Sales & Sales Management Expertise

5 Steps For Hiring Better Sales People

Tags: hiring sales people, hire better sales people



A couple of things before I get started:

  1. I really don’t believe it’s just five steps
  2. Google search finds us better when we post articles with #s in the title of the article
  3. This is all really good stuff, but there is one step at the very end – a bonus step - that trumps these 5 steps for hiring better sales people.

Step 1 – Realize and admit that you have people on your team today that are underperforming. That is the norm, but that doesn’t mean that you have to accept it. If you do, then you are part of the problem. Break out of the accepted premise that you cannot possibly have everyone on your team hitting their goal – that all you have to do is lower the goals. That, unfortunately, in reality is what most companies do. They don’t actually lower the goal; they just accept mediocrity when goals are not hit. 20 to 30% of the people on the team carry the load, get the overall performance to exceed expectations while everyone else gets a free pass. Sure, you have people on the way lower end - 3 standard deviations from the norm – but, normally, those are new hires or producers with large revenue streams who have “retired” but just haven’t told anyone.

Step 2 – Realize that you are perfectly designed for the results you are getting today. Everything you do around recruiting, performance management, coaching, mentoring, on-boarding, and training influences your ability to attract, hire and retain better sales people. When you look at the people you have on the team and put them on an 80/20 grid and realize that 33% of your people are generating north of 80% of the results, you can easily see that those others add virtually nothing to the equation when it comes to new business. My question is this – did you hire them that way or did you make them that way?

Step 3 – Decide today that you are going to hire better sales people and not deviate from that objective. Now, be careful about this. This can be like deciding to “get fit”. You set a goal for exercise and diet that is unreasonable given your current habits and condition and end up setting yourself up to fail. So, you have to be strategic about this. Segment your group into quintiles, identify the traits and qualities of those people and make sure that, if you are looking to replace someone in the 3rd quintile, your new hire is better than the one you are replacing. I hope I get this stat correct – according to Brad Smart, author of Topgrading, 75% of the new hires replacing old hires are either worse or no better than the person being exited. You can do better than that.

Step 4 – Put in a process of establishing exactly the right person for the job. In other words, instead of writing a job description, write down what it takes to be successful in the role and what the role is like day to day. Make sure in your job attraction ad you attempt to disqualify those people that are just looking for a new contract because they are sucking wind where they are today. That’s just the first step. You have to have a process that is followed routinely by everyone involved in the recruiting. Make sure you conduct strong phone interviews and have a pre-hire sales assessment versus just a personality or behavior profile – the profiles are nice for the manager and will tell if they can sell, but ultimately won’t tell you if they will sell.

Step 5Win the bet on the first tee. Once you find the exact right person (the perfect fit for the role) and you convinced them that your company is exactly the right place for them to finish their professional sales career, then… try to discourage them from taking the job. Tell them in precise detail exactly what is expected, how they will be managed, that the pressure to succeed is going to be high, that they will fill out activity reports, that they will keep their pipeline/CRM up to date, that there will be a huddle every week, that they will not be excused from sales training or sales meetings, that you will meet with them monthly to review the status of their success and lay out their career path for them. Give them plenty of reasons to reconsider. And oh, by the way, make sure that when you make your offer, they are ready to tell you yes or no

Now, remember the Bonus Step that I said in the beginning trumps all 5 of these steps for hiring better sales people? Well, here it is.

Bonus Step – Execute.

If you want to talk more about this, Text Me at 513.226.3913, Subject: Get a Yes or No at Time of Offer. Please make sure to give me your name as well.