Leaders of organizations spend billions every year to improve sales through various training and education efforts. Over 20 billion dollars are spent annually by CEOs wanting to improve their salesforce. While I believe that education and training of sales people is productive and rewarding, much of this 20 billion dollars could be saved and used for other more productive programs. My recruiting philosophy is expressed clearly by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, in their book “First Break All the Rules,” wrote;
People don’t change that much.
Don’t waste time trying to put in what was left out
Try to draw out what was left in
That is hard enough.
Don’t believe you can hire an average sales person and make them a top performer. You most likely can’t. My experience has been; It is far less costly to recruit high performers than it is to make them. That is especially true in sales. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says; the hiring and firing of an ineffective sales person will cost your organization a minimum of $250,000. So why don’t more organizations attack this problem before the cattle are out rather than make a suspicious hire and hope for the best? In other words, why not find the people with the right stuff in the first place? There are many reasons, but here are a couple that come up frequently:
They don’t know how to do it.
They feel they don’t have the time to do it.
Recruiting high performing sales people is not an easy task. If it were we would not be talking about it. There are six things you need to know and do to recruit a world class sales team:
Know what you expect from a high performing salesperson
Know what knowledge, experiences, and soft skills are required to be a high performer in that role
Make certain that you have a large enough pool of candidates that possess those attributes to allow you to select the best from a group of 3-4 people
Teach hiring managers to become expert interviewers
Create a track for new hires to run on when they begin (they may build their own track but make sure you have one that works wan can be shared)
Assign them a coach who is rewarded by the results of the people entrusted to them (hold the coach accountable for the success of his people)
When I hear leaders say they do not have time to hire the best people, especially when it pertains to salespeople, I wonder if there are in the right role. Hiring sales people with little or no preparation is a prescription for disaster but hiring them quickly is deadly.
It takes time to sift through 8 or 9 average sales people to find just 1 or 2 superior people.
Be prepared to take longer to fill the position but expect the quality and productivity to be higher. Here are two excellent, financial reasons to rethink the process for hiring your sales team:
Superior sales people are, most conservatively speaking, 7 times more productive than average salespeople (many will have to read no further to justify a commitment to hiring the best)
Hiring the wrong person will cost you $250,000 or more
If one contrasts the cost of making superior sales against hiring them to begin, it is not difficult to make the right choice. Start making a difference in your sales team today. Develop a process that includes: A performance based job description, An Ideal Candidate Profile, Psychometric assessment of candidates, Behavioral style interviewing, Formal On-boarding, and Coaching. You can’t not go wrong.