Hiring and Retaining Sales Performers Using A.I.
By Rowen Untivero

 
Is there a better way to select and hire people who will predictably perform in their would-be-assigned sales function? Is there also a better way to predict and improve retention of sales performers?
 

Undoubtedly, as a sales leader, general manager or entrepreneur, one can be very frustrated with the time-consuming hiring of sales people, who would fail to make the grade in actual performance. Likewise, the problem gets compounded when the company loses sales performers to turnover. Much time is wasted in repeatedly searching for candidates, on-boarding new recruits, training and coaching either would-be-ill performers or performers who would leave the company.

 
From the very mouth of a derelict company’s sales management head, these words were uttered in a guttural, spine-chilling way: “Select. Hire. On-board. Train.  Coach. Then Fire or Lose! REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT!” Frustratingly, he added “the only way to seemingly break the chain is for me to join the turnover!” He then belched a sardonic laugh, manifesting his desperate, wearisome state.
 
Meanwhile, sales opportunity costs mount. Subject to the number of candidates removed or lost to turnover, compounded by the time-intense pre-activation of each to performing levels, the sales leader’s time to manage other things is significantly reduced.
 
It is quite a relief to find a way to break out of this perpetual, unproductive loop. The scientific breakthrough of predicting sales performance at point of hiring as well as a way of identifying critical retention variables for high performing sales talents is now in our midst!
 
ENTER BIG DATA ANALYSIS AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (A.I.)
 
Once in a while, there are innovations that move us from ‘just wow’ to ‘I’ve got to have one of those’! This is one such innovation that can certainly make life easier and more productive for sales leaders, channel managers, HR as well as the C-suite members, who are incessantly watchful of sales output and profitability.  Hiring trial and error of sales personnel is eventually and progressively minimized, actual results significantly improved. In one of their case studies with a global FMCG giant, not only did revenues increase with sales performance, the cost of turnover was also reduced.  Likewise, similar success stories are reflected in other industries and companies this innovation has been applied to.
 
This particular innovation comes from Rumarocket Limited, founded in Manila, and is currently a company operating out of Hong Kong and with presence in Singapore, Taiwan, the United States and of course, in the Philippines with services offered via Connecting Mavens, Mansmith and Fielders’ own Link to Top Business Mentors and Tools. Its founder, Kathleen Yu is a 24-year-old University of the Philippines Diliman graduate. She is an Ashoka Fellow, a Kairos 50 Founder and has been profiled by Popular Science Magazine. As an undergraduate, she was invited to both Brown University and MIT to talk about her work, and has collaborated extensively with machine learning faculty in Stanford University. Inspiring, indeed, how she accomplished all that while she was still in college!
 
Kathleen was able to develop HR Artificial Intelligence that uses skills-based assessments and big data analytics to provide companies with an optimal talent profile, helping them hire and retain the right sales people.  This utilizes advanced machine learning algorithms to improve chances of screening and hiring the candidate most suited to a company’s culture, objectives and strategies. This translates to time and money saved. Consequently, revenues get realized earlier and higher than previous levels.
 
 
HOW IT WORKS
 
Accordingly, the first step is to Quantify Excellence, The second step is to Understand Excellence, and the third step is to Replicate Excellence.
 
Data is viewed from each company’s best and worst performers to find out what attributes lead to success in that company. Then Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) identifies what are indicators of success and retention. The information is then formed into a Unique Profile. Incoming candidates are then compared against the Unique Profile to identify the ones who will be best fit to perform and be retained.
 
As more and more data is fed into the system, this breakthrough and proprietary Algorithm becomes even more effective, because the A.I. continues to progress its machine learning, keeping it dynamically predictive of the times.
 
Rowen Untivero is a Partner and Chief Sales Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc., the country’s leading marketing, sales, strategy and innovation training company.  He has been injecting much practicable science into sales management, negotiations, selling and general management for three decades. Please send your questions, comments or feedback to 
mentors@mansmith.net. You can also visit www.mansmith.net.