Can DISC Assessments Predict Sales Success? - Safari Solutions

Can DISC Assessments Predict Sales Success?

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Many sales consultants and business owners use DISC assessments and believe the “Lazy Z” DISC pattern is best for sales performance. DISC stands for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance. The Lazy Z pattern would look something like this on a 1 to 100% scale:

D (60-70%)
I (65-85%)
S (25-40%)
C (40-60%)

For many sales positions, this Lazy Z pattern might work fine. Yet, often overlooked is that all sales positions are not created equal. Thus, this pattern may not be the best fit for every sales position.

To determine the right DISC pattern for a sales position, you must first determine the right sales style for the sales role. Sales style is determined by how you “go to market” with your product and services. There are four basic sales styles which are determined by two key factors: 1) Length of sales cycle and 2) Customer demand.

1. Unique Value – Short sales cycle, Demand creation

2. Consultative – Long sales cycle, Demand creation

3. Account – Long sales cycle, Demand fulfillment

4. Commodity – Short sales cycle, Demand fulfillment

Each style requires different sales competencies and behaviors. A sales person’s success in one style does not necessarily translate into success in other styles.

With DISC, the one common success denominator for all 4 sales styles is high D behavior. Yet, the mix of the other 3 behaviors may differ. The Lazy Z pattern may fit well for Unique Value and Commodity sales styles, yet be a complete bust for Consultative and Account sales. For instance, Consultative and Account sales styles require more patience and disciplined processes, so a high “I” individual may not enjoy and succeed in these roles.

Another DISC sales style is the U shape. The U shape has “D” and “C” as the highest behaviors. Individuals with the U shape are generally good problem solvers and are a nice fit for consultative sales. The U shape would be ideal for Sales Engineers. However, companies struggle to find candidates with this unique combination of behaviors as the U shape style is not common.

The take away point is that there is no perfect DISC pattern that fits every sales style. We like using DISC to determine communication style. But, we recommend more comprehensive sales specific assessments for a better determination of an individual’s sales style.

Sales assessments are routinely used in our SalesScore™ hiring process to determine if sales reps fit your company’s sales style. If you have an underperforming sales rep, perhaps the individual’s sales style does not match up with the position’s sales style. If the wrong sales style is the problem, a replacement hire may be the answer. Yet, if you can determine that their sales style is not the underlying cause of the poor performance, then poor sales training, sales process, or sales management may be the root cause. All of which are correctable.

If you would like to assess your sales team’s sales style or learn more on how to hire the right sales professionals that fit your company’s sales style, give us a call at 317-578-1310. Or email us at

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