Whether your star salesperson has left the company unexpectedly or you are launching a new product or service and need to boost sales quickly, rushing to hire a new salesperson almost always ends up being an expensive mistake.
If you have dealt with the hiring process before, you know how easy it is to fall into the trap of hiring a candidate who seems talented and energetic but ends up woefully underperforming.
Every time this happens, you are back to scrambling to find a replacement and wondering how you can make better hiring decisions in the future.
However, chances are there is not just one or two things you could be doing differently to break this cycle ‒ your hiring process is in need of a complete overhaul.
Ready to learn how?
Keep reading to discover the research-backed method sales managers use to identify and hire top performers. Once you start implementing the strategies outlined here, you will see a drastic difference in the quality of sales candidates you interview and the salespeople you end up hiring.
How to Quickly Hire Top Sales Talent for Your Business
Write an effective job ad
When your sales job ad is ineffective, you will attract less than ideal salespeople to your business – no matter how fantastic the job opportunity is. That is why you must take the time to position your company and the job opportunity correctly in your ad. Here are a few tips to help you create an effective job ad:
- Accurately describe position requirements – Mention exactly what will be expected of the salesperson you hire. By doing this, you will set the proper expectations and attract salespeople who are qualified to work for you.
- Look for culture fit – Hiring for culture fit is important because someone who is a poor culture fit is likely to become demotivated and look for a sales position elsewhere, leaving you to deal with the high costs associated with employee turnover.
- Avoid overselling company benefits – The last thing you want is for a new hire to end up frustrated and resentful because she did not receive the benefits she was promised in your job ad. So, make sure you are 100% honest about what it is like to work at your company and what benefits your employees receive.
Also, write your job ad in a way that entices high-performing salespeople to send you their application. That means leaving out unnecessary jargon and speaking directly to a salesperson’s wants and needs.
For example, to hook the reader, you might open your job ad with something like, “Are you tired of working at a company with an unimpressive commission structure and bad leads?” Then, you could talk about how you give your salespeople great leads and the ability to earn great commission (only if that is actually true, of course!).
Use an assessment prior to interviewing
As a sales manager, you must handle many tasks in the sales department every day. So, you need to avoid wasting any of your valuable time interviewing candidates who do not have the potential to achieve top sales results.
The best way to do that is to administer The DriveTest™. This sales assessment will help you ensure that only high-potential candidates reach the interview stage, because it assesses for Drive, the #1 indicator that someone is equipped to sell at a high level. On top of that, it uses a consistency scale that allows you to weed out candidates who attempt to fake their answers.
Drive is made up of these 3 non-teachable traits that research shows all successful “Hunter” salespeople share:
- Need for Achievement – The focused desire to reach excellence and meet challenging goals
- Competitiveness – The desire to outperform one’s peers and win customers over
- Optimism – Undeniable resiliency and certainty that allows a salesperson to withstand the inevitable rejections associated with selling
If a sales candidate does not possess these traits, she does not have the personality makeup necessary to achieve success as a “Hunter” salesperson. On the other hand, if the candidate does possess these traits, you should bring her in for a behavioral interview.
Conduct a behavioral interview
All too often, sales managers make common interviewing mistakes, including:
- Allowing the conversation to shift to mostly small talk (or a “BS session”)
- Overusing questions about unrelated hypothetical situations
- Falling for a candidate who simply “sells” her abilities during the interview
- Hiring someone based on your own personality preferences alone
- Settling for a warm body to fill the position quickly, as opposed to holding out for a high-performing salesperson
To combat these mistakes and help ensure you can hire a high-performing salesperson every time, you must conduct a behavioral interview – more specifically, conduct The Drive Interview™ after administering The DriveTest™ and weeding out candidates who are not Driven.
The Drive Interview™
The Drive Interview™ is a recommended two-hour interview developed by a behavioral psychologist.
The Drive Interview™ guidelines equip you with the necessary questions to ask and follow up questions to dive deeper into the candidate’s responses to identify top-performing salespeople for your business. The success rate of this interview style has consistently been better than 90 percent, so you can feel confident that it will work for your business.
Here is what the Drive Interview process entails:
- First 5-10 minutes: The interviewer makes small talk with the candidate to establish rapport and create a relaxed environment.
- Next 15 minutes: The interviewer and the candidate discuss career history. The interviewer also finds out why the candidate accepted/left each previous job.
- Next 90 minutes: The interviewer asks experience and aptitude questions. These questions are directly related to what is required for success in your sales position.
Here are some examples of questions asked during The Drive Interview™:
- What kinds of sacrifices have you had to make to become successful? This question will help you uncover whether or not the candidate possesses a Need for Achievement by prompting her to describe past sacrifices she has made to excel at work.
- What was the most fun you ever had winning a customer over? This question will help you uncover Competitiveness by prompting the candidate to describe how much she enjoys the challenge of winning customers over.
- Think back to a time you lost a deal. What did you do to recover? If the candidate describes herself putting the situation in perspective and quickly bouncing back from failure by working on another sale, you can feel confident knowing that she is Optimistic.
As you can see, these questions are asked to help the interviewer determine whether or not the sales candidate possesses the 3 non-teachable traits that make up Drive.
Once you collect the necessary data to assess Drive, other required skills for your sales position and determine if the candidate is a good culture fit for you company, you can make an informed decision about who to hire and avoid adding low-performing salespeople to your team.
Only hire high-Drive salespeople
No matter what you do, it is critical for you to determine whether or not candidates are Driven before you even bring them in for an interview.
If you fail to do so, you will be unable to pinpoint sales candidates who genuinely have the potential to generate a large amount of revenue for your company.
Remember: If you are looking for a candidate who can hit the ground running and produce from day one, look for a candidate with Drive and industry experience.
If you have time to train the candidate on your specific industry and sales process, Drive is the only thing necessary. Most everything else can be taught.