The Real Deal Around Recruiting Salespeople

Man being interviewed by TV crew

With the number of salespeople in the job market it seems timely to give a heads up on the stuff only really good recruitment agencies will talk about.

1. The best salespeople never get to the open job market. They certainly don’t need to register with several agencies or ‘spay and pray’ their CV. The best salespeople:

  • are locked into their current employer
  • headhunted
  • leverage their own network to create a new role
  • move because of an opportunity put to them by somebody they trust

2. This means the large majority of out of work for a while salespeople are not top decile, even upper quartile, performers. If you are, and you are reading this, get in touch!

3. Our own work with coaching newly appointed salespeople reveals most of have moved ‘sideways’. The major reasons being:

  • didn’t get on with their sales manager/director
  • consistently average performance was creating some attention
  • they didn’t believe the selling organisation (and by extension themselves), weren’t given enough respect/resources/support
  • many salespeople seem to be hired for their CV and fired for their behaviour

4. When interviewing a salesperson try to use either a competency based approach and/or predictive analysis:

  • competency based is where you have identifiable capabilities required, turned those into identifiable behavioural indicators and then design the assessment process against those indicators
  • predictive analysis is where you look at what you need done and then look for evidence that matches in the person’s CV. Successful candidates need to demonstrate capability, not through good communication and enthusiasm but with evidence.

5. Spend a lot of time on understanding the person’s mind-set. You can develop the person’s skills much more easily than their mental approach.

6. B2B customers, whether they are decision makers, users or professional procurement people, are getting smarter and more demanding. Don’t recruit for the job today; you need to recruit for the job 2-3 years out. Can this person move up the value chain?