Top 10 steps to recruit strong salespeople

Top 10 steps to recruit strong salespeople

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

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FOR most companies, hiring the right salespeople has always been problematic. With the shortage of quality sales candidates, it is now more difficult than ever. The pressure to fill a role often causes sales management to hire the best from a limited and deficient pool of candidates instead of hiring the right candidate for the role. The difference is huge, especially if you have a complex sale, a long sales cycle, a high-priced product or service, or a lot of competition.

If you rush to hire someone and get it wrong, three things usually happen. The first and most obvious is that you will inevitably have to begin the hiring process all over again in several months. Second is the lost opportunities from having a weak salesperson and for periods of time, no salesperson. Finally, there is lost revenue from customers who are stolen away, creating negative territory momentum where the pendulum swings to favour the competition in that territory.

Hiring salespeople does not have to be like a shared lunch or a coin flip. If you are selective instead of impulsive, good things will happen. If you are tired of hiring salespeople who take too long to achieve mediocrity and more often fail to achieve anything noteworthy, some best practices may be in order.

The following 10 steps are the keys to developing a process that yields consistency when hiring strong sale people. It takes soliciting the services of a qualified sales recruiting company to show clients how to apply these steps to their businesses, so please understand that this article simply identifies the steps.

1) Always Recruit: The worst time to hire a salesperson is when you need one. You will be less likely to wait for the right candidate and more likely to hire the first person who can cover the territory.

2) Ignore the Job Description: Provide a job description to the salesperson you just hired; do not use it to do the hiring. Instead, identify the challenges your salesperson must be able to overcome. To identify challenges, think about the market upon which your salespeople will call — things like size of company, title of the decision-maker, number of competitors, pricing compared to your competitor, average size of your account, length of the sell cycle, etc. These are crucial for filling your talent pool with the right candidates.

3) The Killer Ad: This should not be a description of the job, company, or the opportunity. Instead, you should describe the candidate you wish to hire by describing the experiences, from Practice #2 above, in which the candidate has already succeeded.

4) Sourcing: While job sites like and Splash Jamaica, are proven sources of candidates, you will get more of the right candidates if you learn how to use these sites better. Improve the likelihood of candidates seeing your post by ensuring that the keyword “sales” is in the job title for the post. A “sales executive” job title will show up more than “account executive”. The field in which you type the job title should always contain the words that candidates will use to search for available jobs. Secondly, while your posting may not expire for four weeks, asking the job sites to refresh your posts weekly will create a more consistent flow of resumes.

5) Automation: Use the 'Rules Wizard' in Microsoft Outlook to create automation that will identify incoming resumes, place them in the proper Outlook folder, and reply with an automated message that explains your hiring process and instructs your candidates to take an assessment.

6) Filtering: Most entrepreneurs make a huge mistake when they make decisions as to whether they should include or reject candidates based on their resumes. Resumes contain little information that will help you predict whether or not a candidate will succeed in your particular sales position. The best way to filter out the candidates who will not succeed and identify the pool of candidates who will succeed is to assess them early in the process. The most accurate sales-specific assessment is TGL's candidate assessment tool, which does the dirty work for you. It predicts, with 95 per cent accuracy, whether the candidate will succeed selling your specific product or service to your decision-makers in your market, against your competition, with your unique challenges.

7) Phone Screen : Have a very brief, three-minute conversation with only those candidates who are deemed hireable by the assessment. Purpose of the call is to determine whether they have the experience you specified in your posting, and to make sure they sound like someone you would want to represent your company.

8) Face-to-Face Interview: The primary purpose of the interview is to challenge your candidate and watch how they respond. You should poke holes in every claim they make in their resume to make sure they own what they claim.

9) Final Interview: This is where you get to sell the opportunity to the candidates you want to hire.

10) 90-Day OnBoarding: A 90-day, structured orientation during which you teach them, train them, educate them, coach them and prepare them for what it takes to succeed in your business.

With the cost of hiring the wrong salesperson being three to four times that indicidual's annual salary, it is about time human resource and recruiting managers apply a sales-specific, strategic and science-based framework to making sure that their next sales hires are all stars. If you select the right salespeople up front, you'll experience much less turnover, fewer delays to growing your revenue, and build stronger sales teams.

Duane Lue-Fung is an award-winning entrepreneur and is the founder and chairman of sales development company Think Grow Lead. For more insights on sales and customer experience training, sales recruiting and sales outsourcing please visit TGL's website. or email me your comments at

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