Did you ever wonder why so few sales candidates who performed well at other companies, fail to become top performers at yours? Somewhat unique to the sales role, most other non-executive positions can be quantified sufficiently to make a prediction with some degree of confidence that the candidate will or will not perform in the role. They've done it before, for example. Or they can demonstrate their skills. Or their resume clearly shows that they have the exact experience required for the role. Sales, however, is another matter.
If the candidate's resume indicates that they sold over $50 million in business last year, it doesn't mean they can sell anything for you. I evaluated a sales team for a food manufacturer and most of the 75-member team sold between $500,000 and $2 million per year in business for the firm. However, one salesperson sold over $65 million. "That guy is our best salesperson," they confidently touted. His evaluation, however, put him somewhere near the bottom of the pack, so I asked what he did to sell that much business.
Superman, we'll call him, it turns out had one customer, a single retail chain. He never prospected, which was a good thing because, given his skill level, it would have given him ulcers. The customer, it turns out, was originally brought in by the company CEO and a couple of executives, well before Superman was hired. Since he didn't sell that deal, and he didn't prospect, and never closed a single new customer in his entire company tenure, he really never sold anything. It might seem obvious reading this, but to that organization, they had always assumed he could sell. He couldn't. The truth was he didn't need to. But rest assured his resume is going to say that he sold $65 million in sales last year. Woe to the hiring manager, looking for a hunter, who feels lucky when that resume comes across their desk.
Failure to account for why a sales candidate succeeds or fails leaves a company doomed to repeat the experience of the previous employer. Here are the major reasons given for why hiring managers might believe a candidate can do the job they need them to do:
Top Seven Reasons for Sales Hiring Failure
- Assuming that prior sales success means predictable success at your company
- Personality similar to what you believe such a salesperson should have
- They come highly recommended
- Incompatibility with your selling environment
- Poor on-boarding process
- Lack of overall recruiting process
So what's a more effective sales recruiting strategy? Read the following list of the top five strategies for sales recruiting success and see how closely it aligns with your current methodology.
Top Five Most-Effective Sales Recruiting Strategies
- Repeatable recruiting process that helps you find, attract, select, hire, and onboard the best candidates
- Objective sales-specific assessment
- Effective interviewing skills
- Supportive sales culture and leadership
- Proper on-boarding experience – Read this article from Dave Kurlan
How does your recruiting process compare with this list? How well do your skill sets support the best sales recruiting outcome? If you are not getting your desired outcome, start by reading one or more of our white papers on sales selection, found by clicking here.
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