What are the biggest mistakes when building a hiring plan for a sales organization?
In my experience its a lack of objective profile collated on the type of candidate required based on data of your top performers (both from a behavior perspective as well as results). This drives a completely subjective view of what the recruiter needs to find and assess for which then can result in hiring the wrong people!
The three biggest mistakes I’ve seen sales organizations make in their hiring plans are:
- Industry Snobbery – I’ve seen, for example, medical device companies refuse to hire pharma sales reps because they’re convinced they can’t do the job without med device experience. I also witnessed mortgage bankers turn away insurance sales agents. Yet, in both instances, when they looked at the actual data, it turns out that salespeople from other industries often ended up being top performers.
- Not Differentiating “Hunters” from “Farmers” – Some sales roles are about cultivating a relationship over time (farmers). Others need a killer instinct (hunters). And a few require a mix of both. The talent profile required for each is a bit different. Savvy sales leaders know which is for them and hire accordingly.
- Promoting Top Performers– Top salespeople tend to be very competitive and they want to beat their peers. Top sales managers want to see other succeed. The ability to be a great salesperson is very different than enabling others to be great. Promoting top salespeople into management is usually a double loss: you lose your top producer and you hire a bad manager.