Finding and putting the best people in the right seats is the biggest problem identified by most business owners, especially as it applies to critical sales roles.
Here are the 5 most common reasons most companies struggle with hiring quality salespeople.
#1 Companies outsource their recruiting and the responsibility. Recruiting is something that a company has to own. They can no longer outsource the work and the responsibility. That makes it too easy for people internally to throw up their hands and transfer failures associated with the hiring process to the outsourced firm. If companies are going to improve the quality of their hires, they have to own the process.
#2 There is a lack of a consistent process for constantly searching. Most, if not all, companies make the mistake of looking for candidates only when they have an opening. This leads to many problems:
- Being held hostage by salespeople with “large books”. Companies feel they cannot do anything about them for fear of losing the “books” since there aren’t any replacements.
- Feeling desperate to fill a chair with a warm bottom when there is a vacancy. A body,
anybody is better than no one sitting in the chair (branch).
- Not replacing underperformers because there isn’t a pipeline of candidates to choose from. The underperformers stay around too long; others know it and realize that they don’t have to perform to keep their job, so overall team production continues to decline.
#3 Companies are not getting quality candidates entering the process. The traditional model of recruiting today is one where the placement firm tries to convince its client why a candidate should be hired. Companies should, on the other hand, work extremely hard to disqualify candidates because there are specific skills that apply for that sales job and many/most candidates do not have those skills. Bottom line, the company has to assess at least two things: 1) Do they have enough of the right strengths to be successful? 2) Will they sell versus can they sell?
#4 There is poor communication about the specific role and expectations of this new hire. Too often, everyone is so excited about putting the deal together (getting the seat filled) that no one takes the time to get into the details of the day-to-day requirements of the job. This leads to early misunderstandings about the role and eventually, failure on the part of the new hire to meet the expectations of the company. Failure to “negotiate on the 1st tee” leads to misunderstanding and failure to execute on the sales goals.
#5 The onboarding process is inadequate. Most companies are ill-equipped to effectively onboard new salespeople. They spend time introducing them to the “culture” of the operation, the mechanics of the job, and how to get things done. They introduce them to HR, their support team, marketing, and their partners. And, yes, there is a discussion about goals, sales activities, and how to enter data into CRM. And then… the new hires are on their own.
Companies think that they have hired their next sales superstar and then, 12 months later, they cannot figure out what went wrong. They look at the numbers and discover that the new hires are producing “just like everyone else in the middle of the pack.” The process most companies have in place currently to recruit and hire salespeople perpetuates this problem.