Performance Criteria Validity Study Summary
Position: Sales Representative
Business Sector: Gift and Home Decor Products Distribution
The aim of this study is to assess the relationship between sales performance data and sales representatives’ personality traits. Our goal is to find correlations between these two components and to establish as clearly as possible the personality characteristics associated with strong performance.
Each of the 70 sales representatives’ performances was rated on the basis of year-over-year growth and the percentage of current year’s goal reached to date. To avoid regional performance bias, sales performance data was analysed by picking high and low performers within each region. These sales reps call on department stores, novelty retail stores and gift and souvenir boutiques across the USA.
Additionally, overall individual performance ratings from managers (measuring commitment, paperwork, dress, effort, attitude, etc.) have been assigned the following values: 0 = Not performing to 3 = Outstanding performance.
MPO score data
Score data on the following personality traits:
- OR Originality of thinking
- ES Emotional Spontaneity
- A Assertiveness
- E Extroversion
- P Pace
- S Structure
- AD Adaptability
Our analysis of YOY sales for individuals with tenure of less than 59 months versus 60 months and over shows that individuals with tenure of less than 59 months generate an average of 7.89% better YOY results.
This could be explained by the fact that either Sales Representatives with less tenure will typically put greater effort into developing their client base or that selection and hiring practices have changed in the last few years.
Analysis and Interpretation
Our analysis of the relationship between performance and factor interactions shows that three factor interactions have a significant impact on results: A/S, A/P and E/S.
A/S: A spread of 1-2 deciles seems to produce the best results for a productive balance between autonomy, assertiveness, decision-making and, conversely, organization skills, attention to detail and tendency to follow-up. Too much attention to detail (S/A or A=S) seems detrimental to sales but much independence (A/S 3+) produces even lower results.
A/P: A spread of 2-3 seems to be most productive, demonstrating initiative and drive while remaining calm and determined. Being too agreeable and patient (P/A or A=P) is not conducive to sales development while being impatient, moving too fast or trying to do too many things at the same time (A/P 4+, A/P 6+) also seems to reduce sales effectiveness.
S/E and E/S: The S/E interaction does not appear to produce a positive effect on sales in this organization but neither does a strong E/S relationship. In fact a neutral relationship (E=S) of these two constructs appears to be optimal, meaning that the job requires an equal amount of analysis and administrative tasks as it requires sociability and openness to others. As for a strong A/S interaction, increasing social interest and sales drive (E/S) and decreasing analysis, attention to detail and follow-ups has a proportionally increasing negative effect on results.
Therefore, it is recommended to look for profiles with an E=S and to coach highly extroverted sales people to pay as much attention to detailed facts and figures as to social interaction or persuasion.
As to their outlook on things, good producers indicate an Originality of Thought (OR) score in a 5-7 range and Emotional Spontaneity (ES) score in a 3-5 range. A high mid-range score in Adaptability (AD) of 5-6 is desirable.
Composite MPO profile summing up the above analysis:
Perception of Required Behavior
This graph typically represents the way people perceive they must behave to meet expectations and perform in their job.
The graph below represents the average perception of all sales representatives included in the study, whatever their own individual personality traits. Their overall perception is very close to the personality traits of the best performers, as illustrated above. This means that most sales representatives strive to behave in this fashion, reflecting the leadership of management, the policies and culture of the organization.