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Sales Recruitment Mistakes You are Probably Making and How to Avoid Them

Have you faced this dilemma? You’ve spent many hours and a small fortune hiring a new person for your sales team. But it hasn’t worked. Quotas missed. The lead pipeline has dried up. Is it time to start all over again?

It can be very difficult to figure out who is the right person when hiring for sales jobs. In the interview the person may shine, but can they really do the job? Can you really afford to make a hiring mistake again? You know this has happened to you before.

In this article we will give you some pointers which will make your hiring decision easier and dramatically reduce the risk of a costly hiring mistake.

When recruiting for sales jobs, it is important to first understand the type of sales person needed for the role. For example:

  • Do you need new business? Hire a hunter Business Development Manager.
  • Do you need to grow your existing accounts or deepen relationships with key stakeholders? Hire a farmer Account Manager.
  • Do you want to develop a reseller channel who promote your products? Hire a farmer Channel manager.
  • Do you need to grow new business in existing accounts? Hire a hunter/farmer Account Manager.

Hiring the wrong type of sales representative is often the first place where sales managers go wrong. They hire a farmer to find new business, when that person is really good with relationships. Alternatively, they hire a hunter to manage strategic accounts, when that person should be used to open new doors and to break into accounts.

Determining whether a person is either hunter or farmer is not easy, and can only be done with the aid of specialised sales psychometric assessments. You can’t use your gut feel for this one.

Once you understand the type of sales person you need, the next step is to understand the supporting skill set your new sales representative needs to possess. This is an area where sales managers often go wrong.

You need to consider the following:

  • Who are the people that you need to sell to? And at what job level are they?

For instance, does the person need to be able to deal with board level executives or just senior general manager decisions makers. You may be tempted to demand board level executives, but you need to remember many purchasing decisions are made lower down the decision hierarchy.

  • What is the size of the organizations that you target, and what industry are they in?

Do you sell to massive blue chip enterprises or do you sell to smaller medium sized businesses. Don’t be tempted to think you only sell to large companies. They often have slow sales cycles and make unreasonable demands on their vendors. You may be better off dealing with smaller more committed customers that appreciate your services and personal attention.

  • What practical experience does the role require?

This one can be tricky. Does the person have 10 years of experience or one year repeated 10 times? How many years experience does the role require? Do you need someone fresh out of university whom, you can groom, or does the role require many years of seasoning? It is usually better to train a high potential candidate than to hire a more seasoned candidate with the wrong personality traits.

Does the person require any background knowledge such as IT skills or outsourcing experience? IT jobs can be particularly tricky, as it does not mean because someone is a strong technical person, they will also make a good sales person. The same goes for other technical skills such as accounting skills. We have seen many a customer make this mistake. It is better to hire a candidate that has the traits of top performers then to be misled by degrees, certifications and past management job titles.

You also need to consider technical sales skills such as the ability to manage large and complex accounts with multi-faceted contacts and activities. The ability to work with a professional sales methodology. The ability to open a door with a senior executive.

As a sales manager you need to realise that your day-to-day expertise lies in selling. It does not lie in assessing the make-up of a potential hire. The wise manager will seek out help rather than risk a failure or even a so-so result. As in any business, the expert is always the best place to go for positive and successful results.

That’s why it’s best to utilise a specialist sales recruiter for filling your sales vacancies. A specialist will take the time to become familiar with you, your company and your product line. They will understand your target customers and the type of skill set it will take to be successful selling to those customers. They will then be able to prepare a professional sales brief which will clearly define the type of person you need to target for results.

This level of focus will enable you to make better quality hiring decisions and significantly reduce the risk of a poor result.

That’s where Dawning Truth can help you. We utilise a number of proprietary techniques to assess sales candidates. These include:

  • Sales Psychometric Assessments
  • Competency Based Screening
  • Skills Assessments
  • Background experience assessments

We then provide you with a detailed report that accompanies the candidates CV, so that you know you are getting a quality candidate. We can also provide you with additional services such as interviewing assessment questions, induction best practices and sales training for new and existing hires.

Dawning Truth are the sales recruitment specialists you have been looking for to take your sales team to the next level.

Contact us today, to hire your next sales superstar.


Sales Recruitment, Sales Jobs

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