Sales Hiring Process Improvement Tip #1:
Identify Your Sales Applicant-To-Hiree Ratio
This is the number of salespeople you hire divided by the number of sales applicants who go through your sales hiring process.
If the percentage is too high, then you’re not being selective enough. Identify ways of screening out unqualified sales applicants early in the sales hiring process to save you time and energy.
If the percentage is too low, then one of two things is happening:
- Your standards are impossibly high (not likely), or
- You have a sales talent sourcing problem
Evaluate your job ads, company reputation, GlassDoor.com reviews, etc. to understand why you’re not attracting enough good people.
What's the ideal ratio?
A rule of thumb we've used in the past is to hire only 1 out of every 5 people you evaluate in the sales hiring process. Could it be a little more than that for your industry? Possibly. But it's important to set a disciplined standard and add consistency to the process.
There are some really interesting stats about this topic – as well as the value of employee referrals here.
Sales Hiring Process Improvement Tip #2:
Hire Salespeople From Outside of Your Industry
I’ve talked about this before.
Hiring industry retreads based on their “extensive experience” and “huge contact list” is a mistake. I’ve seen it made over and over and over when consulting with clients on the selection side of our business.
Prior industry experience can actually be a detriment when it comes to:
- Learning a competitive line
- Learning about new applications
- Giving up old loyalties
- Having the energy to start something all over again
- Unlearning bad sales habits
If you do believe that the salespeople will bring the business with them, think again. Here’s the truth: customers stay with companies, not with reps.
Sales Hiring Process Improvement Tip #3:
Develop A Clear and Consistent Onboarding Process
Once you've hired a strong performer, you can just expect immediate success, right? Wrong.
Design a meaningful and in-depth orientation program for new salespeople. Your program needs to enculturate them into the unique environment that defines your organization.
New salespeople need to understand your organization as it is defined by the norms, values and expectations of your company. They need to know the attributes, values and behaviors that are rewarded (and not rewarded), dress and style, both the formal and informal structure, paperwork and/or digital requirements that your unique environment demands.