Sales Hiring The percentage of sales reps at quota on many sales teams implies a serious struggle with sales hiring efficiency. According to the 2013 CSO Insights Report entitled “Optimizing Hiring Effectiveness, Getting the Right Players on the Field”, the average percentage of reps making quota was 62%. When the participants in the study were asked to rate their ability to consistently hire reps that succeed at selling their product offerings, they found that 51% of firms were able to meet or exceed their own hiring expectations.

Superior sales hiring drives superior sales results. 

When CSO Insights looked at the small percentage of companies that exceeded their own expectations in sales hiring (6% of participants), they found that in those companies, on average 73% of the reps were meeting quota (vs. 54% in companies that did not meet their own hiring expectations). The report goes on to say that “any Chief Sales Officer (CSO) will immediately understand that having 73% of your sales force make their individual plans, versus 54%, dramatically increases the chances of the company making its plan. ” Clearly one of the most critical ways to ensure sales success for your sales function is to become  exceptional at sales hiring and recruiting.

So what about the 49% of firms that cannot meet or exceed their own hiring expectations? What can they do to improve?

There are many ways to achieve a superior sales hiring track record. The following list represents they six key ways to excel at sales recruiting and hiring:


1. Know what type of sales person you need

Look at your customers, the way you sell, and your sales goals. Understand what makes your sales environment unique and then develop a profile of the skills and traits someone requires in order to be successful on your team. Read more on high achievers here: The Traits of Top Sales Performers.

2. Hire the best

Settling for the best available sales hire is a recipe for failure. Only 10% of salespeople are consistent achievers, while the rest have mediocre track records and cannot reliably help you drive towards targets. Become known as a great place for salespeople to work, and create programs to attract the best talent that exists. Read more on hiring the best here: Do you hire the best salespeople, or the best salespeople available?

3. Structure and process

Develop a sales hiring process that objectively analyzes sales candidates with structure and multiple checks and balances to ensure each hire is not only an acquisition of great sales talent but also a great fit with your organization. To learn more about the value of structure, click here: Top 3 Reasons to Have Structure in Your Sales Hiring Process.

4. Develop sales assessment expertise

Salespeople are expert interviewers, who practice understanding what a buyer wants to hear and then saying it. To become an expert at interviewing sales candidates requires learning to peel away the outer appearances of a sales person to find out what skills and traits they really possess and finding proof that they have been successful in selling environments similar to yours. Read more about interviewing here: Sales Interviewing and Assessing Candidates.

5. On-board

Many companies invest a great amount in hiring only to under leverage that investment by not properly training and developing new sales hires. To make sure reps are productive as quickly as possible, implement a comprehensive new sales hire on-boarding program. See our guide: The First 90 Days – Your Guide to Making New Sales Hires Produce Fast.

6. Set them up to succeed

The self managing sales person that works like a money tree is a myth. Great salespeople are supported by winning teams and leadership. Top sales achievers make the most of these things, but they don’t achieve success on their own. They are set up to succeed. Read more here: The Myth of The Self Managing Sales Rep.


To your success!

Photo courtesy of ddpavumba |


Eliot Burdett

CEO at Peak Sales Recruiting
Before Peak, Eliot spent more than 20 years building and leading companies, where he took the lead in recruiting and managing high performance sales teams. He co-founded Ventrada Systems (mobile applications) and GlobalX (e-commerce software). He was also Vice President of Sales for PointShot Wireless.

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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