Are You Hiring Sales Winners or Sales Losers?
Hiring Sales Winners
Whether your business is expanding or you are replacing a sales person who has moved on, recruiting and building a winning sales team continues to challenge both Startups and established organizations alike. You spend a lot of time and money and hiring Sales Winners – the Tom Cruise of sales – unfortunately within 9 months Tom has somehow transformed into a Sales loser, who looks more like Latka from Taxi.
Studies by Gallup suggest even the top companies worldwide experience a staff turnover of 10% plus, what chance then has any Startup with limited resources of recruiting the right sales person? The US Department of Labor estimates one bad hire on a salary of $50,000 costs the employer a minimum of $15,000. Chuck Mache has created a really good breakdown on the cost of a bad hire here. Whether you are recruiting your first sales person or you have been through the process many times, those costs make the risk of hiring a Sales Winners who is a liability, instead of a Sales Loser that your customers love, very high.
Turnover in sales teams creates a vicious circle, as vital resources are diverted to the Hiring and Recruitment process to replace the Sales Dud. Whilst the selection process can never be an exact science, there are many common reasons organizations end up with a square peg in a round hole. Use our 10 point checklist below for hiring sales winners.
1) Prepare – The best time to find the right sales person is when you don’t need one. Filling an empty seat puts pressure on you to make a decision. Build a portfolio of good sales people before you need them, using Linkedin’s Contacts & Tags facility.
2) Understand – Work out the exact costs so you know what is at stake before you even start the process. Share this information amongst everyone involved in the selection process so they know how important it is to get the right person.
3) Prioritise – Recruit on Values first and Skills second. No member of staff can stay in an organization if their values are not aligned with the organizations. Skills can be taught but changing someone’s Values is a long term project.
4) Evaluate – Score every existing sales person on a 1 – 10 scale and then work out the average score. Never recruit a sales person below your average score as this will only drag the average down. Remember if you are recruiting on Values first, a graduate can have a better attitude than a 10 year veteran.
5) Research – Check out their Linkedin profile and see how long they have stayed in previous roles. Many sales people leave roles between 8 and 18 months – why? Were the roles similar or was the person advancing their career. Also, ensure Linkedin matches their Personal Resume, although neither are guaranteed.
6) Assessments – use Psychometric and Sales assessments to help you understand their mental DNA. Will they be a good fit with your organization and will they be a good fit for your customers?
7) Test – Use competency based assessments to make sure they have the necessary sales skill set that you require. Understand what Sales Methodology they use as trying to change a Sales person’s Sales Methodology is like trying to change their religion.
8) Measure – Before you start to look you need to know what you are looking for. Build and use a score card system to objectively measure each candidate. Some areas you might consider are Sales Craft, Sales Habits, Sales Activity, Sales Results and Sales Expectations. This can be used as the basis of any Personal Development Plan once the candidate is on board.
9) Reference – ask your existing customers if they could recommend any sales professionals they know and deal with. Ask your PA and switchboard operators which sales people they like, as chances are if your staff like them so will your customers.
10) Recruit from within – if you have an existing employee in another role you already know exactly what you are getting in terms of Values. The investment in time and money on Professional Sales Training and Coaching is minimal compared to the cost of a bad hire.
Entrepreneurs and Organizations also need to ensure that they do not recruit in their own image. Whilst it may seem obvious the traits of an entrepreneur are not the same as a Professional Sales person, it is usually less obvious that the traits of a VP of Sales or Sales Manager may not be the exact characteristics required for a specific sales role. You may wish to involve a Professional Recruiter to aid with the Hiring and Recruitment process, however I would strongly recommend you invest the time to complete the Ten steps above yourself. This will give you a much better understanding of exactly who you are hiring and like every industry there are good recruiters and not so good Recruiters, who may only carry out the minimum of checks. Hiring Sales Winners is possible, they might just be difficult for you to find.