Hiring talented salespeople is never an easy process. You are looking for superstars who not only make sales, but build enduring relationships and stick around for the long-term.
As a Sales Manager, how can you hire the very best salespeople?
Here are four tried-and-true sales hiring best practices to keep in mind throughout the process.
4 Sales Hiring Best Practices
1. Never Stop Hiring
For a company looking to grow, the ability to scale when a truly great hire comes along is one of the key sales hiring best practices.
Stay engaged in the interviewing and hiring process throughout the year, even if your company does not have any openings at the moment.
The most talented salespeople will always be in great demand, with multiple companies competing to hire them. When you come across someone who is truly outstanding, always stand ready to make it official and hire them.
Because onboarding a new salesperson is a financial investment, one of the key sales hiring best practices is to leave room in your budget for the possibility that you might temporarily have a few more salespeople on staff than you initially planned for.
Even if your organization provides an outstanding work environment, some amount of turnover is inevitable. It can happen anytime. If you held back on hiring someone great, they are unlikely to still be available when you suddenly have an opening.
In the end, year-round hiring saves you time. You will avoid rushing to complete interviews when there is a sudden opening and risk hiring a poor fit.
2. Create a Highly-Specific Job Description
Have you heard the adage that if you hire someone who is good at selling, they can successfully sell anything?
This piece of wisdom no longer holds up. These days, good salespeople are much more specialized. The most successful companies hire people whose previous experience overlaps with what they will be selling once they are hired.
Today’s powerhouse salespeople are also comfortable with the latest technologies for selling. They know how to use technology stacks and manage pipelines without handholding. Buyer profiles? Not a problem. They understand how to gather all the necessary information to target the right prospects.
Meanwhile, customers have gotten smarter as well. They expect to work with and build relationships with salespeople who are genuine, comfortable with every aspect of the process and really know their stuff.
One of the most important sales hiring best practices is to get very detailed with your job description. This means defining the position before you start recruiting or interviewing.
You will need to:
- Specify what the person will be selling, including details like products or services, and dollar value.
- Make clear whether the position is B2C sales or B2B sales.
- Any factors that might impact the day-to-day nature of the job.
While a rockstar sales professional might be able to transition their skills to suit any sales position, that transition process might take time.
Looking for someone to hit the ground running?
Finding someone who already has experience selling a similar product or service in a similar job environment takes away most of the learning curve and provides much quicker results.
3. Focus on the A-Players Before the Interview Even Begins
When hiring talented salespeople, you must first determine if they have the personality traits needed to be successful in sales. Your candidates either have these traits or they do not by adulthood. And by their very nature, these traits can be difficult to identify.
However, more than 80 years of research reveals the single most-important factor in predicting success in sales is Drive. A drive is the deep sense of inner determination that allows the most talented salespeople to never give up. Drive is made up of three core personality traits: Need for Achievement, Competitiveness, and Optimism.
Taking stock of Drive and other must-have skills before the interview helps you uncover your candidates’ true potential from the very beginning.
Beyond Drive, research also shows that there are also some other teachable skills that impact sales performance. These important sales skills are:
- Ability to establish and maintain relationships
When you identify these traits and skills before the interview, you will be free to spend your time on only high-potential candidates. (Learn how to identify these essential skills early in the hiring process.)
4. Showcase Your Company as an Employer of Choice
Top-performing salespeople are very choosy when it comes to deciding who they work for. They can afford to be! They have the luxury of working for their company of choice because they are the very best at what they do.
Attract the most-talented salespeople by making the most of your company’s:
- When you recruit and hire the best, your company will become known for attracting salespeople at the top of their game.
- Online presence. This is likely the first place a potential candidate will learn about your organization. Keep your company’s website looking professional and up-to-date.
- Does your office look and feel like an environment where success is celebrated and top performance is expected? This can be highly subjective of course, but today’ sales hiring best practices require you to give this some thought.
- When you are speaking with candidates, feel free to drop the name of any high-profile customers you have done business with. Do not hold back when it comes to demonstrating your company’s success-filled culture and the value it places on customer relationships.
Top sales talent is in high demand. Many industries need sales superstars who can build strong relationships with clients, identify customers’ pain points and struggles and solve them by pitching their company’s product or service.
It is not always easy, but by using the sales hiring best practices discussed above, you will be well-equipped to find salespeople with the skills necessary to take your company to the next level and beyond.
Where should you begin? Discover whether your potential hires possess the essential traits for success before you even schedule an interview right here.