Team Building

How to Hire a Great Sales Team

how_to_hire_a_great_sales_teamTechnology has trained us so well in instant gratification that we sometimes forget that good things take time (even when using Salespod[Now Repsly]!). This can be especially true when hiring a sales team. You may know the scenario: You've taken so much care in developing an exciting product or service, and all you want to do is get it out into the world as quickly as possible. You put the call out for salespeople, sift through the resumes, and hold interviews. Logically, you probably hire based on those candidates' who are great-on-paper--excellent sales records and awe-inspriring numbers. After all, you're swamped and don't have time to hold a salesperson's hand. Trouble is, those great-on-paper candidates may not be the right personality fit for your products, services, or company. So what's a company to do?

Choose those candidates who have the traits of a great salesperson (more on this later) and are a great fit for your company and culture. Invest time on the front end in comprehensive training, and you will certainly reap the rewards of increased sales and lower employee turnover. The Harvard Business review blog had a great post on just this subject. Their advice? Hire for characteristics, not competencies in skills. As they point out:

You can develop competencies with the right training, mentoring, coaching, support, and motivation programs. But to get characteristics, you have to hire the right individuals. In the words of one sales leader, "You can't send a duck to eagle school." According to another, "Although you can teach a turkey to climb a tree, it's much easier to hire a squirrel."

You might be saying, "OK, that's all well and good, but I still need to write a job description, hold interviews, and hire this salesperson who possesses amazing characteristics. How do I do that?"

Glad you asked! The folks at Red Giraffe have you covered on the practicality front with a great checklist to get the best candidates through your door:

  • Develop a detailed job description - This would be the place to highlight all of those personality characteristics you're looking for.
  • Review the metrics the candidates will be evaluated on - Does your company give a personality inventory to potential employees? If not, this is something you may want to consider, as it would be an additional tool to assess the characteristics of your candidates.
  • Prepare for the interview - If you're using stock interview questions, throw them away. Try to hone a perfect set of questions that ask candidates to demonstrate the qualities you are looking for.
  • Check references - Although this seems like a no-brainer, but make sure you talk to the people on reference lists. They can provide valuable insight that you simply won't get from a resume and interview.

At Salespod[Now Repsly], we believe that great teams with the best teams is the key to strong sales!

Are you ready to start hiring? We'd love to hear if these tips have worked for you, or if you have any additional tips to share. And once you get that superstar team, don't forget to outfit them with the tools they'll need to succeed. Salespod[Now Repsly] has some amazing ones.

Jenna Hannon

Jenna Hannon is a Canadian born technology marketer and writer living in Silicon Valley. She is currently Strategic Communications at Fanhattan, advisor at Treasure Data. Jenna is also an adrenaline junkie; as a kiteboarder, skateboarder, snowboarder and surfer.

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