Top 10 Steps to Recruit Strong Salespeople
by Dave Kurlan
If you're tired of hiring salespeople who take too long to achieve mediocrity and more often fail to achieve anything noteworthy, some best practices may be in order.
The following 10 Steps are the key to developing a process that yields consistency when hiring strong salespeople. It takes 1-2 days to show clients how to apply these steps to their businesses so please understand that this article simply identifies the steps.
1) Always Recruit - the worst time to hire a salesperson is when you need one. You'll be less likely to wait for the right salesperson and more likely to hire the first person who can cover the territory.
2) Ignore the Job Description - provide a job description to the salesperson you just hired, don't use it to do the hiring. Instead, identify the challenges your salesperson must be able to overcome. To identify challenges, think about the market upon which your salespeople will call - things like size of company, title of the decision maker, number of competitors, pricing compared to your competitor, average size of your account, length of the sales cycle, etc. These are crucial for filling your talent pool with the right candidates.
3) The Killer Ad - this should not be a description of the job, company or the opportunity. Instead you should describe the candidate you wish to hire by describing the experiences, from Practice #2 above, in which the candidate has already succeeded.
4) Sourcing - While the big job sites like Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com are proven sources of candidates, you'll get more of the right candidates if you learn how to use their sites. The field in which you type the job title should always contain the words that candidates will use to search for available jobs. Make sure "sales" is in that phrase. You should also consider using salesladder.com, the source of the best sales candidates on the net, as well as Craig's List, a surprising source of quality candidates. Here are some more tips:
- Have patience - you must still wait for the right candidate. Not hiring is always better than making another mistake.
- The frequency of your reposts - the life of an internet posting is 3 days. You must repost at least weekly.
- The target cities for your positions - if you're looking for someone in the Midwest, post it as Chicago this week, Detroit next week, St. Louis the following week, etc.
- The headline for your ad - It must have 'sales' in the title but beyond that, change it each time you repost it so that it doesn't look like candidates are seeing the same opportunity each week.
- The industry classification for your opportunity - select sales one week and your actual industry the next.
- Get referrals from your salespeople, vendors, customers and friends - but make sure these candidates go through the same process as those who apply online.
- Hire a recruiter to locate candidates - but make them go through the same process too.
- Make sure your ad describes the candidate's necessary experiences and not the job, opportunity and company.
- Make sure there is nothing in your ad that can disinterest a candidate.
5) Automation - use the Rules Wizard in Microsoft Outlook to create automation that will identify incoming resumes, place them in the proper Outlook folder, and reply with an automated message that explains your hiring process and instructs your candidates to take an assessment.
6) Filtering - Most entrepreneurs make a huge mistake when they make decisions as to whether they should include or reject candidates based on their resumes. Resumes contain very little information that will help you predict whether or not a candidate will succeed in your particular sales position. The best way to filter out the candidates that won't succeed and identify the pool of candidates that will succeed is to assess them early in the process. The most accurate, sales specific assessment is Objective Management Group's Express Screen which does the dirty work for you. It predicts, with 95% accuracy, whether the candidate will succeed selling your specific product or service to your decision makers in your market against your competition with your unique challenges. For more on this you can request a copy of my Sales Recruiting White Paper, The Modern Science of Salesperson Selection.
7) Phone Screen - have a very brief, 3-minute, conversation with only those candidates that are deemed hirable by the assessment. Purpose of the call is to determine whether they have the experience you specified in your posting, and to make sure they sound like someone you would want representing your company.
Face to Face Interview - the primary purpose of the interview is to challenge your candidate and watch how they respond. You should poke holes in every claim they make in their resume to make sure they own what they claim.
9) Final Interview - This is where you get to sell the opportunity to the candidates you want to hire.
10) 90 Day On Boarding - a 90 Day, structured orientation where you teach them, train them, educate them, coach them and prepare them for what it takes to succeed in your business. More detailed information on the on the 90 Day Ramp-Up Plan can be found by Clicking here.
Dave Kurlan is the best-selling author of Baseline Selling - How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball. He is the CEO of Objective Management Group and Kurlan & Associates. He hosts the weekly Meet the Sales Experts Radio Show and writes the popular business Blog, Understanding the Sales Force.
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