The Coaching Effect Blog

Identifying Sales Department Talent

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

January 28, 2010


Posted by Bill Eckstrom, President, EcSELL Institute 

Let me make something clear--I am not an expert in identifying talent, but passionate about having talent on my team.   It is my belief everyone has talent, and when discovered and put to use, there is great potential for achievement. 

Given the existing research that supports assessments for selection, it begs the question, ‘why aren't more Sales Managers using a scientific approach to identifying and acquiring talent?'  Having personally worked with many quality, science based talent organizations, I've come to two conclusions:

  1. Naïveté and lack of discipline are obstacles to finding and hiring great sales people
  2. Not all assessments are created equal


Never does one argue the need or desire to hire the best sale talent for the job, but still discussions are held as to the need for the proper "assessment" of talent.  Personally, I used to be naïve enough to think third party assessment tools were not necessary, but my foray into sales management taught me differently.  When turnover and productivity per person, impact your income and the company's bottom line, it tends to get your attention.  For those who believe and are committed to scientific assessments, the affect can be a decrease in sales turnover by 50% or more and an increase in sales production by more than 10%.  Combined, the financial impact is significant.

When the nephew of a friend applies, do you have the discipline to stick to your model?  When you are approaching the end of the quarter and objectives are not being met, do you have the discipline to stick to your model?  When assessments eliminate the "can't miss" applicant, do you have the discipline...?  While there are always exceptions, the rule is to follow the plan.  Develop a hiring model and have the discipline to follow it, and don't forget to measure the outcomes! 

Assessment Equality

Not all selection companies provide data you need to find the traits that lend themselves to success in sales or sales management.  Ask yourself these questions prior to choosing a selection partner. 

  • Have they taken the time to understand your sales methodology? 
  • Do they understand your culture? 
  • Do they understand your market? 
  • Do they know how you train? 
  • Do they know your long term plans and vision? 

Investigate their science and have them provide referrals, visit/network with other sales leaders throughout the country prior to making decisions on selecting an assessment partner.  Price should not be a critical factor when choosing your partner, for if done correctly, retention and productivity should increase, resulting in a net savings and increase in revenue.  


Topics: Sales Planning

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