According to the Harvard Business Review, a high performer can deliver 400% more productivity than the average performer. Using that math, the simple equation to growing your business would be to focus your efforts on talent selection, and only let top performers into your sales organization. In order to do that, you need to have a solid recruitment strategy that aligns to your sales strategy, and ensure that it’s endorsed by senior leadership.
Follow these four fundamentals for building a best-in-class sales recruitment strategy.
1. Create a talent seeking mindset within your organization
In their book “The War for Talent,” McKinsey & Company examined high performing organizations in comparison to cohorts. The single biggest factor in distinguishing the best organizations was the talent mindset of leadership.
Executives should demonstrate that developing and properly deploying talent is a strategic priority. That talent mindset can then be instilled throughout the entire organization with consistent messaging around the importance of hiring only top performers.
Keep in mind that everyone on your team should think of themselves as a recruiter, and communicate that attracting, developing, and retaining talent are core expectations of everyone inside of the organization. Develop an internal referral program—there’s a good chance your most successful salespeople keep company with other talented individuals. They understand exactly the type of personality that thrives in your company culture, and they can quickly spot top talent when they see it.
2. Identify what you are (and aren’t) looking for with an Ideal Sales Profile
In order to find, hire, and keep top performers, you have to first determine exactly what defines top performance in a specific role. But that doesn’t necessarily mean trying to clone your current sales star. You’ll need to take into account your business strategy and what type of personality and skillset your people will need to have as your organization grows and moves forward into the future. Previous experience and technical skills should be considered when sourcing candidates, but it’s a fatal flaw to overlook a candidate’s behavioral compatibility to the position and your company culture.
Let’s say you find a candidate with the right mix of skills, education, and experience—and a positive attitude that really wins you over. If they’re naturally wired to thrive in a disciplined culture that emphasizes compliancy to existing processes, but your company culture rewards an entrepreneurial spirit, that bad fit will lead to a lack of engagement and ultimately, poor performance.
3. Develop a consistent hiring process—and stick to it
Your sales recruitment strategy should be endorsed by senior leadership, formally documented, and followed for every hiring decision that’s made. It’s easy to hurry along the process and skip steps when you have a never-ending stack of responsibilities on your desk, but since adding new team members is the most important decision you can make for your company’s future, it’s worth the additional efforts in planning and execution.
Having discipline around the process will also prevent personal biases from interfering with your final decision. A well-organized and consistently executed recruitment process creates efficiency, helps keep everyone involved accountable, and allows you to focus your attention and time on where it really matters—selecting the right candidate.
4. Practice collaborative hiring—and develop interviewing skills
It takes skill to interview candidates and really uncover the information that will predict their performance in a role. But in many organizations, interview skill training is limited to the HR department, while the people with the greatest expertise on what the job requires are left to wing it on their own.
Make sure that everyone involved in the interview process is on the same page—aware of expectations and exactly what they’ll be focusing on during their time with the candidate. “You need to have a collaborative hiring process” –Steve Jobs, Apple To consistently hire great people, you need multiple perspectives. This practice, along with the use of hiring assessments, can reduce the biases that often arise during the interview process. The collaborative decision also increases the accountability team members feel towards the new hire, making them more likely to mentor, train, and coach them once they’re on board.
Making the commitment to optimize your sales recruitment strategy should be a priority to drive sales growth in 2016. The extra effort you put in upfront will be rewarded with high performers and a strategy for efficiently developing your people to their full potential. Take the guesswork out of hiring by determining exactly what a position requires for high performance with an Ideal Sales Profile.
Brooks Talent Index® assessments measure candidates against this benchmarked profile and reveal the best match for long-term success in your organization. Learn more.
Published on January 25, 2016