One of the most important functions of sales leaders is to recruit, train, coach, and ultimately develop productive salespeople. I have a quote by someone (not sure who) in my #Evernote stack that says, “People make the difference…between success and failure…mediocrity and greatness”. This truth is never more evident for a company than when recruiting a person to add to the sales team. Hiring and developing a quality sales rep can mean a difference in millions of dollars of revenue to a company.
The challenge for sales managers then is, “How do I hire the RIGHT rep”?
First, ask your self, “Is this a person I would buy from?” Think about it. In most sales positions, the rep has to build a relationship with the customer and have it last over a period of years. If you wouldn’t want this relationship, probably others would not either.
Second, be sure and have multiple leaders in your company to interview the candidate. Getting a different take from others you respect will round out your evaluation of the person and their personality and perceived capabilities.
If possible, let the person work with you or your team on a trial basis. There are a number of ways to do this.
We will sometimes invite candidates to ride with a couple of our senior reps. This gives the candidate a better understanding of the job. It also provides perspective and impressions from a seasoned rep. Seeing the person interact with customers and prospects is indicative of how they would do on their own.
I know a company that hires people on a trial basis. They train them on the basics and then put them out to make cold calls and require that they write a few small orders a day. This is not easy but it is a good test of the candidates sales ability.
Many companies now use aptitude tests to help judge candidates. I hear more positive than negative comments regarding their effectiveness. One colleague whose opinion I value swears by them.
The one factor we look for is desire or drive. This is THE critical quality of a good sales rep. Find a rep with desire and drive and you are on your way to winning with this person.