How to avoid hiring the wrong salespeople
Logan Wedgwood explains how to create the best chance of hiring the right person for your sales role. Have you ever experienced a bad hire? A person who doesn’t fit your culture or reach the performance standards you expected? This happens time and again, especially with salespeople and often it is not the new hire’s […]
Logan Wedgwood explains how to create the best chance of hiring the right person for your sales role.
Have you ever experienced a bad hire? A person who doesn’t fit your culture or reach the performance standards you expected?
This happens time and again, especially with salespeople and often it is not the new hire’s fault. More often than not, the business is at fault due to a poor interviewing or poor onboarding process.
There is always a chance that any good business can get a bad hire, even with good checks and balances in place. However you want to create the best chance of hiring well.
Core purpose fit
The starting point of any interview should include talking openly about your business’s core purpose. In the same way that you want to do business with people who believe what you believe, you also want to hire people who believe what you believe.
Alignment with a strong core purpose creates energy and enthusiasm that builds powerful momentum within an organisation.
Next you want to check that this new hire will fit your culture. Watch for body language when you share your core values – do they sit forward and become more engaged or do they remain placid? When they talk about previous teams they enjoyed being a part of, what stories come out? Salespeople feed off other people’s positive energy. Feeling part of a culture and being a key member in a successful team can help salespeople reach a new level of performance.
How clear are you on the role you need filled? Are you looking for a hunter or an account manager? Are you looking for a sales co-ordinator or a sales manager? These are all very different roles. Do you know what capabilities are required of your new person? Do you know what the first 90 days should look like for them? Do you know how you will measure their success? How do they fit in the team structure? Who are they accountable to? What outcomes will they take ownership of?
If the structure isn’t well defined or your role is defined poorly, you will get a bad hire most of the time.
At interview time you should have a set of pre-defined questions designed to seek evidence of previous success in a sales role, or evidence of their ability to learn these skills. Most likely this evidence is uncovered through story-telling. Prompt them, and then listen to their stories about customer experiences, team experiences, successes and failures; you will discover much about their skill-set in the details of the stories they tell.
If they can’t share details, it’s likely they weren’t responsible for the successes they’re talking about or they weren’t that close to their customers.
Behavioural profile fit
People have mixed views of behavioural profiling, but personally I’m an advocate. While these tools don’t guarantee a perfect hire, they are another tool at your disposal during recruitment. Although anyone, of any profile, can do any role, the effort, energy and stress required to be successful varies from individual to individual. These assessments help you understand a person’s natural disposition towards success in the role you are asking them to do.
Measures of success
Finally, you must be clear on what success looks like for your new sales hire and in what timeframe you expect them to reach the required performance level. Good salespeople aren’t scared of being measured. They want to know how to win more often but don’t just measure them on outcomes.
Outcomes are a result of doing the right things. Empower them to measure and report on the activities they can do that will lead to the desired outcomes.
If you can match the right behavioural profile, with the right role, with evidence of skillset and alignment with core values – and clearly define what success looks like – you are giving yourself every chance of hiring a great sales asset.
Logan Wedgwood is CEO of strategy execution advisory firm AdvisoryWorks