When talking to presidents, executive sales officers and sales managers, I consistently have heard these 5 comments:
- I inherited the team I have.
- The people that I’ve hired are doing well.
- About 10% of the people consistently meet and or exceed goals.
- 10% of the sales team is failing miserably.
- It’s unreasonable to expect that you can always hire ‘A’ players.
Though we started as, and remain today, a sales training and development company, how to recruit better salespeople was something we needed to add to our business solution toolbox. As a result, we sought, found and partnered with a firm that is now the provider of the #1 pre-hire sales assessment in the world. What does this have to do with 3 things you must do to build a better sales team?
In order to build an effective sales team to achieve systematic and consistent internal organic sales growth, every organization must do 3 things:
- Make sure that your screening process has predictive validity.
- Mitigate future hiring mistakes by implementing a hiring practice designed to disqualify candidates
- Implement training and development to help your current sales manager(s) and sales team(s) adapt to overcome gaps in required sales behaviors and skills
To make these points, let me share with you articles from the Harvard Business Review:
Page 23 of the July/August 2017 HBR Magazine - How to Predict Turnover on Your Sales Team The author is talking to Jay Minks, who is the executive vice president of sales at Insperity – a business performance firm.
- HBR – “If you could design a dashboard to manage turnover, what would be on it?”
- Jay: “Actually, I’d be more interested in data predicting which of the salespeople I hire will succeed; that would be the Holy Grail. Our organization could save millions if we could find a way to use data to drive this number much lower.”
Page 103 of the same magazine. The article, Managing Climate Change: Lessons From The U.S. Navy, is about the two approaches being used by the Navy to deal with the impact of global warming over the next 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 years. These approaches are Mitigation and Adaptation.
- Mitigation – refers to actions that reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change
- Adaptation – refers to actions that make the organization more resilient in the face of the ongoing and forecasted changes in the earth’s systems
My tendency is to automatically start thinking about how information like this relates to sales and sales management. In this case, I relate mitigation, adaptation and predictability to the business challenge of How to Recruit Better Salespeople.
Let’s look at just one: Predictability
Here is a simple screen shot from a pre-hire assessment that has been tested to have a 92% predictive validity:
This candidate is not recommended for hire. Though the assessment indicated that the candidate has a great commitment to success in selling and a great outlook about selling AND takes responsibility for results, this candidate is missing some critical skills in other vital areas. The problem here is that these weaknesses could be hidden by the candidate’s strengths in the areas of hunting and presentation approach.
Mitigation and adaptation steps will vary widely from company to company and industry to industry. The steps to guide those processes would look like the following:
- Identify and confirm the severity of the gap between where you are and where you need to be
- Identify the root cause(s): people, systems, process, or strategy
- Determine the immediate risk(s) to revenue and profit
- Generate 1-5 potential people solutions
- Find a partner/take action
Download a free copy of the Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis (SEIA). You will get...
- Detailed information about potential breakdowns in systems and process that either help or hurt sales growth
- Granular information about the strengths, skills, and weaknesses that hurt or help a sales leader be effective at five critical functions: Performance Management, Coaching, Recruiting, Motivating and Growing a Sales Team.
- Critical information about the structure of a sales team and the potential for growth with the current team
- Finally, a clear idea of the types of hires you need to make to have a growth-oriented sales team.