Posted by Victoria Williams
If you're tired of hiring salespeople who take too long to achieve mediocrity and more often than not fail to achieve anything noteworthy, then I have some practices that I follow which I believe have increased my success in recruiting strong sales people.
1) Always Recruit - the worst time to hire a salesperson is when you need one. I have been guilty in the past in just hiring the best of a bad lot just to get bums on seats. And yes I have regretted it almost immediately! By the term “always recruit” I’m not suggesting you need to place an ad on SEEK or in print every week/month, but what I do suggest is to make sure candidates have a place to go and register their details with you. The simple way in achieving this is if you have careers site, ensure your site allows candidates to submit their resumes and don’t have a message saying “no jobs are available at this time”. Keep your door open at all times!
2) Ignore the Job Description –for the sales arena providing a job description to the salesperson you haven’t yet hired, in my eyes is a waste of time. Don't use it to do the hiring, instead identify the challenges your salesperson must be able to overcome. To identify challenges, think about the market upon which your salespeople will call- as an example things like the size of a company, title of the decision maker, number of competitors, pricing compared to your competitor, length of the sales cycle, etc. These are crucial for filling your talent pool with the right candidates.
3) The Killer Ad - this should not be a description of the job, nor should it just be about what you are looking for. Describing the candidate you wish to hire is a good starting point, but don’t forget to mention what you can bring to the table as their potential employer. More often than not we’re looking for people that are already in a job and are seeking out the next opportunity- research what your competitors are offering and think about what you can do differently.
4) Sourcing – Whilst SEEK has been a proven source of candidates in the past, times are changing. With the introduction of social media and job search tools, there are far more effective ways to reach the right candidates if you learn how to use these other avenues. For example if you Google “sales jobs” what’s the first thing you come across, I can tell you right now it’s not SEEK! Don’t be afraid to try new ways of recruiting staff, sticking to the one option will only restrict you in finding that perfect candidate.
5) Acknowledgements – If you have e-recruitment technology in place then you should have automated acknowledgements in place that notifies your candidate that you have received their resume and it outlines what they can expect as part of the recruitment and selection process. If you haven’t already got this software in place visit Talent Propeller to find out how you can make your life a whole lot easier! www.talentpropeller.com.au
6) Filtering – If you are anything like me, you are always encouraging sales people to think outside the square on how to find leads, close sales, be innovative on reaching targets…. So it is important you do the same when trying to recruit one! Instead of asking for a resume to be emailed in, why don’t you set up a dedicated phone line where candidates call and leave a message selling themselves for the job. This is a far simpler way to process and assess their sales skills!
7) Face to Face Interview - the primary purpose of the interview is to challenge your candidate and watch how they respond. You should poke holes in every claim they make in their resume to make sure they own what they claim. Don’t be afraid to make them uncomfortable, there are times in the sales process where you get challenged and if they are easily scared by you then it’s unlikely they will succeed in closing the sale!
8) Final Interview - This is where you get to sell the culture of the organisation and the opportunities you have to offer, however at the same time this is also a chance to see how much information the candidate has retained from the first interview. Your candidate should be asking questions at this point about the role and the expectations of them. I would also get them to give you their final statement as to why they would be a good hire for you. If they fail to impress then I would seriously reconsider whether or not this is the role for them. Remember sales people need to be strong and confident at all times and whilst we can make some room for nervousness, if they have failed to impress you in any way then don’t offer them the job.
9) On Boarding - a 3 month programme which should be a structured orientation where you teach them, train them, educate them, coach them and prepare them for what it takes to succeed in your business. For every component you complete I would recommend that you set very specific goals for them to reach before they can move on to the next area of training. This will ensure your candidate gets used to meeting very specific goals before you unleash them into the team.
Victoria Williams is the Sales Director and Business Partner for Talent Propeller Australia, Connect with Victoria on LinkedIn.