You’ve heard it before, when hiring a salesperson make sure you have a clear description of your sales needs and a detailed screening process. Problem is, what you know and what you do, are often two different things. Defining mandatory, versus non-mandatory hiring criteria, allows you to find the best sales fit without wasting time and money on non-qualified candidates.
Required employment categories that you may have for job applicants include: education, years of experience, sales training, communication skills, and proficiency with digital technology. Often it’s difficult to find an applicant that is a perfect match for your job description. Decide which criteria are mandatory (must have) and which are non-mandatory (desirable).
Examine the sales lineup you have in place and review what skills are most critical, and what you can live without. If possible have the team benchmarked by an outside party which can identify which traits are common to your reps who consistently meet quota (see www.peaksalesrecruiting.com if you need help doing this).
Every sales environment is different and a mandatory attribute in pharmaceutical sales, may only be a desirable attribute in the technology field. Look back to the most successful reps you employed and dissect their talents and personalities to find common traits, talents and experience. These common factors are what are necessary for the position; the other qualities would be “nice to have.” Also review where there are “holes” in your sales team and use the criteria to balance out the talent. Do you have many educated, mature reps that could use some sales tech help? Make digital technology mandatory. Have lots of tech-heads and need some more formally educated leaders? Make a Graduate degree mandatory.
Rank your “must-have” and “desirable” attributes. Be mindful when creating the list, as too many filters will result in a restricted pool of candidates. Too few requirements will increase the pool, but can leave you with a load of bad matches. Refer to this list when reviewing resumes and during interviews. This will make the selection process easier. A candidate with all “desirable” factors will not make the cut compared to the applicant with a list of “must-have” attributes.
Knowing that you need a filter, and actually creating one, will not only increase your hiring success, it will also save you time and money by not having to sift through applicants that can’t help you. Identifying what you want (and need) for your team will speed up the hiring process and help you find the perfect candidate.
When hiring a salesperson make sure you have a clear description of your sales needs and a detailed screening process. Problem is, what you know and what you do, are often two different things. Defining mandatory, versus non-mandatory criteria, allows you to find the best sales fit without wasting time and money on non-qualified candidates.
Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.
He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.
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