The results were quite surprising. Only 13% of the respondents answered “yes” to this week’s query. This is surprising to me because hiring is notoriously fraught with difficulties and risk. Who wouldn’t want to use a tool that could help eliminate some of that risk?
How many of us have hired a new salesperson with high hopes for their performance only to realize very quickly that they were not going to work out? You may have completed your due diligence by delving deeply into their resume and calling their references and still you were surprised by who the person actually turned out to be when they showed up for work.
Combine this common hiring faux pas with industry statistics that claim that only 50% of salespeople make quota each year and clearly some help with hiring is required! Assessment tools can be an important tool in your efforts to hire the best.
The only reliable way for an employer to mitigate the risk in hiring new salespeople is to have more information about the person and more hard data about their past track record in hand to evaluate before making a decision.
Hiring a salesperson is a decision to invest some portion of your company’s limited resources with the expectation of earning a predictable return. And yet, it has always struck me as odd that managers rely so heavily on instinct in making the final sales hiring decisions. CEOs and managers will form a committee to research and evaluate vendors for a new snack machine for the lunch room and then make snap decisions about sales candidates whose performance, or lack thereof, will affect the health of the company. At least more directly than the fatty snacks in the new vending machine.
As a hiring manager you need more information and data, not less, to make your hiring decision. This is where assessments play a valuable role.
A Simple Two-Step Screen
Assessment tools will help you to weed out unsuitable candidates, as well as identifying the keepers, before you invest the time and money to have them come in for an interview. You should establish a two-step screening process for potential sales new hires. This means that there will be two levels of filtering the candidate has to pass through just to get to an interview.
What should the pre-interview screening be? The first filter used in screening potential new hires in sales should be their past track record as reflected in their resume. For instance, if the candidate doesn’t have their quota attainment for their past jobs listed on their resume then they should be rejected. What are they hiding? My experience has been that if the candidate lists their past sales performance as a percent of quota on their resume then they have nothing to hide.
The second screening should be to use available sales candidate assessment tools to develop a profile of the candidate. Companies like Profiles International and Objective Management Group offer easy-to-use assessments that give you another data point and enable you to develop an informed impression of a potential new hire. These assessments are based on a series of questions that have been shown over time to have value in predicting future sales performance. I encourage you to integrate these tools into your hiring process.
I will write in an upcoming article about how develop a more effective and predictable company process for hiring salespeople. If you want to make sure to receive that article, subscribe to this blog or subscribe to my regular sales updates email.
In the meantime, come back and give us your point of view on this week’s SMB Sales Question: Does your sales team use a CRM system?
Talk to you soon.
Andy Paul is author of the award-winning book, Zero-Time Selling: 10 Essential Steps to Accelerate Every Company’s Sales. A sought-after speaker and business coach, Andy conducts workshops and consults with sales teams of all sizes to teach them how to use responsiveness, speed and intelligent processes to increase sales. Enjoy what you just read? Sign up for our regular digest of valuable Zero-Time Selling sales tips and strategies, “Selling with Maximum Impact.”
© Andy Paul 2013