When it comes to recruiting salespeople, it’s all about the numbers right? You need someone with a proven track record of exceeding targets; because it stands to reason that they will be more likely to hit the ground running and make money for your business? As sound as this rationale sounds, it’s fundamentally flawed.
Just because someone has been successful elsewhere, it doesn’t mean that they will be successful with you. Their success may not have been down to their own efforts, it could have been luck, or they may have been riding the crest of a wave and they are now coming to you burnt out.
Equally, if they are one of those very rare naturally talented salespeople, it doesn’t automatically mean it will be good for your business. These people tend to do more harm than good – they are also less likely to follow rules and be a team player.
Because they keep closing their maverick behavior will be tolerated, which will ultimately disrupt the workplace and cause unhappiness among staff, as they are innately talented they cannot teach others their skills. They are also less likely to loyal – quickly being tempted away by a competitor, taking their contacts with them.
At Sandler we are huge advocates for ‘systems’ verses ‘saviours.’ Your business can only scale and grow if all your salespeople are treated equally and given the systems to succeed.
When it comes to recruiting, systems also prevail. Here are some top tips to help you recruit the right staff, which will stay with your organisation and add value – through closing deals and having the right personal skills to make for a productive and enjoyable working environment.
- Identify the necessary ‘soft skills’ Soft skills, which includes things like a candidates attitude and personality, are more important than their ‘hard skills,’ which are the skills they will have learnt from work experience. This is because hard skills can be taught, but soft skills cannot. Identify the type of person that would be suited to the role and the type of person that would fit in well with the existing team members and company culture and change the job criteria accordingly.
- Ignore your ‘instincts’ So many businesses are guilty of hiring someone because it ‘feels right.’ Usually candidates will say anything in a interview to get a job – gut instinct wont help you identify the difference between those that can walk-the-walk, as well as talk-the-talk.
- Don’t rush the process: You can’t know if a candidate is right after only one interview. Put in place a multi-staged recruitment process, which includes giving existing employees a chance to meet and feedback on potential recruits.
- Consider psychometric testing Once you have a shortlist it’s worth investing in psychometric tests to help a business identify areas of weakness and what questions need to be asked in the final interview stage. The cost is significantly cheaper than the costs associated with taking on a bad hire.
- Get the on-boarding right: Once recruited, the development of the salesperson is key – make sure they are clear about what is required from their role and the milestones for development. Staff don’t leave for money, they leave because they don’t feel valued and challenged.
By Shaun Thomson, CEO of Sandler Training in the UK, on of the UK’s leading sales, management and leadership training organisation.