Hiring and Retaining Top Sales Performers – Part One

Would you be surprised to learn that of all B2B salespeople, only about one quarter have the ability to contribute to their employer’s growth?

Statistically, only 26% of all B2B salespeople have the sales DNA and skills to make them worthy of an interview to join your sales organization. Of those candidates, only about half are likely to be a match for your company and sales culture.

This also means that a sizable 74% of the sales reps you could interview for your next sales role are mediocre or otherwise poorly suited for your company.

This blog is the first in a three-part series that explores the systematic approach we follow before, during, and after hiring top sales performers. Our approach delivers a top sales producer better than 91% of the time and requires only the emotional control of a hiring manager who is committed to not skipping steps in the process.

Approaching Hiring and Retaining Salespeople as an Investment

Research tells us that “poor job fit” is one of the major culprits of lackluster sales performance and turnover. Alarmingly, the average annual turnover for sales departments is 25%-30%, which means that an average sales organization is hiring and training a new sales force every four years. Not only is this unprofitable, it’s also unsustainable.

Unless your sales managers and executives have a predictable process for sourcing, screening, selecting, and securing top sales producers, your sales organization simply won’t have the talent or capability necessary to sustain the revenue and margins you seek for your company.

A Modern Approach to Hiring the Best Salesperson for Your Team

Much of your future salesperson’s success is determined well before your new hire’s first day on the job. His or her success will be determined by your hiring manager’s commitment to not only choosing an all-star sales performer, but also becoming the leader of an A-list sales organization capable of attracting and keeping the best sales talent.

Picture it from the sales rep’s perspective: The best ones think like investors. They understand how to evaluate risk and return relative to the goals they have for themselves and their family. If hiring managers want to attract and retain top sales producers, they must be prepared to answer the following questions, whether the candidate asks them or not.

Before you embark on your next sales recruiting effort, put yourself in the shoes of your ideal candidate and evaluate the answers you would give if you were asked these ten questions:

  1. How do your branding, marketing and customer success teams align with sales’ goals?
  2. What ideal markets, customers and buyers define my territory and target account list?
  3. Do you have a staged sales process capable of ensuring goal over-achievement?
  4. Is your sales pipeline optimized to ensure opportunity quality and forecast accuracy?
  5. How do you build value for your offerings and differentiate them as must-haves?
  6. What are the requirements for success in my new sales role and how well do I fit?
  7. What are the competencies and skills of your top producers and how do I match-up?
  8. Describe your onboarding process and how I can accelerate ramp-up in this role?
  9. What is my leadership team’s goal, plan, scorecard and track record of success?
  10. Is the compensation plan rich and realistic enough to motivate me and my family?

If your answers to these ten questions are accurate and powerful enough to attract top sales professionals, you’re ready to move on to the next phase – sourcing the best possible sales talent (see: PART TWO of this blog). Otherwise, you should apply the brakes and complete a scientific and data-driven sales force evaluation.  Of course, you can always skip this step.  If you do, just make sure you also lower your expectations for who you hire and the goals your team will produce.

In Closing

Hiring the best salesperson for any role is a two-way street. A-players don’t commit to B-organizations for very long. You want to ensure you’re gaining a valuable addition to your organization, but you must also be prepared to offer value in return, and that is much more than a phone, a desk and a hearty “go get em tiger!”.

A-players also need the resources, coaching, training, accountability, and opportunity to succeed. You want to set them up for success, starting with an honest, revealing interview process that ensures you’re the best match for each other.

If you don’t, you’ll both likely find yourselves unhappy and back in job search mode in no time.

Are you positioned for success?  We can help with the only validated and predictive scientific sales force assessment in the world, offered by our partner Objective Management Group.  To better understand whether your sales organization has blind spots or shadows in its hiring process, check out our COST OF SHADOWS CALCULATOR™.  This proprietary tool will allow you to calculate the real cost of each underperforming sales person hired over the last five years, and the upside of upgrading your process.  Of course, you can also join us for an upcoming event, or reach out to set up a quick conversation.  We are happy to help.

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