Most sales managers are up to their eyeballs in busy work. Their days are full, for sure. But are they full of the right things? The things that move your company toward fulfilling your mission, delivering on your brand promise, adding value to your ideal customers, creating a world class sales organization with an unstoppable culture of winning. Often I find, not so much.
The role of sales leadership is to lead the sales team to their revenue goals and deliver high performance but most sales managers are buried in too many of the wrong details and can't see the forest for the trees.
There's much at stake and a lot can get away from a sales manager who spends so much of their time digging out of the holes that bury them. One of the pivotal aspects of sales leadership that often gets short shrift from sales leaders is sales recruitment.
When I speak with CEOs, they tell me how so much of their ability to reach their performance goals hinges on getting the right people on the bus in the right roles. They're frustrated with low performance and high turnover. They know they're making serious sales hiring mistakes and they've calculated the costs in both dollars and morale.
They know something's wrong but they can't quite put their finger on it.
Here's a look inside of the sales leader's world that points to what we see going on in too many companies of all sizes.
It's not a pretty picture. But it can be fixed if and when you're ready to face the hard truths. Here are some of those hard truths.
“It’s characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.” ~Henry David Thoreau
Desperation leads to failure because desperate people tend to react rather than take meaningful and decisive action. Never allow your sales managers to be so desperate that you end up settling for less than you deserve in a sales hire.
Desperate people can make themselves believe anything, which, more often than not, leads to bad hiring decisions. Many sales leaders think that getting the seat filled "for now" will give them the breathing room they need to focus on other priorities. There are several problems with this thinking, not the least of which is now your sales manager has hired a mediocre to terrible salesperson that will require more help than s/he has the time (and probably the skills but that's another article) to train, coach and manage.
It's a fact that sales candidates are harder to find than ever. If your sales managers don't know how to find and attract the right candidates for your needs, it will simply feed the desperation and you will continue to hire more of the wrong people.
Your sales managers need a proven and predictive method to identify, find, attract, interview, hire and onboard the right salespeople for each of your positions.
So often clients hire us to work with them and we find that the job placement ads they are running are virtually identical for every sales position. This may bring in some resumes but the candidates attached to those resumes won't be tailored to the roles you need filled.
And your sales managers have no idea if what's on that well typed, professionally polished resume is factually accurate.
And the resume is in no way an accurate prediction of the sales skills the candidate possesses.
And the resume highlights all kinds of meaningless information that is not useful to deciding if the candidate actually qualifies for the position.
And the candidate's resume is missing so much of what you really need to know to determine whether or not the candidate (who is now costing your manager more time) can and will sell for you.
And now your sales managers and HR professionals are relegated to even more busy work trying to weed through the resume haystack hoping and praying to find that shiny needle.
Broken and ineffective recruiting processes are responsible for sales hiring failures.
And they create an awful lot of busy work for your people.
Most sales managers are already chasing their tails trying to sell in the gaps to make up for the lackluster sales performance of their team.
" It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?" ~ Henry David Thoreau
4 out of 5 sales managers are unqualified for the job they hold. They spend their days putting out fires, making sales calls, and babysitting the mediocre salespeople they hire out of desperation.
They are far too busy doin' it, doin' it, doin' it to look at how wildly inefficient their methods and strategies are. They are taught to rely too heavily on resumes and referrals instead of using a skills and performance based process that saves time, is EEO compliant, and delivers results.
When we help clients with their sales hiring, this tends to be one of the very first things we work on. The wise managers who embrace the changes we suggest work through the challenges associated with transformation and learn to hire only those people who have a validated and highly predictive chance of success. Beyond that, they work on developing their own set of sales management skills and learn how to coach their now highly competent teams to breakthrough levels of performance.
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," ~ Henry David Thoreau
Inconsistent efforts provide inconsistent results.
Always be recruiting. That should be your motto. Even under the best job market conditions, the best of the best salespeople (for you!) are hard to find. Unless your position is easy, you have customers coming out of the woodwork to buy, they never balk at your price, you have no competition, and your salespeople don't need any skills or strengths or will, you need a pipeline of thoroughly qualified candidates with the specific selling skills and competencies needed fr your sales roles.
With a process that works, you will be able to automate the front end of your sales recruiting process and free up time to meet more of the right candidates once they are screened.
Most sales managers (and even HR professionals) have no idea how to attract qualified sales candidates, let alone attract enough of them for you to have a choice. You need to have a good stream of qualified candidates from which to choose the ones you need for your roles.
Imagine having a choice between multiple qualified sales candidates who can and will sell for you and hit their targets. You need a system that delivers enough of these qualified candidates so you can choose the ideal ones for your culture.
What's a good sales candidate anyway?
We define a good sales candidate as one who has enough of the sales skills and competencies and the right amount of DNA for the specific selling role. In other words, the candidate has the skills you need them to have, the selling competencies the role needs them to be able to perform consistently, and the right combination of strengths to support their skills and competencies. These are unique for every role and you must know with absolute confidence that each of the candidates you are considering has what you need them to have. And you must be absolutely sure they don't have a lethal combination of weaknesses that prevent them from executing.
Would you like to peek inside and see one of the engines that powers the Guaranteed Sales Hire Program? While there is a whole lot more to Guaranteed Sales Hire, seeing for yourself what it takes to provide a powerful front-end loaded screening engine will help you see what your sales leadership is missing in the first part of the recruitment process. Click here for details.
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