The reality of sales is that 80% percent of sales are most often produced by 20% of the sales force, also known as the 80/20 rule. Therefore, finding those who will rise to the top 20% is a priority for recruiters. Peak sales performers have an inquisitive nature and seek to understand as much as possible about the prospect’s business and decision-making process.

They have a high need for achievement, are result-oriented, responsive, act with a sense of urgency, and remain calm in the face of adversity. They are confident with a solution-oriented disposition, competitive, stimulated by pressure, and have a keen understanding of the sales process, which helps them move from qualification to need assessment and subsequently to close at a more rapid pace than others. Their result-oriented nature ensures excellent time management skills, and as they are knowledgeable and focused on needs, they are often rewarded with customers’ loyalty.

A majority of the sales hires fail without a systematic hiring process. Both direct and indirect costs are associated with a poor hiring decision, which often costs 75% to 150% of the salesperson’s annual quota. Therefore, continued poor hiring decisions will be unsustainable by most organizations.

Below are a few refreshers when it comes to recruiting and hiring top producers:

Have the right assessment tools

Each sales role requires unique skill sets, experience, and propensities. Conduct a thorough job analysis prior to sourcing, engaging, and interviewing for each position. Include proper testing mechanisms to assess candidates’ personality traits, motivation, and company loyalty to warrant a hire.

80% percent of sales are most often produced by 20% of the sales force

Gather important insights

Perform thorough background and reference checks and inquire beyond references. Use your personal network to uncover additional information on behaviors and results. Do they have integrity and ambition? Are they team players? Document information obtained to help guide candidates through the interview process while successfully closing top candidates to move to the next step in the interview process.

Match the role with the skill sets

Familiarity with the role is paramount in determining how well a candidate correlates with the requirements. During the interview, have the job description available and match strengths with the stated role. Once you have landed on the top candidate, be educated on current salaries and commission to ensure the initial offer is competitive and a win/win for both parties.

One of the keys to success in recruiting top producers is understanding the role, sales environment, and sales process to assess each candidate effectively and accurately. The path of the product to the market is also the essential information to gather. What is the company’s selling approach – solution-based, transactional, or relationship-based? Answers to additional questions regarding past sales cycles, quotas, average deal sizes, selling territories, and responsibilities are a must for effective sales recruitment. The more knowledge on the internal sales process and environment, the better equipped the recruiter will be to match the role with the best candidate.

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