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Hiring the right Staff?

Hiring the right people for sales is one of the most difficult tasks of a Sales Manager.

Making the wrong decision can be enormously time-consuming in endeavouring to develop "lost causes" who will never make it. This can cause frustration among the entire sales team, who may feel that they are being neglected.

On the other hand, the right decision can result in a quick and seamless entry into the sales team by the new sales person, who is producing good revenue for the Sales Office with minimum input from the Sales Manager.
- by Gunner
Hiring the right people for sales is one of the most difficult tasks of a Sales Manager.
What do you propose? What are the keys to hiring the right staff?
- by Calvin
IJ am with Calvin - Gunner I agree with what you have typed but what are your thoughts?:dun - by Snowboy
Thanks Calvin,
I feel as though a stuctured plan for interview and a guideline for asking the right question in order to indirectly get out of the applicant the answers you want has always worked for me. - by Gunner
So you really rely on your intuition to get out of the postential applicant what you expect??? - by Snowboy
As a job applicant over the years the weakest link in the chain from my perspective is the lack of a well written job description where the job is spelled out in black and white so that both the manager and the sales force are on the same page.

To my mind sales is still in the creative arts arena. I know lots of engineering types are trying to create algorithms for success and I think this same formula might work in the hiring process.

After many years of success in sales I've been able to boil success down to just a math problem, and if the person has a problem solving mindset then they should be excellent at sales.

Chuck - by Sales Pro 1000
Selecting salespeople...

First I would ask candidates to do a Strengthsfinder profile (developed by the Gallup Organisation based on millions of interviews and based on real situations.)

This profile gives me a look at the person’s innate talents and strengths.

Then I ask Kathy Sierra’s four questions to test the candidate’s passion for their work ...

1. When was the last time you read a trade/professional journal or book related to your work? (can substitute "attended an industry conference or took a course") Over 80% of salespeople don’t read and don’t attend event to improve their skills.

2. Name at least two of the key people in your field. Most people name Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Tom Hopkins or other - in my world – outdated folks. And they are not for us.

3. If you had to, would you spend your own money to buy tools or other materials that would improve the quality of your work? Most of them wouldn’t.

4. If you did not do this for work, would you still do it (or something related to it) as a hobby? This is to screen out the greedy ones and keep the ones who sell because they love it.

Unlike most sales ads that are looking for aggressive smooth-talking glib folks who can hang on to the prospect like a bulldog, I’m looking for teamworkers with diagnostic skills. The Strengthsfinder profile will tell me that.

And I accept the fact that new salespeople will need a bit of upfront coaching help to learn to sell “our way.” Also, I like setting up business development departments in a commando style. A handful of people are cross-trained, so they can handle multiple roles within business development.

One big difference is that most cultures call for an "Always be Closing" sales culture. We're running an "Always Be Leaving" culture which requires different people.

Also, in my world there is no prospecting. We generate qualified leads for the sales folks on autopilot. The sales folks’ role is to meet hyper-qualified prospects and then oversee the engagements. Yes, all salespeople are trained in project management.

Now, I know this approach changes from culture to culture. What I’ve found is that if the person is fine on the talent level, the rest is easy. But regardless of how skilled an aggressive prima donna is, he doesn’t fit into our team culture.

Maybe it helps a bit. - by Bald Dog
As a job applicant over the years the weakest link in the chain from my perspective is the lack of a well written job description where the job is spelled out in black and white so that both the manager and the sales force are on the same page.

To my mind sales is still in the creative arts arena. I know lots of engineering types are trying to create algorithms for success and I think this same formula might work in the hiring process.

After many years of success in sales I've been able to boil success down to just a math problem, and if the person has a problem solving mindset then they should be excellent at sales.

Chuck
Thanks for your comments Sales Pro 1000 - by Gunner
Selecting salespeople...

First I would ask candidates to do a Strengthsfinder profile (developed by the Gallup Organisation based on millions of interviews and based on real situations.)

This profile gives me a look at the person’s innate talents and strengths.

Then I ask Kathy Sierra’s four questions to test the candidate’s passion for their work ...

1. When was the last time you read a trade/professional journal or book related to your work? (can substitute "attended an industry conference or took a course") Over 80% of salespeople don’t read and don’t attend event to improve their skills.

2. Name at least two of the key people in your field. Most people name Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Tom Hopkins or other - in my world – outdated folks. And they are not for us.

3. If you had to, would you spend your own money to buy tools or other materials that would improve the quality of your work? Most of them wouldn’t.

4. If you did not do this for work, would you still do it (or something related to it) as a hobby? This is to screen out the greedy ones and keep the ones who sell because they love it.

Unlike most sales ads that are looking for aggressive smooth-talking glib folks who can hang on to the prospect like a bulldog, I’m looking for teamworkers with diagnostic skills. The Strengthsfinder profile will tell me that.

And I accept the fact that new salespeople will need a bit of upfront coaching help to learn to sell “our way.” Also, I like setting up business development departments in a commando style. A handful of people are cross-trained, so they can handle multiple roles within business development.

One big difference is that most cultures call for an "Always be Closing" sales culture. We're running an "Always Be Leaving" culture which requires different people.

Also, in my world there is no prospecting. We generate qualified leads for the sales folks on autopilot. The sales folks’ role is to meet hyper-qualified prospects and then oversee the engagements. Yes, all salespeople are trained in project management.

Now, I know this approach changes from culture to culture. What I’ve found is that if the person is fine on the talent level, the rest is easy. But regardless of how skilled an aggressive prima donna is, he doesn’t fit into our team culture.

Maybe it helps a bit.
Bald Dog,
Thank you so much for your comments. This does help a bit.

Thanks again all for your responses.
Gunner - by Gunner
Bald Dog,

Many thanks for your very enlightening contribution.

You mention some of my favorite sales motivators, so that probably coincides with the gray hair on my noggin.

Who would you suggest I read to be more up to date?

Thanks,

Chuck - by Sales Pro 1000
Who would you suggest I read to be more up to date?
Chuck,

Here are some of my favourites...

Ari Galper
Brian Carroll - Lead generation
Jill Konrath
Jeff Thull

What makes them different is that they believe it's all right not to turn every prospect into a client. the prospect has a way out. I like that.

Cheers - by Bald Dog
Oh, I forgot. I like Sharon Drew Morgen. She is a recent discovery but she's great. - by Bald Dog
Bald Dog - Sharon Morgen is great - I agree. - by Snowboy
Snowboy,

I'm happy to heat this. It seems you're one of the handful of salespeople who left the old-fashioned sales world behind where the mantra was to make more calls, as Brian Tracy or Tom Hopkins advocate.

When I use Sharon Drew's facilitating questions in letters, only about 20 out of 10 people respond. So, it's a great filter against tyre-kickers.

You can also check out Gill Wagner's book, How To Build The [Your Name Here] Sales System at http://honestselling.com/books/your_name_here/. It's great. - by Bald Dog
Bald Dog,

Thanks for the referal - I will check that out.

Cheers, - by Snowboy
As a job applicant over the years the weakest link in the chain from my perspective is the lack of a well written job description where the job is spelled out in black and white so that both the manager and the sales force are on the same page.

To my mind sales is still in the creative arts arena. I know lots of engineering types are trying to create algorithms for success and I think this same formula might work in the hiring process.

After many years of success in sales I've been able to boil success down to just a math problem, and if the person has a problem solving mindset then they should be excellent at sales.

Chuck
Good post Chuck - by Wowsap
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