Ask yourself this question: When do you start recruiting your next sales producer? In many instances, sales managers wait until there is a vacancy and then embark on a crazy, mad dash to fill the spot. Clearly, this isn't the best process. Rather, recruiting should be an ongoing process that everyone on the team is responsible for.
Recruiting Process Exercise
The first step is to determine what type of person you are looking for. At our Sales Management Academy, Sarah Wirth, VP Member Services of EcSELL Institute, lead an exercise to get sales managers focused on recruiting the right person. Do this exercise with your sales management team to discover if they are finding sales superstars or just filling a slot.
Step One: Think of the best sales rep you've ever known. Write five adjectives to describe him or her.
At our Sales Management Academy, our members came up with this list:
High Integrity, personable, confident, sincere, articulate, knowledgeable, competitive, listener, self-motivated, persuasive, persistent, innovative, passionate, engaging.
Step Two: When you start sourcing possible sales reps, where do you look?
Interestingly, at the Academy our members gave the following answers:
Industry network, customer referrals, existing team, industry clubs
Do you notice the discrepancy? We clearly recognize the traits we want in a sales rep but we look for industry experience, sales results, existing book of business. Ask yourself, what do these have to do with the traits that make a great sales person? Instead, look everywhere for potential hires. Was your waitress outstanding? Did the retail sales person ask the right questions to help you make your purchase?
The moral of the story is hire based on traits and train them on the industry.
The next critical step is to ensure that everyone who is helping you recruit understand the traits you are looking for. For example, if Human Resources plays a role in recruiting sales reps, sit down with them and give them the list of traits you need the new hire to have. As important, give them a list of red flags to watch for. For instance, does the resume lack results/numbers? It the person a job hopper? Are there mistakes on the resume itself?