1 year ago
April 13, 2016

Top Sales Talent Performs Under Pressure

There is one proven way to tell when a sales person has what it takes for top sales talent: Performance under pressure.

Rhys Metler

No matter the sales specialty, there is one proven way to tell when a sales person has what it takes for top sales talent: Performance under pressure. There are many sales people who can contribute higher than average sales numbers in good times, but when business conditions shift it is your top sales talent who will continue to perform despite the obstacles.

Top Sales Talent Is Not Just Based on Experience

When organizations need to add top sales talent many begin the recruitment process with the goal of hiring the most experienced sales talent possible, thinking that performance under pressure is a function of experience. Although every sales team should have its mix of experience levels, it is a mistake to think that only those who have been active in the field for years have what it takes to perform under pressure. Sales eagles who can contribute reliably in virtually any scenario can be at any stage in their career. To give your recruitment for sales talent an edge over the competition, keep an open mind on experience.

Performance Under Pressure Comes from An Ability to Adjust

One explanation for how top sales talent differentiates itself under pressure from other reliable performers is found in the ability to adjust to changing conditions. When the pressure is on it is hard to predict what may happen next, so that past experience becomes a less reliable reference point for how to proceed. Those who perform well under pressure are able to think and react quickly, and are furthermore willing to take cues from others to continually develop these abilities. Think about your top sales talent when they are under pressure, and how well they respond to:

  • Feedback from you and other managers and executives
  • Comments from prospects and clients that can inform sales decisions
  • Learning from self-analysis
  • New sales concepts and ideas from internal and external sources

Prequalifying Sales Talent for Performance Under Pressure

Once you know what differentiates sales talent that can perform under pressure, it becomes easier to tailor your recruitment and selection efforts to find and acquire reliable sales talent. In assessing this aspect of a candidate’s abilities, it is often more helpful to use interview questions and behavioral screening than it is to try to develop a reliable picture based on skills testing alone. When trying to predict how a given candidate will perform under pressure, look to the following cues:

  • How he or she performs under the pressure of the interview process
  • The examples he or she is able to give about past successes in performing under pressure
  • The responses he or she gives to how desirable pressure is in a sales position on a day to day basis

How to Find Top Sales Talent When Your Recruiting Process is Under Pressure

Though your organization may be implementing the best practice of always recruiting for sales talent, there will be times when you need sales talent in less time than you would prefer to spend on the recruiting process. In this scenario, your recruiting process is being tested for performance under pressure, and the temptation to cut corners can be great. However, this almost always results in a reduced quality of hire than might have been realized otherwise.

The best solution to help your organization hire sales talent quickly when the pressure is on is to reach out to an experienced sales recruiter. A sales recruiter already has a candidate pipeline of pre-screened and qualified applicants who have shown the ability to deliver sales in all conditions, which saves your organization the time and stress of building a new pipeline on a reduced timeline. Furthermore, a sales recruiter can help you through the next steps in the selection process to ensure that your sales talent is top quality. Take a cue from your top sales talent and leverage your resources when performance under pressure becomes the reality.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.