Sales Rep Recruiting – Hiring Top Performing Sales People

Due to our insight into so many sales organizations, one of our partners focuses exclusively on Sales Rep Recruiting, consistently hiring top performing sales people. You know the risk of how costly it is hiring the wrong rep, his methodology builds hiring simulators to let you fully measure and test the rep before you hire. You experience improved bottom line due to hiring right the first time.

  • Eliminate Sales Force Performance Gaps the distance between actual and forecast results.
  • Reporting Sales Quota accurately avoiding double entries and overpayment.
  • Missing Sales Quota sales performance gaps.

Correct sales rep hiring helps with sales expense reduction and also can simplify sales rep expense reporting, eliminating shadow sales accounting and its hidden costs.

Hiring salespeople can be challenging but with the right salesperson recruiter you can measure sales people before you hire. Simulators also let you test sales rep motivators through experiential assessment tools before you hire.

Hiring High Producing Sales Professionals

Hiring sales people who will produce to expectations is a difficult challenge for most organizations. Making wrong hiring decisions is costly – both in direct as well as opportunity costs.

Traditional hiring practices are a significant part of the problem. A recent survey of business owners and executives indicated that 95% either disliked the hiring process or felt they were ill equipped to hire effectively.

The traditional hiring process relies primarily on the interview, rather than on assessing how the candidate will actually execute in the critical areas of the position. As a result, most organizations find out how capable the person they’ve hired really is once they start on the job which is too late and fraught with risk.

The key to hiring high producing sales people is to avoid making the hiring decision based on the “emotion” inherent in the interview process – and to use hiring practices based on “logic” by accurately determining how the candidate will perform on the job.

The Keys to Hiring High Producing Sales People

There is typically little relationship between how someone performs in the interview and how they perform on the job. Most organizations have a poor track record of hiring sales people because they rely on their gut instincts versus objectively assessing ones ability to execute.

One of the major mistakes most organizations make is “liking” a candidate before knowing whether that candidate can actually do the job. It’s critical to fight the desire to “like” someone before knowing whether they will be able to produce results.

What would happen if business owners and executives put less emphasis on the interview and were able to “test drive” a candidate?

By test driving candidates before hiring them, the traditional interview becomes secondary to experiencing first hand how the candidate performs. This is accomplished by simulating activities such as how candidates handle themselves on the phone or in front of prospects, or how well they fit within the organization.

In many instances, candidates who perform well in these simulations would have been passed over based on their performance in the traditional interview.

Think of hiring as the ability to peel back the layers and truly understand the candidate’s capabilities. To do this successfully, the candidate must be seen from a completely different perspective, and be evaluated based on performing activities that will be critical to success on the job.

By taking this approach, sales hiring accuracy is increased and hiring risk is mitigated – ultimately resulting in a higher producing sales team.

Sales Compensation Plans that Produce Results

Effective sales compensation is critical to the success of any go-to-market strategy. Yet the design and management of sales compensation is rarely easy. After all, determining how people are paid is a sensitive matter which can become increasingly complicated when reconciling the disparate needs of key stakeholders: Sales, Finance, HR, and Marketing.

To better manage this complexity and to keep the discussions constructive, the four cornerstones of effective sales compensation must be considered.

The Keys to Sales Compensation Plans that Produce Results

  1. Alignment with Corporate Objectives
    Sales compensation is an output of the business planning process. It is defined within the context of business strategy, and directly supports the achievement of corporate objectives. However, in order to best align compensation with strategy, care must be taken to distinguish between simply being ‘directionally consistent’ with corporate objectives and being in “lockstep”.To illustrate, consider a sales compensation plan that supports an aggressive growth strategy. One option in these circumstances is to use a flat commission rate, as salespeople earn more if they sell more. A second option is a plan which pays higher commission rates for new customers than for repeat business, and which offers attractive bonuses for exceeding quota. While one could argue that both plans are aligned with a growth strategy, the second demonstrates this alignment to a much higher degree.Proper alignment means that each component of the sales compensation plan maps directly to a corporate objective and significantly increases the probability that it will be achieved.
  2. Not a Substitute for Sales Management
    A well-designed sales compensation plan articulates corporate priorities for sales people. It defines the context within which all decisions should be made, as well as the rewards for contributing to the achievement of corporate objectives.As a result, there is a temptation to let sales compensation play a larger role in the day-to-day management of sales people. Usually, this is in the form of rewards for good sales behaviour, such as booking appointments or passing leads, in place of actual sales results like revenue or margin.While the judicious use of behavioral measures may be appropriate in some selling environments, relying significantly or solely on sales compensation to manage salespeople is risky at best. Sales compensation is a very compelling tool when the challenge is to focus personnel on specific goals. However, it is just that – a tool. It should never be considered as a substitute for sales management.
  3. Execution
    Even the best plan design will fail if poorly executed. Good execution is achieved by first setting clear expectations and then delivering on them. In order to set and maintain expectations, rely on comprehensive documentation that is written in layman’s terms and easily accessed. It should describe payment calculations, all related administrative policies and practices, and most importantly, the process for resolving payment errors. To consistently deliver on these expectations, all related processes should be automated. With an abundance of feature-rich, reasonably-priced software solutions on the market, it is becoming increasingly difficult to defend the use of error-prone manual calculations or spreadsheet farms. Automation improves the overall integrity of the program and provides opportunities to re-deploy staff in value-add activities such as reporting and analysis. Effective execution is good for sales productivity. It gives salespeople the confidence to fully engage in the selling process instead of wasting valuable time wandering through administrative back alleys.
  4. Active Management
    Active management refers to the regular, on-going analysis of a sales compensation program.The program’s objectives, such as acquiring new customers or increasing the sale of higher-margin products, will dictate what reporting and analysis is undertaken. The focus should be on whether the plan designs are delivering the specific results that were intended.Other analyses may include topics such as the correlation between pay and performance, the number and type of payment errors, the performance of new hires, or a search for unintended seasonal or regional trends.Active management of sales compensation provides a statistical, factual basis for evaluating the effectiveness of the program and for considering possible changes. Knowing whether, when, and how to implement a change will minimize contention and keep salespeople focused on overachieving.

Maximizing the Potential of Sales People

Sales people are the most difficult employees to manage in any organization. They normally work outside the four walls and their success is dependent on other people’s decisions. There’s often frustration with their inability to meet sales targets and by their lack of productivity.

How sales people think impacts their sales performance – so it’s incumbent upon business owners and executives to develop sales people to realize their full potential and to optimize sales productivity.

The Keys to Maximizing the Potential of Sales People

Recognize that sales people are more like thoroughbreds than race cars. Both can go fast but there is an enormous difference in how they must be handled. Cars can be treated the same and work predictably well. Horses are individuals that need customized personal attention. Sales people are no different. They must be well understood in order to reach peak performance, and organizations must learn what motivates and is important to them. If they are all treated the same, there is a risk of getting only average results.

Some sales people will leap out of the gate when presented with a goal, expectation or incentive. Others will be demotivated by the same conditions out of fear of losing their jobs. The difference is in how they think. Selling is a head game and thoughts determine the level of success. The greatest barrier to sales people achieving full potential is their thoughts. With training and willing participants, it is possible to change the way a person thinks, which will unlock their hidden potential.

Selling is a relational and emotional event. Purchase decisions are rarely made on facts alone. Sales people must be able to relate to customers on an emotional and personal level to create the necessary trust and close the deal. The ability to connect with clients emotionally depends on how well the sales person thinks. Specifically, it depends on how they think about themselves – their self esteem. A sales manager should do everything possible to build and maintain self esteem. Thinking patterns that have been learned can also be unlearned, so there’s no reason an under-performing sales person can’t be trained to achieve remarkable results.

Sales managers often just replace poor performers. This strategy is becoming less practical with the lack of available, experienced sales people. Organizations may not know which of its poor performers could be their next superstar given the right training and incentives.

Businesses must be committed to developing the next record breaking sales person rather than giving up on them and letting a competitor make the discovery. There must be a willingness to invest in the sales team to develop a stable of high performers.

Through training and individual attention, sales people can be taught to analyze, evaluate and replace their negative self limiting thoughts. New thinking patterns will allow them to reach higher goals than they ever thought possible.

Contact us:

Our team of strategic sales and marketing partners can resolve the most challenging leadership issues. Take the next step, contact us to move forward at 1 800 611-4343or submit a web request.


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