As a sales manager or any type of sales leader, not hiring the right sales people is detrimental to all facets of business.
Hiring top notch talent is essential to accomplishing your team’s sales goals. Your job is to make sure that you have the best process to recruit, interview, and onboard great salespeople.
Not Hiring the Right Sales People? Do This.
1. Create a Process
Take your time and follow the process. There are three specific areas you want to pay attention to during the hiring process. An acronym to guide you in spotting a good hire spells out TEC: Talent, Experience, and Chemistry.
T – Talent
E – Experience
C – Chemistry
2. The Chemistry Test
These are traits to look for in candidates for hire. The most important being chemistry. We’ve all seen talented people with strong experience destroy a culture because they just didn’t fit in.
I’m going to give you some advice on how to spot chemistry. If you want a guide on using our recommended hiring process in detail, please refer to our eBook:
Do a chemistry check after your candidate has gone through the preliminary parts in your hiring process. These include responding to the job posting, reviewing the job description, and answering foundation questions on your interview scorecard.
At the appropriate time, invite other stakeholders in your company to join you and your candidate for the “Chemistry Test.” Of course, you don’t need to mention the term “Chemistry Test” to your candidate as this may confuse him or her.
What is the Purpose of the Chemistry Test?
The reason we do this is to get to know the person at a deeper level. This includes understanding how they think on their feet, how they might present themselves with clients, and how they interact with the interviewing team. Yes, I did say “team”—this is usually the time we bring in other members of the team to interview this candidate—such as the head of marketing, the head of operations, the CEO, and certainly the hiring manager.
Put the candidate at ease. We may have even told them at the beginning of the interviewing process that they will be asked to deliver a short presentation. The key is to make this exercise easy, yet very telling, without spooking them.
OK, so here’s what we say: “Please give us a short presentation about yourself. We’ll put up some headings on the whiteboard and then ask you to go up to the board and write down your responses under each heading.”
We hand them a marker, ask them to write in their responses under each heading and then observe, listen, and interact! It’s amazing to me how much gets discovered in this simple exercise. Since candidates don’t know what we’re looking for and don’t know what the “right” answers are, they have to think on their feet.
As they write down their thoughts in each column—mostly in bullet summary form—the interviewing team observes body language, asks the candidate to expand on a thought, and give examples.
For instance, I often see “integrity” as a core value. I ask, “what does that mean to you?” or “could you give us an example where you put that into practice?” This allows me to see how they react to questions, how well they explain and clarify their thoughts, what their eye contact is like, and how “likable” they are. The primary purpose of this exercise is to determine if the “chemistry” between them and us is good!
Hiring the right person can be one of the most crucial decisions you make.
The right person positively impacts your organization’s culture and produces a considerable amount of revenue. The wrong person exposes the business to considerable disruption, drains you and your team’s time and resources, and places your reputation with clients in jeopardy.
3. Remember: The Wrong Hire is Costly
The financial impact of a bad hiring decision is considerable. Add up the time you and your team spend interviewing a candidate, the cost of new equipment, software licenses, etc. Add the recruiting fee, if applicable, and salary and benefits paid to a salesperson before they sell enough to cover their overhead. Now consider the same costs you’d incur again if you decide to replace this person. You get the picture. Hiring is a very important and costly decision. Hiring the wrong person can be a disaster.
4. Use Your Digital Sales PlayBook to Document Your Hiring Process
I advise you to develop a sales process and then hire people into it. Our digital Sales PlayBook platform, Collavia®, provides a platform for a sales process that you can customize. It can also guide your newly hired salesperson through a comprehensive on-boarding program so they hit the deck running. Newly hired people can bring fresh perspectives that can be incorporated into your Sales PlayBook.
5. Ask Yourself These 10 Questions
- Am I or is the business ready to hire a salesperson?
- If I make a mistake and hire the wrong person, what is the financial impact to the business? How much money will I lose? How much can I afford to lose?
- Who should be involved in the hiring process? Who are stakeholders who are affected by this hire?
- Have I created a commission plan that motivates the desired behaviors?
- How will I objectively evaluate each candidate to determine if he or she can bring in new business?
- What processes do I have in place to ensure that the salesperson hits the ground running?
- Have I defined week, month, quarter, and annual targets and established key leading performance indicators to track progress towards goals?
- Have I developed a comprehensive two-week ramp plan?
- How will I support the salesperson during their onboarding period and have I allocated the time to do this?
- Will I need to enlist help in designing the sales process, creating a commission plan, interviewing assessments, and providing any onboarding training and support?
If you feel like not hiring the right sales people is a problem for you, do you feel ready to change? Let us know if you have any other ideas in the comments!