Featured Post by Dr. Christopher Croner
Have you ever noticed how Fortune 500 companies always seem to attract the best sales talent?
Clearly, they have the recruiting and interviewing process thoroughly mapped out because of the way they consistently create high-performing sales teams.
Now, you may be wondering:
How can I use the same process as Fortune 500 companies to create a high-performing sales team at my own company?
If that is the case, keep reading. Today, I am going to discuss the process Fortune 500 companies use so you can start finding and hiring the best sales talent.
How to Create High-Performing Sales Teams
Pinpoint the necessary personality traits.
Do you know what personality traits make a top sales performer?
Most sales managers trust their “gut” or intuition to tell them whom to hire. After working with major businesses like FranklinCovey, AlliedBarton Security and ZipRecruiter, I can tell you that is often the #1 way to hire the WRONG salesperson for your business.
Fortune 500 companies have learned to trust scientific indicators that help them identify high performing salespeople.
They believe the top performing salespeople are born not taught. Here are some of the personality traits they look for:
- Need for Achievement
They are motivated by a need to achieve outstanding results, and they are willing to do virtually whatever it takes to succeed.
When it comes to “the hunt,” great salespeople have the ability to track and capture their prey with the focus and patience of a big cat.
Achievement-oriented salespeople are never satisfied. They can never sell enough products, never make enough money. They are insatiable, setting the bar higher and higher, for themselves and, happily, for you.
They love to compete with themselves, their colleagues and with their customers. Winning the customer over to their point of view is a contest of wills that they love to play.
Driven salespeople are hardwired to be number one. They are out to win. They are born to win.
They are optimistic, that is, they are certain of their ability to win.
Optimism provides the body armor to withstand the inevitable rejection of the selling life. They are certain the next sale will be a win.
In an interesting psychological paradox, optimistic salespeople credit themselves for success but do not take defeat personally.
The bad news is… these traits can easily be faked.
Click here to discover if your salespeople are born to sell and identify the fakers from the true sales hunters.
Attract the best salespeople.
If you really want to build a high-performing sales team, you cannot just throw a sales job ad together and expect amazing responses. You will need to take a more strategic approach.
Here are a few ways to attract top salespeople to your company:
- The job ad is most important. Most companies make the mistake of not spending enough time to write a well-crafted job ad that attracts the right candidates. I have seen many companies copy poorly written ads from other companies to create their own. Fortune 500 companies approach this important strategy completely differently. They write their ads around the personality traits that they know top salespeople are made of.Here is an example for “Competitiveness”:We are looking for a salesperson who thrives on competition. At ABC Company, we reward our top salesperson of the month with a variety of bonuses and rewards in addition to their sales commission. Someone who is competitive will love the sound of this because she always strives to be #1 and will want to prove she is the best in your company. Someone who is not competitive (or afraid of competition), will shy away from applying to your ad because being #1 is not very important to her.
- Find candidates on LinkedIn and reach out to them. This way, you can hand pick the people you choose to interview based on their experience and online presence. You may need to upgrade your LinkedIn account, but it is worth it.Do not be afraid to reach out to salespeople who are currently employed. They are employed for a reason. Your company may be able to offer them a better compensation package and company culture. This is a great way to cut down on time wasted interviewing unqualified candidates.
- Use the right job sites. Websites like Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, Indeed.com and ZipRecruiter.com are all great resources in reaching a variety of prospective candidates.
- Ask your network for referrals. You never know – one of your colleagues may be able to recommend someone who would be a perfect fit for your sales team!
- Re-evaluate your compensation package. What are your competitors paying? Where do you fall in comparison to them? I have seen companies pay 10% more than the top rate of their competitors just to attract top salespeople. Does 10% more matter if your salespeople produce 60% more in sales?
Of course, a big part of attracting the right candidates is actually offering a great place to work. If morale is low among your current salespeople, you may need to work on improving your company culture before you can confidently bring on high-potential salespeople.
Use the right sales interview process.
I get it – the sales interview process can be time-consuming and frustrating for busy sales directors and managers.
However, it is crucial for you to take your time and approach interviewing strategically if you want to build a high-performing sales team. Here are a few tips to make it easier:
- Use a phone interview to pre-qualify candidates. This will help you to further weed out unqualified candidates and focus your in-person interview time on candidates who are likely to succeed in sales at your company. This is a great time to ask them what they are looking for in a company, benefit expectations and more.
- Do not waste time on unqualified candidates. Along with submitting their resume, have applicants complete a sales assessment test that is proven to identify the key personality traits that make up a top salesperson.
- Ask questions that help you verify the sales assessment test results. Exclude common, but ineffective, interview questions in favor of more unusual behavioral interview questions that help you discover what you need to know about a candidate. For example, you could ask a candidate to explain the last time she was competitive. Watch the candidate’s response to see how she describes the story. How important was it for her to win? If she lost, did she work twice as hard to win the next time? Look for that “hunger” to be #1.
- Avoid being swayed by a charismatic candidate. Just because someone is outgoing and charismatic does not mean she is capable of selling at a high level, so avoid letting your personal preferences get in the way of good hiring decisions. To help with this, you may want to bring in another person to evaluate the salesperson during the interview process.
Once you have created a sales interview process that produces good results, be consistent with it but remain open to making changes that can further improve the process. That way, you are always using the best possible methods to recruit top sales talent.
Also, make sure you always hire for traits over experience. After all, you can teach a naturally talented salesperson about your products and services, but you cannot teach an experienced but ineffective salesperson how to change their inherent personality traits in a way that allows for better sales results.
Administer a sales personality test.
Have you ever felt the frustration of hiring a seemingly qualified salesperson, only to find out later that she is unable to achieve top sales results?
This is a common problem among sales directors and managers.
Utilize a sales personality test to take the guesswork out of the hiring process and confidently pick the best salespeople for your team based on research and real data.
An effective test will help you uncover the candidates who possess the non-teachable personality traits that are necessary for achieving the best sales results.
Even Fortune 500 company Verizon Digital Media Services uses a sales personality test, which saves them an enormous amount of time and money they might have otherwise spent interviewing or hiring low-performing candidates.
So, if you want to hire like a Fortune 500 company, you need to use a sales personality test – it is the secret weapon that they use to hire high-performing salespeople every time.
Use the data you have gathered to make an informed decision.
Once you have administered your sales personality test to each candidate and interviewed several qualified candidates, you should have all the information you need to consistently make good hiring decisions.
Start using the process outlined in this post, and you should be well-equipped to build a high-performing sales team that can generate substantial revenue for your business – just like the Fortune 500.