November 14, 2013

iStock_000017656823XSmallSales managers are often looking for new salespeople who are ready to hit the ground running and start selling as soon as possible. So, of course, they test and interview for candidates high in Drive. However, since they know that Drive is essential for success as a “hunter” salesperson, some managers figure they can get away with hiring candidates high in Drive but low on experience, and then throw them to the wolves on day one. This is a critical mistake and a recipe for trouble down the road.

To be sure, a new “hunter” salesperson must be high in all three elements of Drive (Need for Achievement, Competitiveness and Optimism) to succeed. However, when we also expect the candidate to begin producing quickly, we need to make sure we are also vetting for sales experience. Failing to do so does a disservice to us and the salesperson. Without experience selling to your audience and understanding the essential steps of your sales cycle, the new salesperson will simply not know how to get started. Of course, a new high-Drive salesperson desperately wants to do well . . . but typically ends up flailing in this situation.

Some companies will just chalk this situation up to churn, fire the salesperson after a few weeks, and start the process over again, setting up another cycle of disappointment. The key to avoiding this pattern is finding candidates who have both the Drive to succeed and the sales experience necessary to hit the ground running. Looking for these Driven, experienced candidates will add time to the recruiting process, but will pay dividends in improving production and reducing turnover down the road.

If you’re not testing sales candidates already, please visit our website for more information about our sales assessment platform. It will change the way you think about hiring salespeople forever.

Dr. Christopher Croner and Richard Abraham are authors of Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again and developers of the proprietary and patented sales test, The DriveTest™, for sales candidates. For more information, click here.