Why Getting the Right Salespeople on the Bus Is Crucial

April 14, 2015

get the right sales people

In his iconic book, Good to Great, Jim Collins talked about the impact on business objectives and profits when a company gets the right team members onboard.

In sales, senior management is perennially under pressure to hit quota. Their stress is warranted when you consider that greater than 40% of sales reps fail to make their numbers (CSO Insights, 2015).  Beyond that, those not making their numbers may never get there, regardless of how much hands-on training and management they receive…a huge distraction and considerable cost, especially when including the significant cost of mis-hires and turnover.

That is why in the sales industry, perhaps more than any other industry, it is critical to “get the right people on the bus.”

As the CEO of Peak Sales Recruiting, I experience, first-hand, the impact that a great hire has on a sales organization and the direct and indirect costs resulting from a bad one.

Here are five techniques to help senior managers make sure they get the right people on the bus:

  • DEFINE THE ROLE IN ADVANCE: Not all sales roles are the same. Some require certain personality traits, others require more of one skill than another, while some require extensive domain knowledge. Candidate X may be a great salesperson, just not for this specific role.  By understanding each job, the customer, and the company culture, sales managers will be in a better position to find a candidate who will excel in their unique sales environment.
  • HIRE THE BEST, NOT THE BEST AVAILABLE: Settling for the best available sales hire is a recipe for failure. Only 10% of salespeople are consistent achievers, while the rest have mediocre track records and cannot reliably help the company reach its target. Become known as a great place for salespeople to work, and create programs to attract the best talent that exists.
  • HAVE A STRUCTURED AND OBJECTIVE PROCESS: Everything begins and ends with a consistent hiring process for each and every candidate. This will offer an ‘apples to apples’ comparison and allow managers to determine with the highest degree of certitude who the best hire will be. Multiple interviews, tests, background checks, and assessment techniques involving all stakeholders in the hiring decision should be used for each candidate. The more structure the better.
  • SHARPEN INTERVIEW TECHNIQUES: Salespeople are expert interviewers who prepare for interviews the same way they prepare to sell: practicing what an interviewer or buyer wants to hear and then saying it. To become an expert at interviewing sales candidates, hiring managers must learn to drill down on the skills and traits candidates really possess.  Finding proof of results and performing strong reference checks with previous employers will disqualify candidates who have not had success in similar environments, and narrow down the talent pool.
  • HIRE BASED ON SALES DNA, NOT RESUME: Someone with the right sales DNA will be competitive, confident, optimistic, and resilient. These intangible but highly critical traits are what drive high-achieving salespeople to be successful. These traits have allowed someone selling shoes to come into a company selling VOIP systems and become the perennial sales leader; and enable a person with a tech sales background to come into a construction company and drive new sales growth. Bottom line, people with the right sales DNA find a way to succeed.

For more business insights from Eliot Burdett, check out the Peak Sales Recruiting blog.

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If you don't have the right salespeople, you'll never hit your quota. Learn how to find the best salespeople and get the most from them with these AMA resources and seminars:

About The Author

Eliot Burdett is an author, sales recruiting expert, and the co-founder and CEO of Peak Sales Recruiting, a leading B2B sales recruiting company launched in 2006. Under his direction, the company leads the industry with a success rate 50% higher than the industry average, working with a wide range of clients including boutique, mid-size, and world-class companies such as P&G, Gartner, Deloitte, Merck, and Western Union. Eliot has more than 30 years of success in building companies and recruiting and managing high-performance sales teams. He is a Top 40 Under 40 winner. He has been widely featured in top publications including the New York Times, Fortune, Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, Reuters, Yahoo!, Chief Executive, and CIO.

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