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The Second Sales Myth and Truth

The Second Myth of Sales involves the selection of sales people. Many sales managers believe that anyone can sell, so the hiring process is easy. Just hire anyone and put them in the job. No training necessary if they follow the instructions of the sales presentation. Well, maybe some product knowledge training which has been up to 85% of the sales training budget for many companies (commodity companies). If a person can fog a mirror, they can fill the position! Major mistake were made using this method.

Then if a person does not work out, fire them and replace the person with another. No problem using this method. The problems of this method of hiring is really a big problem. This process belief ignores both the direct costs of bringing the wrong person “up to speed” and then replacing them, as well as the indirect costs of lost business and dissatisfied customers. The indirect costs can be very large depending upon the size of average customers and average sales volumes. I have seen one bad hire cost a company several million dollars with lost customers!

The Truth is that the proper effort used on the front end will have the right sales people doing the right sales job.  Successful sales people can be found using effective selection processes.  Organizations using proper hiring methods get better results by increasing sales, improving profitability and reducing turnover.

A proper hiring process includes a complete understanding of the sales position. Accountabilities are established for outcomes, types of territories, number of accounts within a territory, percentage of market-share (using different categories – total customers, products or services mix, etc.). Then an accurate establishment of traits needed for the position to be successful are identified – before talking to the first candidate.

Other criteria are identified and weighed as to level of importance in the hiring process. Then behavioral interview questions are both identified and selected or assigned to the interview team. Standards are set for identifying potential high performers. Assessments are used to create objective information on each candidate. And, multiple people are interviewed in order to have a selection of top talent.

Is Your Sales Team an “A” Team?

During these economic times, revenue generation and growth have become the number one topic in corporate offices. A better question to be asking now is – Do We Have an “A” Level Sales Team? Assuming that you have an “A” team, then sales growth and sustainable revenue levels should be a given. A Sales Team loaded with “A” players knows how to win.

So how do Sales Executives know that they have “A” players on the team? Well, first they can sell during good and bad times. They are students of selling and are at the front of the line for sales training – product and technique based learning. And, they have an inner drive – sometimes referred to as a winner’s edge – that gives them the persistence and ability to pursue business in the face of adversity. Also, adversity does not slow these winners – it challenges them to become more creative and find new advantages to use to secure business.