The hiring and development of sales talent is often the least disciplined process within sales organizations. While sales leaders and managers are focused on helping reps build pipeline and close business, recruiting and the hiring process can often take a back seat to more pressing sales activities.
Many sales managers wait for a vacancy to occur; then, react, hustling and bustling to find a body to fill the job. Too many times, they go with their gut or an interview alone to determine whether a new hire will truly be successful in their organization, rather than following a regimented process. These are both fundamental mistakes.
If you want a high-performing sales team, you need a process to help you attract, hire and retain top sales talent. The number will be much easier to attain if you have the right people in place. Remember, top talent delivers where it matters most - the bottom line. Here are some key tips for smart hiring.
Define the Role
First ensure you are defining the role’s success profile and use this selection criteria when picking your candidates. Do you need hunters or farmers? Do you need people who can develop technical competencies? Do you want people who take ownership when it comes to customer success? Good role definition is a mix of art and science. It includes:
- detailed role characterization and critical competencies
- proper weighting of the criteria
- a focus on hiring for strength, as opposed to lack of weakness
Without defining these success behaviors, you’ll never be able to make good hires, repeatedly.
Don’t leave recruiting solely up to human resources. While it’s easy to complain about HR not doing the job you think it should, your best bet is to create and take ownership of the talent management system for your sales organization. That includes the recruiting of top talent. Ultimately, you own the number. Take ownership of the people who are going to help you get there.
- Develop and adhere to the process that will bring you the right hires
- Your hiring discipline should include casting a broad net to get the top talent you need
- Use predictive analytics to help define the hires who are most likely to be successful in the role.
Someone will be promoted. Someone will resign or be fired. Someone will surprise you. Don’t get caught off guard without a method to replace team members. Tap your network for a bench. Former work colleagues, former and current satisfied clients, top recent new hires can all be sources of new candidates. Remember too, that exceptional candidates are rarely looking for a job. But when they are, the window is very small as they get snatched up quickly. Don’t let the timing of your recruiting efforts get in the way of finding these exceptional candidates. Make it a personal goal to find three top candidates that you keep in touch with; and over time convince to join your team.
Don’t make the wrong hire just by settling for someone who may be okay. Remember the value of top talent and the cost of a mistake.