Any decent builder will tell you that if you build a house with shoddy materials, the end result will be a shoddy house. Similarly, if you don’t hire salespeople who have the right experience, skill sets, levels of intelligence, communication skills, and attitudes, the end result will be a less than desirable number of sales.
Whenever an organization hires someone to do a job for which he or she is not suited, the organization loses. Nevertheless, many organizations put surprisingly little effort into hiring and training the right salespeople.
Before you hire another salesperson, define what it is you want in an employee and assess your current hiring practices. Not sure where to start? To help you begin streamlining your sales department’s recruiting, hiring, and training operations, Vendere Partners has developed the A to Z questionnaire below.
A. What do I need a prospective salesperson to bring to the table prior to training?
B. What do I currently provide hired salespeople during training?
C. Have I developed lists of job-related tasks and standards for each task?
D. Am I confident in my training program, or do I need to make adjustments before I can claim that my program is sound?
E. Is my trainer & the training program effective enough for me to trust that operations will run smoothly even when I am out of the office?
F. Are my sales managers able to recruit, interview, hire, and train sales employees properly, or do they need training?
G. Managers and front-line salespeople aren’t the only ones who need training. Successful companies are built on solid leadership. Do my company’s executives need leadership training?
H. Are my job descriptions accurate?
I. Am I posting job descriptions for open positions in places that will enable me to reach the types of candidates I want to reach?
J. Do I have a clear process for reviewing applications and resumes?
K. Am I looking for the right things in the applications and resumes I receive, or am I eliminating potentially great salespeople based on criteria that doesn’t really matter?
L. When I review applications and resumes, am I looking only at past experience and listed skills, or am I also looking for things such as a candidate’s ability to communicate effectively and exhibit clear thought processes?
M. Do I routinely eliminate candidates for fear that they are too intelligent or experienced for the position? What processes can I put in place to ensure that I do not favor less qualified candidates in favor of candidates that actually have more potential to help me grow my business? (Keep in mind that the only thing worse than high turnover due to over-qualified employees is even higher turnover due to less qualified employees.)
N. How many in-house people should I include in the interview process? (Keep in mind that you never want in-house people that were not involved in the interview process to help you make hiring decisions based on resumes alone post-interview.)
O. Is my human resource department performing recruitment or hiring-related tasks that ought to be performed by or in conjunction with a sales manager?
P. Do I focus too much on resumes when I should be focusing on conducting interviews that will give me more opportunities to learn what I need to know about candidates?
Q. Would I benefit from conducting phone interviews prior to in-person interviews?
R. Do I have an effective way of letting candidates know what will be expected of them during interviews, including any testing or what-if scenarios they may be required to play out?
S. Do I know how to make candidates comfortable at the onset of interviews so that I am able to gain a realistic picture of how they will behave when they are on the job rather than of how they behave when they are nervous?
T. When it comes to interviews, do I know how to assess candidates’ skill levels, knowledge, and dispositions through discussions rather than through question and answer sessions that inspire perfunctory responses instead of genuine ones?
U. Am I asking candidates questions that require them to give examples of possible solutions to problems they will face on the job, or am I asking questions such as, “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?” which won’t really tell me anything other than whether or not a candidate is able to give me the type of answer he or she thinks I want to hear?
V. Do I set realistic expectations during candidate interviews, or do I focus only on the positive aspects of the job?
W. Would my interview process benefit from the inclusion of written or electronic testing?
X. Would my interview process benefit from the inclusion of what-if scenarios that typically occur on the job?
Y. Prior to the close of an interview, do I make sure to let the candidate know when and how they will be contacted with my hiring decision?
Z. Do I have the final say when it comes to hiring decisions? The person who conducts the interview should always be the person to make the final call.
If you’re unable to answer any of the questions above, you may be in need of Vendere’s sales management consulting services. If you are interested in outsourcing certain sales functions in order to avoid having to tackle some of the more difficult questions above, look into Vendere’s sales outsourcing services. Rather than overhauling your sales operations in order to accomplish your goals, it may be more cost-effective for you to partner with a team of B2B professionals that can close sales on your company’s behalf.
Like a builder, if you set out to create something without having a clear set of objectives from the start, you’re going to experience far more setbacks than you would have if you’d defined your wants and needs prior to breaking ground. Don’t have the time and resources to perform all of the tasks you need to perform in order to meet your revenue goals now? Contact Vendere. Vendere has more sales-generating processes in place than a construction site has nails.