The ability to attract, hire and onboard outstanding sales managers and representatives will be a competitive advantage for any business during the transition to the New Normal.
We are now witnessing this new phase of the Covid-19 reality in several countries around the globe as part of a programme to re-start society and create robust economic recovery.
Taking onboard the best talent possible in an important sector like Sales is fundamental, especially during such a challenging time: to help overcome the challenges of recovering post pandemic, companies need great performers in order to expand and reach new benchmarks.
It is important to remember that sales hiring is not a one-time activity but rather a continuous process, since salespeople’s retention rates are often low. According to Bridge Group research cited in Forbes, “there is a minimum 20% annual turnover in Sales”, due to the fact that salespeople under high pressure burn out faster than other employees.
As a result, HR managers must adopt a versatile, proactive approach to continuously engage and recruit the best candidates with appropriate selling competencies. And even though there is no “silver bullet approach”, this can be done by developing comprehensive sales hiring strategies.
Here are some best tips to enhance your sales talent sourcing, screening, and interviewing:
The market is always extremely competitive, and it will be even more in these challenging days in which businesses need to reopen and push more than ever on sales activities. So, get prepared and don’t wait until the moment you desperately need to fill a position. Instead, stay proactive and always be on the lookout for effective sales talent.
Look for sales-specific qualities
CVs and sales track records usually speak for themselves, but they cannot be the only factors that count. According to Business News Daily, sometimes it is “all about raw smarts, hunger and the ability to get things done”. As a recruiter, you should assess the candidates’ sales-focused skillsets and their market knowledge. Harvard Business School conducted a research and discovered that the best-performing sellers had certain character traits in common:
- Advanced communication skills, meaning the ability to clearly convey the message at the client’s communication level.
- Achievement oriented personality: this stands for and above average willingness to succeed. It also means that great sellers have a strong willpower in conjunction with a well-trained self-discipline.
- Situational dominance: “a personal interaction strategy by which the customer accepts the salesperson’s recommendations and follows his or her advice”.
In addition, great salespeople usually have a “does-not-take-no” mindset, competitive personality, resourcefulness, persistence, empathy, attention to detail, and propensity to take initiative.
Ask effective interview questions: reveal the Sales DNA
A right interviewing process is half the battle in sales hiring. Focus on behavioural and situational questions. Here are some examples: “Tell me about a sales opportunity you lost. What would you do differently now?”, “Give me an example of a creative way you closed a sale”, “How do you prepare for presentations?”, etc.
Incorporate a sales assessment in your hiring process
Combining screening and interviews with assessment sessions is a great way of evaluating a candidates’ selling skills. There are many test options: the TriMetrix sales assessment, the Objective Management Group (OMG) sales assessment, or simply a test sales pitch presented to you.
How to streamline recruitment activities by harnessing a performance-based model
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