Last week, in Hiring Salespeople – Part I, we discussed how Pareto’s Principle applies to most sales organizations where 80 percent of the revenue is produced by 20 percent of the salespeople.
This week, Jim Allen, Founder and Principal of Value Based, Inc – a company that helps businesses build and develop their own sales organizations – joins the show to discuss how you can break through the 80/20 rule by more effectively recruiting, assessing, and hiring salespeople who are already “wired” for sales.
What attributes do the most successful salespeople possess?
Jim rattled off the following characteristics that we should be looking for when looking to hire a salesperson:
- Self-starter: When top salespeople get up in the morning, go to work, and are setting up their calendar; they’re thinking “what can I initiate” or “what can I be intentional about today that would help open up, advance, or close a sales opportunity?”
- Competitive: This goes along with the desire to win that we discussed last week.
- Strategic and long-term thinker and planner: someone who sees past the immediate transaction and is looking to build valuable relationships with prospects, clients, and partners.
- Creative problem solvers: This is especially important for people selling complex products and services that take a while to sell and implement. It is also important that they believe in and standby their creative solutions, even when facing objections from prospects or clients.
- Perseverance: Important for a salesperson to quickly get back up when they face rejection, or are even offended by prospects or clients.
- Confidence (arrogant-free, please!)
- Humility: Jim describes this as not thinking less of yourself in relation to others; but simply directing more of your thoughts towards serving your clients, prospects, or co-workers, instead of being wrapped up in thoughts about yourself and your own comfort.
- Empathy: Being able to walk a mile in the prospects shoes, or getting inside their heads, feeling their pain or discomfort that they’re trying to solve for.
Are successful salespeople born or developed?
Jim believes that salespeople who are successful over the long-haul – 10 or more years – are born. Jim’s seen people succeed in sales for 2 or 3 years, but if they’re not wired for sales then they eventually move on to areas more inline with their natural gifting and talents.
Jim advocates using instruments like the CORE Value Index (CVI) or DISC profiles to assess whether candidates have the right makeup for sales. Jim uses the CORE Value Index because it goes beyond behavior and personality and gets into what motivates and drives people. Him and his clients have had really good success using the CORE Value Index to profile their top salespeople, and then using them as the standard for which to compare candidate CVI profiles to.
How high is the cost of hiring the wrong salesperson?
Jim estimates that the mistake of hiring the wrong salesperson can easily cost $300,000 to $400,000 when you’re dealing with account managers or salespeople involved with going after and maintaining target accounts for technology companies. First there’s all the time and money spent hiring that person, but then you have to account for lost momentum, damaged relationships or relationships with key accounts that could have been more profitable had the right person been in place, and then all the costs associated with having to recruit, hire, train, and ramp up a new person to replace the mis-hire.