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4 steps to Hiring "No Assembly Required" Salesperson

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Jan 07, 2021

Hiring sales talent is often a costly, difficult, and time-consuming task. However, it's mandatory in order to grow an organization and sales team.

In this blog, we discuss how to identify top talent and minimize hiring mistakes by following a 4 step process.

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Hiring mistakes are expensive. Before we dive further into this topic, let's consider the following:

  • According to the Department of Labor, the cost of a bad hire can be as high as 30% of first-year earnings
  • Additionally, the CEO of Link Humans estimated the average cost to be as high as $240,000 plus expenses
  • A study of CFOs said that not only do bad hires cost them productivity, but managers spend 17% of their time supervising underperforming employees
  • Lastly, CareerBuilder reports that 74% of employers state they hired the wrong person for the job

If you have a salesforce of 25 people and 20% of your new hires fail due to lack of performance, the cost can be $100,000.00+. In a conversation with Roy Riley, President of Peel and Holland Insurance Agency, he stated that hiring mistakes are a 2-comma problem.

 

Maybe you are part of the 26% that have not admitted to making hiring mistakes. Perhaps a better piece to read would be this article, What Elite Salespeople Do Better, by David Kurlan.

 

Otherwise, here are four steps that, if followed and executed effectively, will cause you great excitement, create a more positive impact on revenue from new hires and drive a more profitable margin for your business.

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Step #1: Hire for Will to Sell rather than Can Sell  

Most personality evaluations will tell you if a candidate has the personality traits consistent with successful salespeople. This information will tell you about characteristics like building relationships, being solution orientation, etc. 

What you want to know is their:

  • Desire and commitment to be successful specifically in selling
  • Ownership of outcomes
  • Motivation to succeed (specifically what motivates them)
  • Outlook when things aren’t going well

 

Step #2: Hire those that are big, fast, and strong

In other words, hire for specific sales DNA such as:

  • Ability to Recover from rejection
  • Beliefs about selling that support success in sales
  • Not inhibited by their own need for approval
  • Comfort asking about and discussing money
  • Can overcome their own buying beliefs so that they can execute a milestone centric sales approach

 

Step #3: Always be prospecting 

100% of the time, when I ask if a company is pro-active or re-active in their recruiting, they will tell me re-active. Yes, they go into the market and talk to candidates. But hiring people when they don't need them or hiring people that they can’t afford are not consistent traits. Here are my recommendations:

  • Schedule at least 20% of your time to focus on prospecting new sales candidates
  • Have a system in your organization where key people are responsible for setting prospecting activity goals and asking for introductions to other talented salespeople
  • Report recruiting activity just like you ask your salespeople to report sales activity in huddles or sales meetings

 

Step #4: Eliminate variability in the performance of your recruiting process

Too often, companies with a large footprint allow market executives to sway from the recruiting processes established by Human Resources. Companies assume that the local executive needs to have the flexibility to maximize the recruiting opportunities specific to their area. Which is causing ineffective results. Instead:

  • All job attraction posts must work from the same format
  • The first step is always to evaluate the potential candidate using a sales-specific skills assessment
  • The next step is to do a 5-10 phone interview (unless phone skills are not important)
  • The initial interview must operate like an audition
  • Use scorecards for the assessment, phone interview, and initial interview so that decisions to move forward are objective
  • Provide the next person in the selection process an interview guide with key focus points
  • Make offers to only those candidates that are committed to making a transformational career change
  • Prepare candidates to decide at the time of the offer by eliminating think it overs after you present your offer
  • Confirm with the candidate that they are prepared to go through your 3-to-6-month onboarding process in its entirety. No Exceptions.

 

In the next article, I will go through the steps and provide some more detail about each, and share with you how data can help you select candidates so that you can improve your success rate to 92% and grow your business!

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Topics: cost of hiring mistakes, hiring salespeople, key to successful hiring, sales onboarding, hiring top salespeople

Identifying and Hiring Top Sales Talent

Posted by Alex Cole on Thu, Dec 17, 2020

Finding and hiring great sales talent is difficult. There are many characteristics you must ensure a candidate has in order to be successful with your organization. However, there are a few key attributes you need to look for during the interview process to increase you likelihood of hiring success.

My pup, Rocky, loved to lay on top of pillows. ALL pillows. He didn’t care if they were round, square, flat, cushy, or even sewn on and attached to the back of the couch- he would find a way to lay on them. And though it irritated me to no end, I appreciated his determination. He would do whatever he had to to be on top. He was the epitome of the great sales candidates you should be looking for- except maybe the dog part.  

Rocky Pillows

Great sales candidates will think the same way Rocky did- they have to be on top. They will do whatever it takes to make sure that they are successful. They will find ways to differentiate themselves amongst their peers. The hardest part, however, is being able to spot those great salespeople without wasting a lot of your, or their, time.

A great salesperson should prove to you that they:

  • Can handle themselves well on the phone and won’t get flustered when challenged by a prospect
  • Have a strong will and determination to succeed in their role, with your company, in your selling environment
  • Will ask robust follow-up questions to get the specifics required to properly qualify an opportunity
  • Can close for the next step at the end of the call

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The number one question I ask myself after any interview is this: “Would I like to compete with them in the marketplace?” If the answer is no, strongly consider this individual for a position within your organization. The interviewing process you put candidates through should work to identify these key traits.

What if they don’t have the specific experience you are looking for? Don’t worry! You can train someone on the technical parts of being a banker, relationship manager or insurance rep, but it’s a lot harder to train them to be a great salesperson. 

So, when you are interviewing sales talent, remember Rocky and his never-ending quest for higher, softer ground and his grit to get there. He was the kind of top dog you should look to add to your team.

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Topics: Interviewing, assessing sales talent, upgrade your sales force, hiring top salespeople

What Recruiting in the “New Normal” Looks and Sounds Like

Posted by Kelly Barcelos on Wed, Jul 29, 2020

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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many changes. While some businesses have hit rock bottom, some are thriving and hiring at scale. Businesses in customer care, retail, healthcare, digital marketing, and online training industries are actively hiring because of the new market demands. But unfortunately, recruitment techniques that have been used for years aren’t the same anymore. The need for social distancing has made recruiters and HR professionals work from home, making the shift inevitable. Let’s understand how things have changed.

How has recruitment changed now that COVID-19 is here?

Before the pandemic hit the entire world, recruitment couldn’t be imagined without face-to-face interviews. But considering the criticality of the situation, organizations are adapting to new methods of recruitment to prevent the spread of the virus. Let’s understand how.

Virtual Recruitment: Once a prospective candidate is found, HR professionals are conducting virtual interviews in which the candidates need not visit the corporate office for the interview process. Instead, interviews are happening over video calls.

There are quite a few reliable virtual interview apps that allow scheduling and sending interview invitations, and then interviewing candidates over a video call. Some platforms also allow having virtual job fairs in which several candidates can join a chat room at once and recruiters can get to know them. Moreover, virtual interviews are equally interactive since the HR professional can assess body language, expressions, and gestures, just as they would in an in-person interview.

Candidate Experience: Now that traditional interviews are slowly becoming a thing of the past, HR professionals are going the extra mile to ensure good candidate experience. Here are a few tips that you can also use to deliver good candidate experience if you’re currently hiring:

  • Use consistent content or messaging across all channels to communicate how you’re taking effective measures to ensure the safety of candidates. This will also empower you as a brand.
  • Provide candidate resources that would help them appear in the virtual interview without any hassle. For example, help them get access to the software or give them a simple guide for the interview process.
  • Do not delay interviews hoping that you will soon be able to conduct an in-person interview. Your competitors may take advantage of every minute you lose and it will also have a negative impression on the candidate.
  • Build a landing page to which the candidates can be directed to for answers to questions they may have.

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Applicant Tracking System: Using an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) is one of the most important recruitment techniques if you’re hiring at scale. It will allow you to work remotely and also make sure that you have the “right” candidate. During the pandemic, employers are hiring based on their fluctuating requirements. For example, many are hiring for flexible roles that may change post-pandemic and many are also hiring candidates on a contractual basis. And an ATS will help you screen the applications based exactly on your requirements so that you don’t unnecessarily spend time and resources on irrelevant applications. Moreover, you can also leverage its other benefits, such as:

  • One-click job posting
  • Resumes and applications repository
  • Seamless interview scheduling
  • Automated resume parsing
  • Automated emails and follow-ups
  • Analytics for conversion rate

Remote Onboarding: Remote work has become a new trending order to minimize physical interaction as much as possible. And to ensure safety even further, employees are being onboarded digitally without having to even set foot in the workplace. But this isn’t as easy as it sounds. To make onboarding seamless, you must:

  • Make training is available to new employees so that they can adapt well.
  • Give them some time to absorb all the information.
  • Communicate the organization’s culture to the new employee.

How you onboard a new employee can make a lot of difference since it can make or break the employee experience. Without it, you can’t say that you have made a successful hire.

Avoid common mistakes and form a new recruitment strategy that adapts to the changes as quickly as you can, because how you do it will determine the future of your organization.

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Author Bio:
Kelly Barcelos is a progressive digital marketing manager specializing in HR and is responsible for leading Jobsoid’s content and social media team. When Kelly is not building campaigns, she is busy creating content and preparing PR topics. She started with Jobsoid as a social media strategist and eventually took over the entire digital marketing team with her innovative approach and technical expertise.

Topics: hiring salespeople, key to successful hiring, recruiting sales talent, upgrade your sales force, hiring top salespeople, aquire sales candidates

Why Are My Salespeople Not Perfoming as Expected?

Posted by Tony Cole on Fri, Jun 26, 2020

Why do so many of my salespeople fail to perform as expected?  It's a loaded question.  Or, is it?  In our corporate sales training experience, we've seen that evaluating underperforming salespeople in the pre-hire sales assessment is crucial for success in your business.

From poor diagnosis of the right contributing factors for success, to other candidates being eliminated due to weaknesses rather than hiring on sales STRENGTHS, there are specific reasons that not all of your salespeople are performing the way that you thought they would.

Did you hire them this way or did you make them this way?  Let's take a look...

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If you are a sales leader and you look at your numbers and the people producing those numbers, do you ever scratch your head in confusion over why you are looking at a lack of sales results?

Certainly, you didn’t hire these people to be in the middle of the pack or at the tail end of the conga line, but that is right where they are.  I know you don’t believe you hired them that way, but it’s either that, or you made them that way.

Don’t get upset with me here.  The reality is that your team’s performance is a result of who you’ve hired or what you’ve done (or not done).

So, in general, why do so many salespeople fail to perform? I have detailed answers to that question that you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else besides right here.

  • Underperformers have 80% of the desire of top performers. *Note – not all performers have off-the-chart desire – that is about 7% of all top sales people.
  • Those that underperform have about 44% of the commitment to succeed in selling that top performers do.
  • These two factors combine to measure motivational level. Underperformers have about 60% of the motivation of your top people.

SUMMARY – Underperformers just are not as motivated to succeed.

SOLUTION – STOP hiring people that are not motivated to succeed at the highest level of performance!

Using the Objective Management Sales Evaluation, there are over 100 data points to measure the opportunity for sales growth of a sales team/organization.  Additionally, this data helps us to predict the likelihood of success of new sales people and managers. 

Here are some interesting findings based on the raw data I have from assessing salespeople (as well as firsthand knowledge of some of the people in the study).

  • Top performers are trainable and coachable
  • Top performers have a high figure-it-out factor
  • Top performers have a low need for approval and…
  • Top performers score an average of 86.8 (higher score is better) and underperformers score 39.6 for handling rejection!
  • Top performers are hunters, consultative sellers and closers (average score for skills is 55% of required skills while underperformers average 39.6% of required skills)

SUMMARY  Salespeople – regardless of tenure or previous success - need training and coaching. Also top performers handle rejection extremely well and move on.

SOLUTION  Do not hire based on past performance. (It’s like investing in a mutual fund – past performance is not a guarantee of future returns.)  During the interview process, reject the heck out of the candidate – the strong ones will recover and attempt to close you over and over again!

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The following data indicates that sales strengths are better indicators of success rather than sales skills:

  • Underperformers have 85% of the sales skills of top performers and have…
  • Only 71% of the sales strengths that support execution of sales skills and…
  • The severity of their sales weaknesses are 52% higher than that of top performers

SUMMARY – The skills are about the same, but those with strong strengths of desire, commitment, outlook and responsibility win.

SOLUTION – Make sure your pre-hire assessment process looks for strengths and “will sell” rather than just skills, personality and behavioral traits.

So, back to the original question:   “Why do so many of my salespeople fail to perform as expected?”:

  • Poor diagnosis of the right contributing factors for success
  • Candidates eliminated due to weaknesses rather than hiring for sales strengths
  • Too much credit given to sales skills exhibited during interview process
  • Lack of solid training and development on the root causes of poor performance

Now that you have the answers to the question, what will you do about it?

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Develop Your Sales Pipeline to Increase Sales

Posted by Jack Kasel on Mon, Jun 01, 2020

Sales pipelines are similar to the story of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears. " This one is too fat, this one is too skinny, and the rarest one of all; this one's just right. 

Why does this happen with pipelines and what should leaders be doing about it?  In today's blog, we discuss developing better pipelines to improve your coaching skills, increase sales within your organization, and to build better habits in 2020 and beyond.

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Fat Pipelines

This usually results from the overly optimistic salesperson.  They call on a prospect and come back thinking some iteration of this, “We really hit it off . . . They really liked what we can do . . . We have a LOT in common”. 

Another cause for a fat pipeline is that it feels like comfort food.  Their pipeline has $X amount in it and they feel pretty good about it.  I mean, come on, some of it has to close doesn’t it?  This type of thinking gives them great comfort.  Pipelines need two things:

  • The proper amount given their ability to win business (close ratio)
  • It must be properly staged

Here is where your leadership plays a critical role.  Your skills at asking great questions are absolutely essential.  Tone and tonality are of paramount importance, AND they must be fierce and helpful.  Questions like:

  • What did you hear the customer say that leads you to believe they would be a great customer for us?
  • When you asked them the impact of not fixing this problem, what did they say?
  • Who else in their organization will be impacted if they switch providers?
  • What did they say when you asked about their decision making criteria (not process, criteria, there is a difference)
  • When is the last time they chose a supplier that wasn’t the lowest cost?
  • How much is in their budget to make this problem go away
  • When asked them “How do you envision working with us”, what was their response?
  • How did they choose their current provider?

Never EVER ask, “How’d the call go?” It’s a waste of time.  Be great at asking questions.  By asking great questions, you are coaching your salespeople.  The questions listed above are the type of questions they should be asking the prospect.  Your coaching session is nothing but a sales call.  Be curious and when you coach, simply keep this in mind when meeting with your team, “Am I asking questions or am I making statements?”

Also, by asking great questions to your team, you find out where your people need to be coached.  If you hear your salesperson say, “I didn’t ask that question” during your pipeline discussions, you need to find out if they are unable to ask those questions (they need more sales training) OR if are they unwilling to ask those questions.

Skinny Pipelines

There are two main reasons that a salesperson might have a “skinny pipeline”.  They are getting beat up if something doesn’t close, or their activity isn’t where it needs to be.  My question to you as a leader is, “When a piece of business doesn’t close, what does your lost business conversation sound like?” 

There is no sin in losing a sale, the only sin that occurs is if nothing is learned from it.  Don’t let one loss beat you twice.  A couple of quick questions “What did you learn?” and “How will you get better because of it?” 

The other reason for a skinny pipeline is activity.  What are you measuring, how frequently are you measuring it (you need to measure weekly), and are you allowing excuses for poor effort?  Salespeople fail for two reasons:  Lack of Effort and/or Lack of Execution.  You need to know which it is. 

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Just Right Pipelines

These types of pipelines are the rarest of all because they require the salesperson and manager to have a great and open relationship, while staying committed to their sales process and understanding the metrics needed to win business.  For the salesperson, they need to understand what is their late-stage (close in 30 days) win ratio?  If their late-stage win ratio is 50% and their monthly goal is $100,000, they need to have a minimum of $200,000 in late-stage opportunity each month.   

The only reason a “Just Right” pipeline is possible because the salesperson is finding opportunities all-the-time.  They understand prospecting is an all-the-time thing.  They are constantly making calls, asking for introductions, and networking.  

It’s healthy to have a pipeline “flush” on a regular basis.  An opportunity moves through the pipeline or moves out of the pipeline on a regular basis.  If a salesperson wants to cling to an opportunity, and want to defend keeping it their pipeline, is probably because they have nothing else to take its place.   Coach them, encourage them, challenge them.

 

Topics: sales force development, Sales Coaching, hiring better salespeople, hiring top salespeople, consultative selling, banking sales training, consultative sales coaching, corporate sales training, sales force performance management, sales training courses, insurance sales training, 5 keys to sales coaching, sales force performance evaluation, consultative sales coaching cincinnati, consultative selling cincinnati, banking sales training cincinnati, corporate sales training cincinnati, sales coaching cincinnati, sales management training cincinnati, sales productivity tools cincinnati, sales training programs cincinnati, sales training workshops cincinnati, train the trainer cincinnati, hiring sales people cincinnati, increase sales cincinnati, professional sales training cincinnati, sales candidate assessment cincinnati, sales effectiveness training cincinnati, sales force performance evaluation cincinnati, sales performance management cincinnati, sales training cincinnati, sales training courses cincinnati, sales training seminars cincinnati

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    About our Blog

    Founder and CLO Tony Cole has been working with financial firms for more than 25 years to help them close their sales opportunity gap.  He is a master at using science based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss his weekly sales management blog insights.

     

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