What Type Of Sales People Should You Hire?

While there are many different aspects that fall under the umbrella of talent management, recruitment is one of the most important. When it comes to sales, decisions that are made during the hiring process can ultimately impact on the performance and morale of the team and on sensitive issues such as staff turnover as well.

In fact, according to Miller Heiman Group’s research division, CSO Insights, average annual turnover stands at between 25 and 30 percent, meaning a significant amount of time, effort and money is spent on identifying, hiring and training new staff every year. Given that level of investment, hiring the right people is absolutely crucial.

So, with that in mind, what type of sales people should you be hiring and why?

Previous Sales Experience

One of the most obvious things recruiters should look for when trying to hire salespeople is their previous experience within sales. Things like product knowledge can be taught as part of general employee development program after a hire is made, but sales experience can serve as proof that somebody has a basic talent for making sales.

Of course, it would be foolish to suggest that previous sales experience is the only important factor, and attitude and personality can often be even more important. Indeed, a candidate with little experience but the right attitude may well be a better long-term investment than a candidate with plenty of experience but a poor attitude.

Leadership IQ’s Global Talent Management Survey found that 46 percent of newly-hired employees fail within 18 months. When the reasons for failure were broken down, technical competence ranked significantly below factors like coachability, emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament.

“Technical competence remains the most popular subject of interviews because its easy to assess,” explains Mark Murphy, CEO of Leadership IQ. “If managers focus more of their interviewing energy on candidates coachability, emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament, they will see vast improvements in their hiring success.” 

Recruitment Based On Tasks

Finally, in addition to experience and attitude, it is vital that new hires have the right skills, or at least the right basis for skills to be developed. This means that your organization needs to be clear on exactly what sort of salesperson they are looking to hire and what tasks they will be required to do on a daily basis.

In most cases, you will need sales staff to have excellent verbal communication skills, but depending on the nature of the role, they may need those skills to extend to written communication too. Moreover, the skills and attributes required to be successful at cold calling may differ from those required to carry out more targeted telephone sales, so it pays to be as specific as possible about what you are looking for and why.

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