OK, you need to hire a new sales rep.
Maybe, the one you just let go couldn’t cut it…
Or maybe your company is going through an expansion and you have to hire an entire sales force at once…
Or perhaps your best rep just got promoted (congratulations by the way – even though it does kinda suck for you) and you have to hire quick…
So what do you do?In our next series of blog posts, we’ll be going through some of the essential steps required to hire top salespeople. In this first series, we touch on screening sales candidates prior to the interview phase.
When you’re under pressure, the tendency is to do a “one and done” interview and hire. These are the “one interview – one offer” kind of sales hires. If you go this route, you’ll regret this later…trust me, Ive done it and it’s the worst thing you can do.
You’ve go a lot to do…but you’re busy trying to get sales going in the right direction.
Well for the next few posts, we will be gong through this entire process step-by-step so you make the right decision, minimize the chances of making the wrong decisions, and hire the next sales superstar for your team.
So let’s get into the first step in the entire process of interviewing: resume screening.
Step 1: Examine your hiring criteria
The first real step is to identify what your hiring criteria really is.
Like many companies, you most likely have a job posting somewhere on your company’s website for all to view to the world. It may go a little something like this:Currently, we seek a Sales Executive in our East Bay, California territory. As part of our highly visible sales team, Sales Executives target and secure profitable new business to build relationships as aligned with regional and national marketing strategies. You will provide overall support and expertise to new accounts to ensure the highest level of quality service and provide customer education on ABC Corporation’s processes and procedures. We Require:
- A Bachelors degree in Business, Marketing or the Life Sciences
- 5 years successful front line sales experience including strong “closing” skills
- Knowledge of the healthcare industry and the general economics of business
- Ability to develop and sustain strong customer relationships
- Strong business planning and organizational skills
- Excellent oral and written communication and presentation skills
- Solid PC skills including knowledge of Microsoft software
- A valid driver’s license
Well there you go, all you need to do is find all that and you’re on your way to hiring a sales superstar!
Hardly. I’m guessing that this is not the exact candidate you’re looking for….
The problem is that with most postings looking like this, there is really nothing in the posting that will help you to screen out the resumes you don’t want and help you bring in the ones you do want. Nor does it give you any indication of the types of talents that you are actually looking for.
However, at this point, its okay because all you want to do is just have the bare minimum requirements of the job laid out.
Remember, this isn’t the core characteristics you are looking for…we get into that later. All you want to write down is the job description and the bare minimum qualifications you need to hire.
Write out the complete job description. For example, put in writing the following:
- The leg work that must be done prior to making a sales call
- What kind of sale is it: transactional vs. consultative
- How you expect existing customers to be serviced
- What essential personality traits are required
- How you expect records to be maintained
- How many calls should be made in a week
- Talents needed to be successful in the role
- Determine if industry experience is essential
- How many years of experience is absolutely required
- Education level
Think through the entire sales process and detail how you want it to be done, what tools will be used, and your expectations for their results.
This exercise should include not only what you want sales reps or account managers to do, but how you want them to approach it. Think about the style of selling you want them to use.
The profile and ad you create may change over time – that’s okay because its sole purpose is to screen out and attract in, at a very rudimentary level, the candidates that could be most well-suited for the job. All it really is a first step in a lengthy process.
With all the work you have to do…you’re gonna need to get some help sifting through the bad resumes so you can focus on the good ones.
And to save you TONS of time, we’ll give you a big clue how to get someone else besides you to do this for you – so you can stay focused on other things, like sales…in our next post.
In the meantime, get writing.
Do you have your own hiring criteria? Please leave a comment after this post.