As a Sales Manager, you already know that hiring the very best salespeople is crucial. You simply cannot afford to risk hiring underperformers.
But hiring a great salesperson is often easier said than done.
What do the managers who routinely hire superstars know that others do not?
Here are 7 Tips for Hiring a Great Salesperson:
1. Analyze and Determine Exact Staffing Needs Before You Start the Hiring Process
How many new salespeople do you need?
Your answer should depend on key factors like:
- Sales growth targets
- Strategies for distribution
- Any changes in the sales force organization
- Your company’s turnover rate
- And more
Creating a hiring profile of the ideal candidate can make it much easier to spot what you are looking for and help you hire a great salesperson. It helps you identify the skills and traits needed for an ideal sales rep, then helps you seek that person out. It is actually quite similar to the way your company pursues specific customers that would most benefit from your products.
2. Make Sure Your Organization’s Recruiting Strategies Reflect Its Core Values
Did you know the primary cause of poor performance and large turnover is a poor cultural fit with the company?
It is also among the top considerations job seekers mull over before they accept an offer.
Your number one priority in the hiring process should be to determine whether the prospective rep is a good match with the company culture.
When you align your company’s recruiting strategies with its values, it helps you attract and ultimately hire a great salesperson who fits in with the company.
3. Clearly Describe What You Expect of Your Salespeople
A documented description of exactly how the job is performed, and the responsibilities it entails, is an essential part of the hiring process.
The best way to create this job analysis?
Interview management and studying the strengths of your standout salespeople. You should also observe for yourself what the job requires on a day-to-day basis.
To get a head start on creating a clear job description, make sure you answer these questions:
- Who will the new hire(s) report to?
- How should they interact with other staff?
- Is there an established like of customers they should contact?
- What are the specific tasks of the job?
- What type of products will they be selling?
4. Do Not Focus Too Much on A Potential Hire’s Experience in Your Specific Industry
In-depth knowledge of the products being sold is usually not necessary to be successful. Too many companies make the mistake of not considering otherwise-talented salespeople who lack hyper-specific experience in their particular industry. This is a common way to miss out on hiring a great salesperson.
While some knowledge of your industry can certainly be helpful, a talented salesperson will figure out the key information necessary to sell your product or service. They will soon master everything they need to know to make the sale.
5. Remember That Base Salary Counts for a Lot
Ideally, you will hire a great salesperson who is motivated by your company’s commission structure.
If your organization has a set structure that is going to stay in place for the foreseeable future, only hire sales reps who are accustomed to selling under that type of structure.
Today’s compensation trends are ever-changing. A recent Glassdoor study found that the most important element of a salesperson’s compensation plan is their base salary, not the commission. Be sure to use data and survey tools to help ensure the base salary you are offering is competitive.
6. Clearly List Job Qualifications
Take stock of the aptitudes, skills, knowledge and personal traits a new hire will need to have to perform the new job successfully.
More than 80+ years of research unequivocally shows that the most important factor for sales success is a person’s Drive, the innate passion and determination that causes top-producing salespeople to be relentless in their quest for success.
Drive is comprised of three non-teachable traits:
- Need for Achievement: The intense desire to attain excellence and accomplish challenging goals.
- Competitiveness: The unquenchable thirst to outperform one’s peers and win the customer over to their point of view.
- Optimism: An undeniable sense of certainty and resiliency.
7. Think Beyond the Interview
After you have thought through the traits to keep an eye out for as you set out to hire a great salesperson, conventional wisdom might say it is now time for the interview.
Not so fast!
Although the interviewing process is still considered the gold standard in getting a better overall picture of the candidate, there is actually a very low correlation between a successful interview and doing well in the actual job.
A sales hiring assessment like The DriveTest® helps you identify whether your sales candidates actually possess Drive (mentioned in #6, above), the most critical personality trait needed for success in sales.
Identifying Drive prior to the interview gives you the freedom to spend your time on only high-potential candidates, and can help you ultimately hire a great salesperson.
When you screen for Drive prior to interviewing, you will save time and money while accurately assess your candidates’ true potential.
Hiring A Great Salesperson Can Make or Break Your Company
Your sales reps are nothing less than the face of your business for each and every prospect. Even in the age of first researching companies and people online, the initial sales contact is the first tangible impression people will have of your organization.
With the average annual turnover in sales around 25%, recruiting must always be at the forefront of your mind as a Sales Manager. After all, if you currently have 10 sales reps, you are most likely going to lose two of them within a year. Studies also show it takes between six and nine months to get a sales rep fully onboard and actually selling to their full potential.
The stakes are certainly high, and with these 7 tips, you will maximize the return on your investment and ultimately end up hiring a great salesperson.
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