Sales is an incredibly unique career path. The job of a salesperson, after all, is to bring value to a company by convincing customers to spend their money on something they might not even want at first.
As a Sales Manager, you know not just anyone can do this job. Hiring the very best salespeople for your organization is essential, and always requires thinking outside the box.
When you do find the right candidate, you can have a loyal employee for life, and all the time and resources it took to get there will be worth it.
To make this happen, you have to tune out the many sales hiring myths that continue to circulate as “best hiring practices” out there today. Following these myths can lead you to make the wrong hiring decision.
Here are five of the most enduring sales hiring myths, and the most important truths to remember instead.
Sales Hiring Myth #1: Candidates are most concerned about compensation.
The truth: Salespeople choose their jobs based on growth opportunity.
While it varies between organizations, generally sales base salaries tend to be similar throughout the company, regardless of years with the company or title. Especially once taxes are taken out, base compensation is not usually enough to be the deciding factor for sales candidates.
Instead, present a well-defined path for growth to your prospective sales hires.
By doing so, your candidates should be able to easily envision the career they could create at your company based on defined milestones and measurable goals. The hardest workers among your candidates will be up for the challenge.
Sales Hiring Myth #2: Perspective sales hires are looking for plenty of perks.
The truth: The salespeople worth hiring care much more about their potential account territory and meaningful training opportunities your company can provide.
You likely would not want to hire a salesperson who is drawn in by surface-level perks like organic snacks in the kitchen or a ping pong table in the break room.
Because sales can be such a challenging career, the ones who really excel will not be spending time in your organization’s game room, for example. They will be out making sales!
During the structured interview, emphasize the opportunities for your salespeople to receive high-quality sales training, and share with them what their account territory might look like in terms of potential. This will help you weed out the sales reps who are overly-concerned with perks, which actually signals misplaced priorities and a poor fit for your company.
Sales Hiring Myth #3: Your company’s “great culture” is a key selling point for potential sales hires.
The truth: Emphasize your organization’s dedication to recognition and mentorship opportunities.
In reality, sales teams are often working separately and dealing with their own deliverables.
Your highest-quality candidates will not be drawn to vague promises of the “great culture” at your company.
A supportive environment that rewards top performers and provides mentoring opportunities for salespeople to learn and grow from, however, is likely to resonate with them.
Salespeople choose this career path because they are competitive self-starters. They want to be surrounded by the best of the best. Make sure they understand your company is the perfect environment for that.
Sales Hiring Myth #4: The more experienced salespeople are not trainable, so stick with a younger demographic when hiring.
The truth: Anyone you hire can be difficult to train – if they are the wrong person for the job.
The conventional wisdom is that senior salespeople can be set in their ways and can be resistant to coaching and training.
Sometimes, this is absolutely true, but this is also sometimes the case with recent college graduates if they are not genetically built for sales.
Instead, think of the personality traits you want (and would not want) in a salesperson, and screen for those instead.
If a salesperson does not have the personality traits needed for sales, no amount of training will improve their performance.
Sales Hiring Myth #5: To avoid making a regrettable hiring decision, go with your gut.
The truth: Use an objective assessment based on data and non-teachable characteristics.
The truth is, nearly every candidate you interview will be on their very best behavior and are likely aware of what you want to hear. This does not necessarily mean they are being dishonest, only that it is natural for people to show the best parts of their personalities when being evaluated.
However, successful sales careers have been linked to one critical personality trait: Drive.
Drive is made up of three non-teachable personality characteristics: Need for Achievement, Competitiveness and Optimism.
While knowing this information is helpful, how can you tell for sure if a potential salesperson possesses this make-or-break personality trait? How can you avoid wasting time interviewing, let alone hiring, people who do not have this deep sense of inner drive?
Instead of going with a gut feeling upon meeting potential candidates, use a forced-Choice personality assessment.
The DriveTest® is the simple way to identify whether your potential salespeople are Driven – before you even schedule the interview. The DriveTest® also measures key teachable skills that are essential for a successful sales career, including confidence, persuasiveness, relationship skills and organization.
Your potential salespeople either have these traits or they do not, so screening for them prior to the interview will save you precious time and resources.
The world is overflowing with mediocre salespeople, and the truly great ones are rare.
Finding the standout salespeople can be difficult, but at the end of the day you cannot afford to hire the wrong person.
The costs of making an unwise hiring decision can often include damage to your company’s reputation, lost opportunities, the considerable expense of training and replacing a bad hire, as well as unnecessary stress.
Keep these five truths in mind for your next round of hiring, and watch as your highly successful salespeople take your company to new heights.