Figuring out how to evaluate and hire the best sales talent can make or break your business. And rightfully so: If you hire the wrong salesperson, it can end up costing your company a fortune to find, hire, onboard, and train a replacement. As per research, hiring a bad salesperson can cost you as much as 30 to 125 times the basic salary you pay the salesperson who doesn't work out in your role.
LinkedIn's Global Recruiting Trends 2017 study shows that sales positions are the #1 hiring priority for talent acquisition leaders. If your team is struggling to evaluate and hire star salespersons read on for our deep-dive on who to hire and how to hire.
Sales Success Profile
Start by building a sales success profile for the salesperson you want to bring to the team. The sales success profile outlines the traits and behaviors present in your star salespersons and how they affect performance. Many organizations tend to confuse best performance as equivalent to a star performer. Great performance can be a result of a good territory or work done by their predecessor in the territory. Try to look at performance at three levels, activities, skills and traits to clearly define the sales success profile that you want to replicate.
A great tool used by leading organizations to define the sales success profile are the "Talent Assessments". It is important to identify the behaviors and traits so they can be isolated, defined and replicated. Please read our blog "4 Step Guide to Identify and Replicate Your Best Talent" to get practical insights on identifying and replicating the best talent.
Identify the perfect candidate
Sales being one of the oldest professions, there is a regular debate in terms of what competencies predict better sales performance. Also, there is human bias and inability of the HR and sales leaders to effectively identify and evaluate the competencies and personality traits. Many leading sales organizations depend on competency assessment tools to help them assess the competencies suitable for the sales role in a fair and validated measure.
While there are multiple models to support the same, one of the most accepted models is based on the combination of Cognitive skills, behavioral aspects, and functional skills. Hiring based on this model offers crisp, objective and validated measures of must-have sales competencies suitable for B2B sales or channel sales environments.
Before you get to the hiring process, you'll want to filter your applicants and recommended candidates based on an ideal candidate profile. This way, you can quickly identify good matches for the position and move them to the interview stage.
Identification of a sales success profile ultimately boils down to identifying role fitment and the organizational fitment. Role fitment means that the candidate has the domain knowledge, functional skills, and cognitive skills required for a particular job type.
Organizational fitment means fitment of a candidate to organizational culture, core values or DNA of the organization. Many a times, salespersons who are successful in one team, geography or organization fail to excel in the new teams, geography or organization. This is because of change in work environment, culture change or inability to adjust to the DNA of the new organization.
Another important aspect in identifying the successful sales potential is the Benchmarking used to assess the salesperson. Avoid using the global scores from your parent organization or a combined score created across industries and organizations. A high score measured against global scores would not imply that the person will excel in the job. Every organization, culture and DNA are different and organizations planning to implement success profile should assess candidates on their own benchmarks scores.
Ideal scenario for hiring the right candidate is to have both role and organizational fitment. In a scenario, if the current role fitment is not there but organizational fitment is there the organization can decide to hire as the employee can learn domain knowledge or skills. But if the organizational fitment is not there, even if the role fitment is there, the decision should be not to hire you can't change someone's personality.