If there is one truth in business it is that you won’t stay in business if you don’t make sales. Every single day businesses struggle to unlock better sales performance and hire the best salespeople, but unfortunately all that training and screening doesn’t always get you the results you want. Why? To understand this let’s explore some common sales hiring mistakes:
Mistake #1 Over-valuing sales experience.
We love to see the president’s club mentioned on the resume, but it is dangerous to assume that past sales success will mean that the candidate will know how to sell your line of products or services. Simply looking at the sales performance numbers won’t tell you about the type of customers that salesperson was successful with nor the sophistication/complexity of the product or service sold. Looking at numbers without context won’t help you find a candidate with the right behavioral match and communication style required for successful sales at your company.
Mistake #2 Not hiring inexperienced people.
There are no statistics that show past sales success alone to be predictive of future success. A sales “newbie” is likely to be more receptive to the training you provide, with less need to unlearn approaches that may have worked while at a different employer, but are no longer applicable due to the changed circumstances. Hire for behavior and attitude first, aptitude second and experience last.
Mistake #3 Hiring based on old criteria.
Even when sales are faltering many companies will continue to hire salespeople based on the same old criteria typically established during a more successful “heyday” period in their past. The business landscape is always shifting making it necessary to adapt hiring criteria to those changing circumstances. Why would you bring in new people selected with the same criteria as your current team when that team is now underperforming? Hire for the future not to recapture a past that no longer exists.
Mistake #4 Hiring all the same type of people (just like you).
This isn’t just true in sales, it is a common problem in all areas of business. We fill teams with people like ourselves because they make us feel comfortable, but the real world is full of people with diverse communication styles and a range of behavior profiles. Salespeople tend to perform better when their behavioral style is similar to the prospective customer’s, but unless all your customers happen to fit the same profile, you’ll be missing out on your team’s overall sales potential.
Mistake #5 “Bumping” a top salesperson to sales manager
We’ll be expanding on this mistake in a future article, however, it is not uncommon for organizations to either take one of the best salespeople they already have or bring in someone with a great selling track-record and “bump them up” to the role of sales manager. Unfortunately this is all too often a mistake because many of the behaviors, reflexes and attitudes that work so well for the sales process are not necessarily desirable as a manager. Similarly, managing sales people requires behaviors that are not necessary for success in selling. Although every scenario is different, one common example is simply taking someone who is happy having independence, self-direction, mobility and a high degree of interpersonal interaction in their sales role and suddenly putting them in a position that requires spending the majority of time confined to a desk filling out reports and prepping for internal meetings. It is an abrupt behavioral shift and one that will be difficult to sustain.
Awareness of these common mistakes can help you build a more effective sales hiring process. We can help you learn to identify the behavioral and attitudinal criteria that are better predictors of sales success. We also offer behavioral based sales training that can teach your new hires and your “old guard” how to recognize communication preferences and adapt their own behaviors to build trust faster, lower resistance, and close more deals.
Improving sales performance requires educating your salespeople and improving their ability to recognize and adapt to behavioral and communication styles that may not match their own. At Data Dome we specialize in using the science of behavioral analysis to unlock the keys to better performance, improved team dynamics and creating the best fits for your organization to thrive. Contact Data Dome for more information on developing hiring strategies and for training that opens the DISC Doorway to Better Sales Performance.