As a sales manager, you know that building a strong sales team is critical to the success of your business. After all, salespeople are crucial to generating the revenue that keeps your company running, so every sales hiring decision you make should be handled with care.
Now, you may be wondering:
How can I avoid costly bad hires and quickly build a team of high-performing salespeople?
And here is the text version…
How to Build a High-Performing Sales Team Fast
Outline your standards.
If you already have a high-performing salesperson at your company who is also a good culture fit, consider his personality traits. You can look for those same traits in new hires to help make your hiring decisions easier.
You should also make a list of the job requirements and your expectations for new salespeople. For example, you may only want to hire people who have experience selling in the tech industry, or you may only want to hire people who have a proven track record of producing impressive sales results.
However, be careful not to create too many restrictions, or you may unintentionally weed out candidates who have the potential to achieve top sales results for your company with a bit of training on industry and product knowledge. You should focus more on a candidate’s personality traits than anything else when making hiring decisions, which we will discuss in detail later in this post.
Create an effective job ad.
Generic job ads will attract generic sales reps. Your company needs a job ad that is specifically designed to attract high-performing salespeople.
While it may be tempting to simply describe the job role in your ad, you need to put more effort and details into it than that if you really want to attract the right people to your business.
Here are a few pointers that will help you create an effective job ad that targets your ideal sales candidates:
- Avoid jargon and complex language. Instead, write the ad conversationally and sell the position in a way that will make your ideal candidates picture your company as a great place to work. However, make sure you do not exaggerate the job opportunity – it is important to set the right expectations so your candidates understand what the sales role entails.
- Consider using a job role title other than “salesperson.” Sales jobs were ranked as the fourth hardest jobs to fill in 2015, and a lot of that has to do with the negative stigma that traditionally surrounds the term “salespeople.” To overcome that problem, you can use a term like “account manager” or “business development specialist” to describe the open position at your company and get in front of a new audience.
- Approach your “requirements” section strategically. For example, since personality traits – not years of experience – predict sales success, you may not want to disqualify potential salespeople just because they do not have a specific amount of experience.
If you would prefer to hand pick you applicants as opposed to creating an ad, perform a LinkedIn search and pinpoint salespeople who are qualified for your open position. Then, send them a message asking if they would be interested in applying for the position.
Reach out to your network.
Once you know what kind of salesperson you are looking for, reach out to your network to see if anyone can recommend a candidate who may be a good fit.
Tell your family members, friends and colleagues about the open sales positions at your business, and let them know what you are looking for in a salesperson. When you receive a great recommendation, contact the candidate and ask him to take an objective sales assessment to determine whether or not he is a good fit for your open sales position and whether or not he is truly Driven to succeed in sales.
Hire for personality traits over experience.
As mentioned prior, do not make the mistake of hiring new salespeople based on their resume and experience alone.
It is much more important that your salespeople possess the one attribute that indicates they will excel at selling your products: Drive.
Drive is made up of these 3 non-teachable personality traits:
- Need for Achievement – A consistent desire to reach excellence and meet challenging goals
- Competitiveness – A need to outperform one’s peers and win customers over
- Optimism – An undeniable sense of certainty and resiliency
Now, you may be wondering how you can definitively determine whether or not the candidate possesses these traits. After all, it can be hard to uncover a candidate’s true personality from an interview alone.
The good news is that there is a proven, objective assessment you can use to take the guesswork out of the sales hiring process – The DriveTest™.
The DriveTest™ is a sales personality test specifically created to help sales managers make good hiring decisions. This assessment is effective because it is science-based and uses a Consistency Scale, which detects and warns you if a candidate is faking his answers on the test. It is the only way to confidently measure whether a candidate possesses the Drive necessary to consistently achieve top sales results.
So if you want to feel more confident in every sales hiring decision you make and avoid serious financial blows due to underperforming salespeople, consider administering The DriveTest™ to every candidate prior to the initial phone interview. This will help you better screen your candidates by identifying those that have the potential to be true sales producers and eliminating time and money wasted on interviewing unqualified candidates.
Check for culture fit during the interview.
Your sales personality test will need to be paired with a solid behavioral interview in order for you to hire candidates who can sell and are a good culture fit for your company. After all, if you hire someone who is a poor culture fit, he will likely become demotivated and look for a different job in an environment that is more suited to his preferences.
Here are a few ways to determine whether a candidate is a good culture fit for your company:
- Ask him to describe his ideal work environment. If he describes something similar to your sales department, there is a good chance he will fit right in.
- Ask him to talk about his hobbies. The way a person spends their free time says a lot about their values and personality, so it is a great way to determine if he will be a good culture fit.
- Ask him which personality traits he tends to dislike in others. If he mentions traits that are common among members of your sales team, you should approach hiring him with caution. The last thing you want is a new salesperson who creates a toxic environment because he cannot get along with anyone else in the department.
Of course, you will want to come up with your own additional questions based on your specific company values. Think about the qualities you are looking for in a salesperson, and ask questions that will help you uncover whether the candidate possesses those qualities.
Be consistent with your hiring process.
Once you have begun administering a sales personality test and using an improved behavioral interview that consistently allows you to identify high-performing salespeople, stick with it. As a busy sales manager, you may be tempted to skip over some steps in the process, but you should avoid doing so since your sales hires have such a big impact on how much revenue your company brings in.
That being said, do not be afraid to make strategic improvements when necessary. Just make sure you are not leaving out steps due to time-constraints or changing your process so frequently that it becomes difficult to execute.