 6 Dec 2023 16:29:42 UTC

Email Address