The Three Imperatives of Selling Excellence

Behavioral scientist and AuctusIQ Co-Founder Dr. Courtney McCashland explains how to recognize and optimize the factors that drive elite sales performance.

Why are some people so good at selling when others are not? Can you take someone who’s average and teach them to be great? The science behind these questions is more predictable than you might think. It comes down to the same three factors as all elite human performance:

  1. Talent
  2. Competency
  3. Learning from Experience

Talent is what you’re born with. What comes naturally? What fascinates and motivates you? These are things that can’t be taught.

Competency is what can be taught. How have you gained knowledge? Have you grown? Whether you have a lot of talent or a little, this is how you unlock it.

Learning from Experience is not the same thing as having experience. Learning requires analyzing, practicing, and refining what you do. It’s a process for applying talent and competency so that performance evolves over time.

True selling excellence comes from optimizing all three of these factors together. If you want your salesforce to become great, you need a reliable process for finding and evaluating talent, identifying and filling gaps in competency, learning from each selling interaction, and applying what you’ve learned.

Step 1: Finding and Evaluating Talent

There’s no substitute for talent; you can’t develop what isn’t there. When you’re hiring, the RecruitIQ platform from AuctusIQ positively identifies people with the combination of talents you need most. For sellers already on your payroll, the TalentIQ platform is a scientific instrument that measures each individual, so you know how to develop their unique abilities.

The bedrock of both of these tools is a large database consisting of multiple profiles compiled over 25 years, proving which traits and behaviors predict selling success.. We have refined which questions to ask so that people who were born to be great – not just good – will answer differently. It’s a highly predictable method to recognize and hire top talent, and to measure the untapped potential of every member of your team.

Step 2: Growing Individual Competency

When I’m assessing salespeople for a client, I need to understand what their individual readiness is. What have they already been (or not been) taught to do? Where are the gaps in their competencies? GrowthIQ helps reveal individual opportunities to take average sellers and elevate their performance closer to your best. This may not sound as glamorous as finding and hiring the elite, but for most organizations, this is where the money is.

In fact, when we look at the top 20% and bottom 20% of sellers in most companies, we find huge gaps in their most important competency scores that correlate with the difference in their sales numbers. Fortunately, these are competencies you can teach – things like skills for negotiating to close, ability to generate new opportunities, ability to teach and advise. Not every person will become a top seller, but with GrowthIQ, every one of them can become their best.

This is what we call readiness mapping. From there, the CoachIQ platform allows us to create personal, individual roadmaps for each person on the team to improve competencies through coaching, training, and skill development. EnableIQ adds to the toolkit by identifying resources within the organization and granting access to AuctusIQ’s complete training library.

Step 3: Learning from Experience

Some people grow more in their first six months on the job than others do in a lifetime. The key isn’t having experience, it’s learning from it. To do this, you need a process that lets you analyze what works and make adjustments to continuously improve. CoachIQ gives you that process.

This is what my co-founder refers to as “breaking down game film.” CoachingIQ is the first system to let you see what your people are doing in real time, alongside the data that show how they are performing. What did they do at every step of the selling cycle – and what should they be doing – to move this opportunity to the next step? We have critical expertise on the responses you need to get back from your buyer, and these are things that can be taught.

As a coach, you get individualized insights for each person. For example, maybe a seller gets stuck on negotiating because they’re low in traits like courage and persuasion. You can see that, sit down with them, and provide guidance on how they can ask for the close. Once you have your baseline, you can meet on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. Every six to 12 months, you remeasure and have a coaching conversation around it. Together, you can reinforce the things that matter.

As team members work their individual roadmaps for improvement, the DealIQ platform gives you a way to track your pipeline, deal-by-deal. Agnostic methodology and machine learning provide a Deal Confidence score that will dramatically improve your forecasting and revenue to income statement. At the same time, sellers working each deal can review exactly what actions they took and whether they closed the deal. With experience, DealIQ will show you exactly what you need to do next.

A great time for talent

I’ve been studying talent for a long time now, and for me, this is the most exciting time in our industry. We’ve learned a great deal about recognizing talent, but developing it has always been something of a black box. Now we can measure and leverage those intangibles like never before. Today you have a way to hire smarter, understand each person on your team, and apply their gifts to be the best they can be. Adopt these methods and I’m sure you’ll agree – it’s rewarding in more ways than one.

Dr. Courtney McCashland is Co-Founder and Chief Officer of Science & Strategy at AuctusIQ. She has invested 25+ years working and learning in a variety of organizations, starting her own companies, and studying salespeople of every kind.

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