Here are three of the top mistakes that managers and owners make during the sales hiring process.
Building a strong sales team is an important part of running any business. Mistakes in your sales hiring process can have an immediate, and enormous, impact on your bottom line. Many companies approach sales hiring the same way they approach hiring for any other position. However, no single position is as important to the long-term health of your business. Your sales team will interact with prospects and clients all day, every day. This customer-facing aspect of your sales department makes proper sales hiring far more critical than hiring for other positions. Here are three of the top mistakes that managers and owners make during the sales hiring process.
What, exactly, do you want, need, and expect from the person in the position you’re trying to fill? If you don’t know, how can you expect them to adequately fill the role? The first step in the sales hiring process should be putting together a detailed description for the position. You should seek input from everyone who will interact, no matter how infrequently, with the person in that position. Put together a realistic job description that addresses as many of the needs as possible. From there, put together a profile of the ideal candidate. Just like buyer personas, you should be using seller personas. Until you know exactly what you’re looking for, you’ll be left with a generic, one-size-fits-all job description. Of course, that means that your applicants will also be generic and one-size-fits-all.
A great resume and cover letter should get a candidate an interview, not a job. Like the cover of a book, the resume and cover letter only tell you what the applicant wants you to know-and, of course, what you read will be skewed in their favor. Until you open them up and see what’s inside, you really don’t know who you’re hiring. Spend some extra time to really get to know your top applicants. Find out about their goals and motivations, as well as how they’ll fit into your existing company culture. Sometimes, the best resumes aren’t indicative of the best candidates for a particular position. Make sure that your sales hiring process allows you some time to actually get to know the applicants. Hiring the best resume could leave you with an ill-fitting salesperson who disrupts the company dynamic and ends up costing you time and money.
It can be hard to gauge how fast your sales hiring process should be moving. Only you and your managers can adequately answer that question. You do need to bear a couple of things in mind, though. Top salespeople are still in demand, in spite of the struggling economy. If you find your ideal candidate, you can bet other companies are also interested in them. That doesn’t mean you need to rush through your sales hiring, but you do need to be aware that the clock is ticking.
On the other hand, rushing through your sales hiring will greatly increase your chances of being stuck with an unsatisfactory candidate. Spend the time you need to spend to feel comfortable with the person you hire. They will be dealing with your customers, and trying to get you new ones, every single day. If would be better to let a potentially great candidate slip through your fingers than to take a risk on hiring an untested applicant. Develop a process, and a timeline, and stick to both. Sales hiring, like any business process, should follow a specific, detailed workflow. In addition, like any other business process, rushing is an easy way to end up with bad results.
Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ 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 daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.