If you would like to accelerate your business growth, you might feel the enormous pressure to hire sales people. To find someone, anyone, who can start pounding the phones to try and get as many leads as possible. But don’t rush, use the simple guidelines below and never settle. Your business will be better for it.

Have you struggled to hire the right sales people?

It has been said that sales positions still rank among the hardest positions to fill and retain in many businesses.

We’re reminded of this every time a Founder or CEO is telling us how many problems they have had, trying to build a sales team. The symptoms are generic and easily recognisable: Consistent under-performance. Inaccurate Forecasting. Pipelines that never seem to close. A new excuse every month. Any of this sound familiar?

There’s an old Irish joke about the lost foreign tourist in the countryside who asks a local for directions. Upon being told where the tourist is trying to get to, the local replies ‘Oh. Well, if I was going there, I wouldn’t start from here.’

Think about it…

It never fails to amaze us how anaemic sales recruitment processes are within Growth Technology companies – especially when compared to other roles in the business. The interview might have been a chat in a coffee shop, with the rounded assessment that the candidate seems to get on well with people. And once the words ‘Marketing’ and/or ‘Business Development’ appear in the CV, we’re good to go, eh? Therein lies the problem…

Getting your sales hire process right 

While building a brilliant, high performance sales team is a complex task, there are 3 fundamentals that you need to consider to at least ensure that you are starting from the right place:

  • Recognise how important sales is to your business: devote the appropriate amount of time, diligence & effort into acquiring that talent.
  • Understand how difficult Entrepreneurial (i.e. your) Sales is and the sophisticated skills required to execute it to a level of high performance.
  • Recruit with a laser focus on vetting for those skills.

We’ll talk about the complexity and sophistication of the Entrepreneurial Sales skill set later in this series. But the simplest illustration of how misguided most sales hires are, is to compare them with other hiring processes in the typical tech business.

Let’s take coders for example: How rigorously do you vet your coders before interview? How did those coders prove their competency at interview? How many candidates did you see to get the best hire? Did you hire the cheapest candidate?

Now ask yourself “Did I put that much effort into hiring a sales person?”

Among other things, the best sales people have a mix of experience, complex cognitive skills & a brutally resilient mindset. The best sales teams are built not by accident but by science, data & design.

If that’s what you’re looking for, we wouldn’t start in the coffee shop.

If you’ve made a sales hire, or struggling with an existing team, you can check out our tips on how to manage sales talent, for maximum success.  

Looking for help with your sales recruitment, management or execution, or have any burning questions about something you’ve read in this article? Feel free to get in touch! 

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