There are many keys to making the the sales hiring process work effectively yet most companies fail to get these keys right. Some of them are obvious, while some are more subtle. And most of all, the integrity, or in this case, the outcome of the process is only as strong as the weakest link. Ignore or fail to complete any one step the way it is designed and the entire outcome will be in jeopardy, as in, another salesperson that fails to launch, doesn't meet expectations, or succeeds at being utterly mediocre.
Here are some keys and comments:
- You must identify what experiences the new salespeople must have in order to succeed at your company, in this position, calling into your market.
- You have to nail the posting - get it wrong and the wrong people will apply for the position. When the wrong people apply, you have a pool that's green and unsuitable for diving in.
- You must use a customized, sales specific, predictive assessment to identify the candidates who will succeed in your positions and roles. If the assessment isn't predictive and you can't rely on it, you'll end up wasting your time with the wrong candidates.
- You must be able to determine, in less than 5 minutes by phone, which of the recommended candidates have the desired experience, sound great, and should be interviewed.
- You must be able to firmly but nicely cross-examine your candidates in a face-to-face interview to determine whether they are the person described on their resume or an imposter, meaning the resume was a work of fiction.
- You must have realistic expectations on your timeline. 30-60 days to fill an ordinary territory sales position, 90 days or more to fill a niche sales position, and even longer for the proverbial needle in the haystack.
- You must be patient enough to do it all over again if you don't find the candidate(s) that make you happy. Once you have reached the interview stage, candidates will come in 6 and possibly 12 flavors:
- Strong sales skills, perfect background and you like them;
- Strong sales skills, a background that is close and you like them;
- Strong sales skills, wrong background and you like them;
- Strong sales skills, perfect background and you don't like them;
- Strong sales skills, a background that is close and you don't like them;
- Strong sales skills, wrong background and you don't like them;
Hiring salespeople is not for the faint of heart, should not be performed without the right tools, and cannot be conducted without the right process. Most importantly, gut instinct is not a part of this process!