Hiring Best-Fit Salespeople, Without Having a Fit

Teamwork.jpgFinding the right person for the job has been a long-standing initiative for hiring managers. But, the issue of job fit has taken on more urgency with the scarcity of skilled talent today, and therefore, a pressing need to make the right hire the first time. As a recent article in Harvard Business Review (HBR) has pointed out, the success rate of selecting the right salespeople is less than desirable. According to HBR, the average annual turnover rate of sales people ranges from 35 to 30 percent, and direct replacement costs vary from $75,000 to $300,000!

Meanwhile, when you think about talent functions that can make or break a business, the sales team is at the top of that list. While all employees play an important role in a company’s success, it is the organization’s sales professionals that directly drive revenue. In turn, a lot rides on the ability to hire effective, top-performing sales people who best fit the company’s culture and business goals.

The HBR article points to three strategies to help improve selection and hiring the best-fit salespeople – focus on behaviors, be clear about the relevant “experience” needed, and conduct on-going talent assessments.


Three Strategies – One Solution

Today, the ability to gain more knowledge about a potential hire’s behavioral profile, current competencies and predict their future success in your organization before you invest in them, is achievable through talent assessments. Through objective, scientifically-based data around critical thinking skills, values/culture and behaviors, hiring managers depend less on their “gut feel” about a candidate, and can better evaluate them against a set of criteria that are important to a sales job and to their organization.

Talent assessments go beyond analyzing a sales candidates’ ability and propensity to do a job well. These tools also allow a hiring manager to evaluate how well that person will perform in your unique sales environment by benchmarking what “success” looks like in your enterprise.

Benchmarking the sales position in your organization is crucial to knowing who will succeed best in the role. Simply put, you want to identify what works in the position so you can replicate it. Conducting sales assessments can generate a job profile for the sales positions within your organization, identifying the values, competencies, motivations and critical thinking skills that your top performers have in common. This “blueprint” can be applied to guide what to look for in potential candidates, and improve your accuracy at hiring top performers that drive organizational success.  

To learn more about using sales assessments to build a world-class salesforce, contact us.