How To Hire Exceptional Sales Talent


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A how-to on hiring sales talent, describes Hunter/Farmers, compensation programs, and personalities suitable for sales

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How To Hire Exceptional Sales Talent

  1. 1. How to Hire Exceptional Sales Talent Lee Porter Sales Maven
  2. 2. What role are you trying to fill An aggressive outside or outbound  salesperson to drive new business  A nurturing salesperson to attend to the needs of your existing customers  Or both?
  3. 3. The Hunter Hunters are impatient, action  oriented, persistent and focused on goal attainment.  They dislike paperwork, but enjoy being turned loose to operate independently.  Most are highly social risk takers. They are motivated by and respond to rewards.
  4. 4. The Farmer Farmers like developing and nurturing  customer relationships, attending to ongoing customer needs and helping solve problems.  Farmers are great at follow up, most are detail oriented and good at paperwork.
  5. 5. Which do you need?
  6. 6. Most companies need both Don’t expect Hunters to be great at  customer service (although some are), follow up (outside the sales process) or paperwork. Don’t expect Farmers to spend their days cold calling.  Many organizations have successfully teamed Hunters with Farmers. ◦ Hunters bring home the bacon ◦ Farmers fry it up in the pan
  7. 7. What salespeople do Prospecting  ◦ Acquire names, contacts, referrals ◦ Research and prepare for calling ◦ Make the call  Get through to the decision-maker  Assess interest or need  Make the appointment for consultation
  8. 8. Consulting  ◦ Conduct an assessment of needs and analyze situation. ◦ Gather all needed information. ◦ Assess and interpret buying signals. ◦ Move the process forward by securing a commitment for presentation.
  9. 9. Presentation  ◦ Develop a proposal that matches the needs revealed by the customer in the consultation. ◦ Make the presentation TO THE DECISIONMAKER in a professional, polished and persuasive manner. ◦ Answer all questions and objections. ◦ Secure a commitment for decision.
  10. 10. Closing  ◦ Negotiate program/product mix. ◦ Secure agreement on terms for delivery, payment, and other details. ◦ Get contract signed, paperwork completed. ◦ Initiate any internal processes ◦ Follow up with client, internal stakeholders, etc.
  11. 11. Your new hire should be good at ALL these processes
  12. 12. What’s the cost of making a poor hire? Wasted management resources  (time, training effort, etc)  Wasted salary and other hiring costs  Risking customer relationships  Damaging morale on the team
  13. 13. Effect of eliminating low-performers and replacing them with mid- performers Analysis of team performance--team size=10 Individual Sales Number of Individual Total Sales 10% increase 20% mid- Replace quot;No- Target = $100,000 Salespeople in Sales Revenue for across the performers only hopersquot; with Category Revenue Team board mid-performers Over target (130%) 2 $130,000 $260,000 $286,000 $260,000 $260,000 Near Target (85%) 6 $85,000 $510,000 $561,000 $612,000 $680,000 Below Target (30%) 2 $30,000 $60,000 $66,000 $60,000 $0 Total $830,000 $913,000 $932,000 $940,000
  14. 14. What’s the candidate’s track record? ◦ Success in past sales is the primary indicator of future sales success, with one caveat: motivation. ◦ Great sales people are passionate about their product. Is your sales candidate highly motivated, excited about the possibilities and ready to commit wholeheartedly?
  15. 15. What’s the candidate’s track record? •What obstacles has this person overcome in their past experiences? •Attitude is EVERYTHING in a salesperson. How does your candidate manage their attitude on a daily basis?
  16. 16. How goal-oriented is your candidate? Do they have personal goals, how are  they managed?  How have they felt about goals set for them in past sales positions?  What is their process to achieve goals?
  17. 17. Your expectations
  18. 18. How long will it take? ◦ How much training will the candidate require to be fully functional in the sales position? ◦ Is there a steep learning curve to your products or processes, and if so, is this person a quick study or will they need lots of handholding along the way? ◦ Are you prepared to provide the training they will need in order to be successful? ◦ Are your expectations realistic as to how long this will take?
  19. 19. How long will it take? Have you analyzed your own sales cycle well  enough to set appropriate targets and goals?  Is there an existing pipeline for your salesperson to work or will they be starting from scratch?
  20. 20. How does your compensation package fit?
  21. 21. How does your compensation package fit? ◦ Hunters and Farmers have very different perspectives on the risks associated with compensation. Hunters generally have a higher tolerance for risk (and a higher taste for reward). Farmers’ personality usually means they are happier knowing they can perform consistently and get consistently compensated. ◦ Many companies have moved away from straight commission sales, and for good reason. Managing behavior is much easier when your plan allows you to compensate for desired outcomes.
  22. 22. The death of commission only sales? Disadvantages Emphasis is on volume not profits  Little or no loyalty to the company is  generated Wide variances in income between  salespeople Tendency for some salespeople to skim  their territories Advantages Service aspect of selling bypassed or  ignored Pay relates directly to performance  Pay is often excessive in boom times and  and results achieved very low in recession periods System is easy to understand and  Strong tendency for salespeople to sell  compute themselves rather than the company and to stress short-term rather than long-term Salespeople are provided with the  Reluctance on the part of high-paid  greatest incentive possible salespeople to move up to management Company's selling investment is  Turnover of sales personnel tends to be  reduced excessive when business turns bad or as the company searches for sales staff who can deal with the commission only environment both professionally and personally (income ups and downs)
  23. 23. Base + commission model Improved ability to manage behavior   Better security, harmony and teamwork  Sliding scales according to Hunter or Farmer designation ◦ 80-20 for Farmers ◦ 70-30 for Hunters Additional bonus pool for rewarding  specific behaviors or successes
  24. 24. Results? Lower overall turnover   Greater cooperation and intra-team mentoring  Unintended consequence? Loss of top performers due to ceilings (these folks were probably overpaid)
  25. 25. In summary Hire to fit your company culture   Commit in advance to providing adequate training  Set realistic goals  Establish adequate accountability measures  Manage for success
  26. 26. For additional help Sales Training (classroom and customized)  One-on-One Coaching for Sales  Sales Management Coaching  Sales Processes/Systems Consultation  Leadership and Executive Coaching  Lee Porter