Hiring and Retaining Top Sales Performers – Part Two

Every marginal salesperson you add to your sales organization makes your business weaker.

Think about it: an underperformer robs you of the opportunity to have a top performer in their place. It’s like an eagle plucking feathers from its own wings as it tries to gain altitude.

The goal of a successful sales recruiting process is not simply to fill gaps on your sales team and see what sticks.  The goal is to hire sales people who CAN and WILL do what it takes to deliver the forecast growth your business requires.

How do you make sure the next sales team members you hire are successful?

After evaluating your sales organization and answering the ten questions outlined in PART ONE of this series, your next step is to design and execute a disciplined process for sourcing, screening, selecting, and securing top producers.

Building an Effective Recruiting Process

Hiring salespeople is different from hiring other positions in your organization. They’re the ones you entrust to drive growth and revenue. They’re unique in that the expectations they are held to every day require the focus and accountability of a dedicated leader.

The hiring manager must take ownership of and lead the recruiting process, with the support of skilled talent, development and human resource professionals.  How do you know if your sales recruiting process is as effective as it can be?

Below are ten priorities every sales executive and hiring manager should use to lead the recruiting and interviewing process. (WARNING: If you don’t believe science and disciplined execution can play a role in improving your sales hiring results, this list may piss you off.).

  1. Define evidence-based hiring criteria to ensure objective (not emotional) decisions.
  2. Write a detailed role description to attract, pre-qualify and hold new hires accountable.
  3. Produce a leveraged compensation plan that is as aggressive as your business goals.
  4. Create compelling advertising content and differentiating cues that attract A-players.
  5. Execute a high-volume sourcing campaign to expand your candidate pool and pipeline.
  6. Leverage technology to reduce manual effort, eliminate steps, and accelerate decisions.
  7. Qualify candidates with a validated, predictable, EEOC compliant sales assessment.
  8. Conduct behavioral interviews to ensure sales culture, competency and buying center fit.
  9. Collect interview scorecards, act quickly and decisively on top candidates (they go fast).
  10. Implement onboarding that validates, accelerates and generates high-performance.

The Benefits of a Systematic Approach

Recruiting and retaining top talent is one of the five core responsibilities of any high-performing sales leader. Onboarding is an essential component of any sales leader’s success, because of the significant costs of taking too long to get a new hire to over-quota performance.

An alarming study from CSO Insights found that over 71% of companies surveyed take at least six months to fully onboard new hires. Of those, more than a third took nine months or longer. Statistically speaking, anywhere from 10-25% of new hires will quit before they complete the onboarding experience.

When it comes to making high-probability (low risk) hiring decisions, if you can avoid wasting time you can avoid costly mistakes. Recruiting and onboarding programs that produce too few candidates, take too long, lack formality and rely too heavily on gut or emotional decisions that often force hiring managers to settle for the “best available” candidate, instead of hiring the best candidate for the position.

Processes that are both thorough and fast are enabled by technology, science and data.  Such tools remove anomalies from the decision-making process to create clear, concrete insight into each candidate and how they fit (or don’t fit) within your company. Hiring managers who master these tools gain the ability to lead the hiring process and take control of their team’s success, not follow the lead of others inside and outside their organization.

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 you have blind spots or shadows in your 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 improving your recruiting and onboarding 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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