Assessing a Large Sales Organization

Author: Tom Stanfill, ASLAN Training and Development
Posted: November 20th, 2019

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Assessing a Large Sales Organization

You’ve been assigned a daunting task: Assess a large sales force.

Your goal is to understand the needs of the sales organization and build the perfect training program. But getting an accurate pulse on a large sales organization isn’t easy: it’s like getting input from 500 people about an upcoming dinner party. And if you miss the mark, the most vocal people in the company have no problem communicating how they feel about the “party.”

We get it. We’ve been assessing massive sales organizations for decades. And just like you, we don’t have the luxury to get it wrong. So how do you get it right? In the absence of any other reasonable options, most people focus on surveys. While that’s important for getting a grasp on perceived needs and appetite for change, surveys don’t reveal actual sales capabilities.

If you wanted to assess someone’s ability to cook, an athlete’s skill level, or someone’s ability to sing, you wouldn’t base your assessment on how they answered a few questions. You would taste their food, watch them play, or listen to them sing before making a call on what needs to improve. Selling is no different: To assess a seller, you have to watch a seller.

Successful selling is a blend of skills, knowledge, and values. Surveys are the perfect tool to expose a knowledge gap, but they are marginal at discovering a flawed value system, and honestly, strike out when assessing real skills. If you haven’t heard, denial and a lack of selfawareness is kind of a thing. Just tune into “American Idol” and you’ll see how people can do a very poor job of assessing their own skills. This trend has also been validated in numerous studies, including a recent one that stated 95% of college professors think they are above average. What does that tell us? Even college professors fail to fill out surveys assessing their abilities accurately.

There’s a four-step approach ASLAN® has been using for over a decade, and it has proven incredibly accurate at determining the developmental needs of a sales organization and maybe, more importantly, getting buy-infrom all the stakeholders. Think about it: When’s the last time you got everyone to agree on what training is needed and how much you should invest in it? It's possible. Here's our approach.