CEO’s and sales managers often ask, “I wish I had a stronger team of people selling for us. What’s the Sandler secret to hiring winners?” My advice falls into the following five key areas:
- Follow a systematic hiring process – Do you follow a repeatable process for hiring? If so, is each stage of the process designed to move you toward your goal of hiring the ideal candidate? Are the right people involved? Are you getting the results you want?
- Develop a reliable hiring profile – Do you know, really know, what you’re looking for in a candidate? Have you evaluated the job functions and duties accurately? Do you know what personal attributes will be needed to accomplish the specific duties of the job? Have you matched the profile of your ideal candidate to your product/service mix, sales cycle, sales complexity, and industry?
- Learn how to interview – Do you tend to hire on personality or with your gut feeling? Do you know how to ask questions that get to the truth, rather than canned interview responses? Can you effectively control the conversation to ensure you capture all the information needed to make a good hiring decision?
- Develop a 90-day onboarding plan – How are you onboarding your salespeople? Are they left to figure out the culture and performance expectations by themselves? The first 90-days are crucial to setting the stage for long-term performance. Does your new hire know what you expect from him/her? Do you know what he/she needs from you? Do you have a job description, performance expectations, a documented sales process, and product/service training ready to go?
- Be quick to fire poor performers – If the recruitment process is like dating, and the offer is the proposal, then the first 90-days are like a honeymoon. Like many a starry-eyed lover, hiring managers have a tendency to overlook the flaws in their new hires with the hope that things will improve over time. The problem is: The degree of difficulty in firing salespeople increases geometrically the longer they work for you. If you’ve done a good job developing a systematic hiring process designed specifically for your ideal candidate, learned how to interview effectively, and onboarded your new hire with clear expectations, training and support, you should know within the first 90-days whether this person will work out. If not, it’s better to make the break early in the relationship, rather than carrying a poor performer.
So, if you want to hire better salespeople: (1) Follow a system, (2) Know your ideal candidate profile, (3) Become a strong interviewer (4) Onboard effectively, (5) Terminate the deadwood. To learn more about how Sandler Training can help you with steps 1 through 5, visit our website at www.toptier.sandler.com.
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