Why is it so Difficult to Hire Outstanding Sales Professionals?
In over a decade of presenting to Vistage Groups our popular program, “You’re NOT the Person I Hired“, I’ve discovered that the most difficult hire in a entrepreneurial-middle market company is a professional sales role.
If I present to a group with 15 members, half the group will be struggling with hiring outstanding sales professionals.
What makes it so difficult to hire this type of employee?
There are a number of factors that contribute to making hiring mistakes when it comes to the sales function. Before my Partner and I wrote our book “You’re NOT the Person I Hired”, we commissioned a study within the Vistage Community examining hiring mistakes. This study is available in the Vistage Library.
The research study was primarily focused on hiring at the executive level. However, the problems that lead to hiring mistakes and errors at an executive level are more significant and present a greater risk in hiring sales professionals. Let’s tackle the first mistake that leads to hiring failure.
The first mistake made by the vast majority of hiring managers is not defining SUCCESS for a role.
NOT defining success is a recipe for disaster in hiring.
Those who have seen our speaker presentation know that we recommend defining success through a structured process called SOAR and the end product is a tool called a Success Factor Snapshot. This success definition has absolutely NOTHING to do with the traditional job description.
Most job descriptions are worthless as a tool for measuring and predicting future success through an interview. You can read more about defining success in the article on our Hire and Retain Top Talent Blog, titled “When An “A” Candidate is NOT an “A” Employee (When a Candidate Isn’t an Employee)
It takes a few hours to define success for a particular position. The key steps include:
- Connecting sales outcomes to the company objectives.
- Listing all the obstacles involved in achieving the desired results.
- Developing a time-phased, quantifiable plan of action items.
- Defining a future expected result – such as increase sales by 12% for the home health care market.
Your investment of time in building a one-page Success Factor Snapshot will dramatically raise hiring accuracy by:
- Focusing your search in which ponds to fish for the best talent.
- Eliminating the embellishment and exaggeration common in sales interviews.
- Leveraging a success-based management tool to keep your new hire on track after they join your team.