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“Its a 90% Sales On-boarding pass mark for bloody good reason!”

Well, that might depend entirely on both ones perspective, and/or the objective(s) in mind. 

What if the objectives were to;

  1. Minimise the impact of a bad hire

  2. Reduce the length of time (Sales RAMP) to sales productivity

And what if the perspective were to;

  1. Create a standard and culture of great performance, instead of inconsistent and mediocrity

  2. And/or to provide the best possible platform for learning and development when it comes to assessing the knowledge, skill and attitude of a new/existing sales recruit

Some experts suggest that the cost goes an awful lot further, however. Hiring guru Bradford Smart estimates the cost of a ‘mis-hire’ to be anywhere from four times annual salary for supervisors all the way up to 15 times annual salary for vice presidents and executives

Here’s an eye-opening example from his most recent book:


  • Hiring Costs £13,982

  • Compensation £89,842

  • Maintenance £8,330

  • Severance £14,875

  • Opportunity Costs £148,745

  • Disruption Costs £59,498

  • TOTAL COST £335,272

Im therefore going to state my position quite clearly, 90% is my minimum without compromise and heres why…

Well, first, why not? Why wouldn't I want my companies sales team to be anything other that the best… the best in its understanding (or as I like to call it KSA) ‘Knowledge’ of the market, its own company, its values, ethos, vision, its products or services and not least the domain expertise in how to sell and help customers buy?

Secondly, the ‘Skill,' and/or competencies in how to translate this knowledge into action thats both reliable and repeatable.

And then thirdly, ‘Attitude,' do they even want to. Just because they appear to have all the knowledge and skill to do the role, does not mean to say they will or want to do whats required, therefore intervention is required.

You see in my experience over the last 30 years, its the overlapping of these 3 elements (KNOWLEDGE, SKILL and ATTITUDE = KSA) that demonstrate great habits, behaviours and most importantly translate in to high level sales performance.

Women stressed trying to pass a sales on-boarding exam
Women with head in hands

I’ve witnessed countless times new hires join the company with fanfare and high expectation and what appears to have a good track record. However, like most sales hiring, the selection and award of the role from hiring managers, could be described in part as subjective.

Now some new or existing sales staff might go on to great things, however, I bet if your business is like most, it could be like a revolving door. The time is takes to replace and start again and the opportunity cost run into thousands across direct and indirect costs in your business as stated above.

What you might want to do

So if you have or feel some of these symptoms and most importantly willing to acknowledge this scenario exists in your business/sales function, there are 2 simple steps you could take;

Step 1: When hiring, be very clear, explicit about what knowledge, skill and attitude you need from a candidate to be successful in the role and test for it during the interview process

(Feel free to send me a copy of a job description you are working on and ill be happy to apply the KSA methodology to it free of charge)

Step 2: Employ a very simple sales on-boarding program based on my KSA framework to either a) expedite the path to sales productivity or b) weed out quickly those bad hires that slipped through the net and not wait to probation review several months too late.

The KSA framework works seamlessly with both new and existing sales teams regardless of the size and stage your business is at. 

Feel free to comment or drop me a line ( if you would like to discuss any of the above…

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