What Does Sales Longevity Really Mean?

By Dave Kurlan

Objective Management Group has included the Sales Longevity Finding for about a year and clients still ask, “What does it really mean?”

It’s really 3 things:

  1. It calculates how long it will take each candidate to generate a 5x return on your combined investment in him/her;
  2. It predicts how likely it is that you can retain the candidate that long;
  3. It shows the areas that you can/can’t control that will help you retain the candidate.

This is really powerful information.

Two of the factors you can’t do much about are both counter intuitive.  Those are:

  1. Sales Quotient – A very strong salesperson with a sales quotient over 130 may not stick around as long because they are in high demand, getting calls from recruiters and frequently being lured to the next great opportunity.  Slightly less capable salespeople with Sales Quotients in the 115-130 range, tend to stay much longer.
  2. Figure it Out Factor – This is our finding for how quickly a candidate “gets it” and gets off to a fast start – short ramp-up time – right out of the starting gate.  Salespeople with high FIOF scores of 75-100 make a splash and then begin looking for their next challenge.  Salespeople with FIOF scores of between 50-75 don’t ramp up quite as quickly, but will stick around longer!

Three of the factors that you can control that greatly influence longevity are:

  1. How Closely You  Manage the Salesperson – When you hire a strong salesperson you would like to think they can get the job done without much help from you.  But the data shows that the more closely you manage your salespeople – the LESS you leave them alone – the longer they will stick around!
  2. How You Pay your Salespeople – Good salespeople leave when they can’t make enough money.  That happens when their income is capped by compensation that is heavily weighted toward salary with little opportunity to earn unlimited commissions. Reverse the compensation (your ineffective salespeople will leave) plan so that it is more heavily weighted toward commission and your best salespeople will stay!
  3. The number of Years in Sales – This one is simple.  Only hire salespeople who have been in sales for at least 5 years.  They will stick around much longer than those who have a shorter career and are still trying to learn and find their way.

Do you have a better understanding of Longevity now?