Every sales leader knows top producers bring in the lion’s share of business while building excellent customer relationships. Marginal performers fall short of their objectives and often require a great deal of management attention.
THE KEY: Hire more top producers and stop hiring marginal players.
Imagine if you could double or triple the percentage of high producers on your team! You would have a sales force continually able to exceed their objectives, envied by your competitors and appreciated by your executive team.
Now imagine if you could stop marginal performers from getting in the door. You could stop wasting your valuable resources and managerial time dealing with poor performance.
These advantages can be attained by changing the way your organization hires its sales professionals. Here’s what you need to know to be able to hire more stars, more consistently:
1. Know that applicants are far more interviewing savvy!
Be on guard, applicants may be using memorized responses. Sales candidates have always been challenging to hire. Most have above average interpersonal skills which enable them to play to their strengths while covering their weaknesses. However, in recent years, it has become all the more challenging to identify the authentic person.
Traditional interviewing techniques have been around for decades and are now so well understood that applicants can be more knowledgeable than your company’s interviewers. Using the web, applicants can access hundreds of thousands of links providing answers to interview questions and sales scenarios. Answers can also be found for classic sales interview scenarios such as “sell me this pencil”.
2. Identify the unique success factors in your company. Even if you find a sales star from one of your competitors, that person may not be successful in your company due to differences in management style, your sales strategy and company values. Each company has its own unique approach and success factors enabling high achievers to excel. These factors go beyond the standard attributes you will find on the resume or uncover during a traditional interview. As example:
Top sales professionals are similar to elite athletes. They possess inner characteristics that separate them from average players. Although many sales applicants can ‘talk the talk’ during an interview, truly high scorers often have exceptional self-motivation, innate curiosity, an ability to anticipate the play and an incredible drive for winning, in addition to other characteristics.
3. Update your selection criteria to support your sales strategies. Many companies are facing rapidly changing markets. As an example, the shift to cloud computing is changing the way most technology companies approach their marketplaces. In response, sales executives put tremendous effort into developing great strategies, but forget to update their hiring and selection criteria. The plans are new but sales interviewers are still hiring people with the skills required in past years. You’ve seen the pattern, one region excels while others struggle with internal resistance.
Instead, review your hiring and selection criteria to make certain your hiring managers are able to identify those candidates who can hit the ground running and add value to your company.
4. Implement state-of-the-art interviewing methods. A great deal has changed since traditional interviewing techniques were developed. There are much better ways to identify the authentic person as well as the special characteristics that separate an elite player from all the others in the league. If you haven’t updated your recruiting tools and your hiring managers are still using the techniques learned years ago, you may wish to implement the latest methods and do so before your competitors do.
In summary, a top producer can often generate $1 million more per year than a marginal performer. To stay in the game you need to field your very best team. Learning how to fill your organization with top producers while stopping marginal players from being hired is an easy way to significantly increase sales force revenues.
If you are still using the interviewing methods from earlier decades, perhaps it’s time for an upgrade!
Want to improve your sales hiring? Would you like to reduce unwanted turnover, higher more high producers and reduce the bad hires?
Learn more about:
Guided Instinct Interviewing™, a major advance in hiring, enabling sales managers to select top performers more consistently.
By: Tom Armour