Today, we’re diving deeper into what ultimately drives your sales motion – your PEOPLE. The people most responsible for the success of your sales organization are your sales managers and sales leaders. And of even greater importance is their ability to find, recruit and hire top-performing salespeople. As you’re probably aware, B and C players can destroy companies from within. If they’re allowed to infiltrate and fester inside your organization, it will cause damage that may be irreparable.
One of the many mistakes hiring managers continue to make is using their “gut” during the hiring process. Steve Jobs former employees recounted him constantly saying to their team, “A players attract A players. B players attract C players.” Another crucial mistake is giving value to what’s on a resume, which in most cases has no predictive validity to a candidate’s future success at your company. And lastly, some hiring managers rely on the recommendation of others, as if that’s some foolproof guarantee of future sales success!
Many of our clients have shared stories of the “can’t miss” hire who was a superstar with their competitor but turned into a complete dud when they came over. That happens more than you think because that salesperson thrived in THEIR system, under THEIR leadership, with THEIR sales process and THEIR culture. In no way, shape, or form could you or would you ever expect that somehow thriving in someone else’s business ecosystem would automatically lead to success in yours.
The truth may be hard to swallow, but the stakes in today’s war for talent are too high to keep making these hiring mistakes. Just one bad sales hire costs the average company more than $1M, not to mention how they may destroy your culture, damage your brand, cost you relationships, and cause other employees to leave. Hiring bad salespeople, even if only one, can set your company back for a decade.
So, how do you reduce the chances of making a bad sales hire?
Follow these three steps with intention, consistency, and proficiency, and your hiring success will improve dramatically:
- Use a predictively valid, sales-specific assessment like The Sales DNA Test.
- Utilize behavioral & technical-based interview techniques.
- Define and implement the culture you desire and ensure the candidate fits.
1. Use a predictively valid, sales-specific assessment (The Sales DNA Test).
The problem with most assessments is they’re purely personality-driven, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all “selling” personality. The myth that all successful salespeople must have a charismatic, outgoing, extroverted personality is simply that—a myth. Science shows us that the most successful salespeople are between extroverts and introverts, meaning they have both characteristics. They can be affable, likable, and outgoing, but at the same time, they’re also careful, thoughtful, and analytical. After decades of research, the scientific consensus shows that in no way do behavioral or personality-based assessments accurately and consistently predict sales performance.
Are they helpful tools to better understand the communication style of a candidate? Sure, but that’s not what matters! Every company wants the answer to this question: “Will this candidate be a top sales performer in my business?” The Sales DNA Test can provide that answer for you.
More than two million sales professionals have taken The Sales DNA Test over the past 33 years, and it’s 92% predictively valid when used in hiring.
Below we linked two different examples of Sales DNA Test Results:
Which candidate would you rather hire? A personality assessment can’t tell you this.
2. Utilize Behavioral & Technical-Based Interview Techniques
The ultimate reason to utilize behavioral and technical-based interview techniques is to determine competencies and situational proficiencies based on prior experience.
A few examples when interviewing salespeople are as follows:
“From start to finish, walk me through the largest deal you’ve ever closed. Who was it with? What was the total value of the deal? How long did it take? Who was involved in the decision? What major challenges did you overcome? What lessons did you learn?”
“Describe the last plan you created to ensure you hit your goals, and please be as detailed as possible.”
Another question you may want to ask a sales leadership candidate is:
“Take me through the steps you followed to address an underperforming salesperson on your team. How did you identify their challenges/problem areas? How did you approach them? What type of coaching did you deliver? How did you track their improvement? What was the outcome?”
Consider having multiple stakeholders from your team present during the interview process. You can also introduce them to members of the team they’ll be interacting with regularly to ensure they vibe together and to observe how they treat their potential colleagues.
Another great tool you can use is the STAR format:
Situation, Task, Action, Result.
If someone is struggling to answer questions and you need help getting the information you’d like, you can use the STAR format to help them better position their answers.
3. Define and implement your desired culture and ensure the candidate fits.
Unsurprisingly, this is an area in which most companies struggle, and it often will cripple great teams. Employees leave individuals, not companies. If a candidate for your sales team doesn’t fit into your culture like a glove, it should be a hard pass. You must ensure your leaders exemplify everything right about your culture, and they must eat, sleep, and breathe your core values.
Because the term “culture” is subjective, it’s essential to state how your organization’s culture is defined clearly. You’ll then need to identify if your candidate is exhibiting behaviors that would corroborate that and display the core values that you’re looking for.
To help determine a culture fit, you can ask questions like:
- Tell me about your ideal work environment.
- How do you react when you’re frustrated?
- How do you deal with internal conflict?
- What values would be present in your ideal company?
- What type of people do you struggle to work with?
- What are the characteristics of good teammates and great leaders?
There is nothing more important in an organization today than having the right people, in the right seats, on the right bus. Hiring mistakes will cost your company millions and may set you back a decade or more. Please make sure you take the necessary steps to build the right recruiting and hiring process, use the right tools, and interview appropriately.
In the coming weeks, we’ll delve more into the importance of building a documented sales process and share with you why companies that do not have one lose 18% of top-line revenue annually.
At The Sales Collective, our team of experts has a wealth of knowledge and decades of experience helping companies of all types and sizes who want to drive more revenue by revamping, revitalizing, or reimagining their entire sales operation from top to bottom. If you’d like more information, please visit us at: TheSalesCollective.com.