How to focus on buyer needs and avoid unwinnable deals
Sellers who offer insights and perspective tailored to their buyer’s needs move deals through the pipeline and close more business.
If you are finding it a challenge to hire new sellers, you’re not alone. As the economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are starting to bring back employees from furlough and hire new team members.
So, while good sales talent is available in the marketplace, a lot of job opportunities are also on the table, making it difficult to secure talented candidates.
Sales hiring is challenging because even organizations that claim to be good at selling acknowledge that they’re not strong at recruiting the right candidates.
Only 31% of respondents for the Korn Ferry Research 2020 Sales Talent Study claimed that their organization hired salespeople who succeed. That’s because most organizations use a completely different set of resources and processes to hire for sales jobs than they use to sell products, and they often don’t work in tandem with each other.
But it shouldn’t be that way. Sales executives need to take greater control over their sales hiring strategies and use sales expertise to guide their hiring process.
Here’s a list of six selling best practices that organizations should apply to their sales hiring process.
When was the last time you updated your job description, competency model and sales hiring profile? Do you study your most successful new hires to learn what traits and skills make them successful? And do you base your approach to sales hiring on data or on your managers’ gut instincts?
If you haven’t yet built data into your hiring profiles, now is the time to start.
Using data science-based assessments, clarify what traits, skills and attributes correlate to success in a sales role. Chances are they won’t match the traditional sales hiring criteria you’ve been using to source and qualify candidates, such as industry experience and a business degree.
Data-derived profiles often highlight different competencies that may not be readily apparent, such as learning agility, resourcefulness and analytical skills.
What is your employee value proposition? Do you have a distinctive employee brand? What messaging resonates with your ideal candidate? Why should they decide to work for you?
Collect data from exit interviews to understand what sales candidates are looking for. Use this information to develop an elevator pitch that demonstrates how your organization helps sellers succeed.
Your marketing team doesn’t stop when you get enough leads to meet your sales quota. Similarly, the best sales organizations are always recruiting, filling their pipeline regardless of whether they are hiring for a sales position or not.
Use social selling and outreach programs to generate awareness of your employee value proposition. And, depending on the traits you identify in your ideal sales profile, you may find top candidates to hire with the right expertise and competencies from different sources than your usual talent pools.
Ask yourself the following questions in order to define the sales hiring process:
Over half of sales organizations use practices like these, but the 36% of organizations that use them consistently have higher proportions of sellers making or exceeding their goal.
Your recruiters need every sales skill that a quota-carrying seller has: opening a call, asking qualification questions, asking questions to create awareness of an implicit need, sharing benefit-oriented information, resolving concerns (e.g., more expensive insurance plans) and closing on mutual next steps.
If your recruiters lack these skills when hiring for sales, it’s time to upskill them.
Keep in mind that your best recruiters may be your employees.
Check your numbers to find out what percentage of sales hiring interviews come from referrals. If that number is low, find ways to encourage your sellers to mine their connections for potential candidates. Maximize your employee network by making sure that newly hired sellers have the materials and messages they need to keep your pool of potential talent full. Create a referral program to encourage new and long-tenured employees across all departments to refer others to the organization.
Approaching hiring as a sales activity. Measure and formalize the strategy according to what will help you recruit and engage top talent in any market.
To learn more about how to build a data-driven sales hiring process for your organization, get in touch.