You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. That saying applies to salespeople as well. It’s almost impossible to transform someone who is unsuited for sales to become a top sales performer.
You’ll get the best sales results when a new employee is a good fit from the start. Here’s what to consider when you hire your next salesperson.
1. Ensure a best fit for both the salesperson and the sales manager
Hiring a great salesperson starts with you doing your due diligence and asking a lot of questions. Hiring someone too quickly and without the proper assessment could mean settling on a less than perfect candidate.
Andy Klausner, co-founder of Your Hiring Partners, says identify the characteristics and skills you want your new hire to have, and then ask questions to determine how well the candidate scores against these requirements. Note which requirements are “absolute” ones versus those that would be nice to have. Pass on any candidate who does not possess your absolute requirements.
Klausner also says to identify the management style of the manager the employee will be working for. A micro-manager would be a poor fit for an independent employee; an employee who needs and wants more close supervision would a poor fit for a hands-off manager.
Finally, assess any hiring mistakes you’ve made in the past. Determine why someone may have been a bad hire so you can avoid repeating mistakes again.
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2. Be sure your hire fits the company culture
Matching an employee with a company’s culture is critical for both party’s success. Think of the company culture as the environment where the employee will be working.
You may want to consider how formal or informal your company is. For example, it may be acceptable for people to swear now and then in the workplace; however, hearing a coworker curse could offend some people and make work unpleasant for them. If that is your company culture, then you need to ask the candidate upfront if he or she would be alright working in that kind of atmosphere.
Or perhaps your company has monthly birthday celebrations and other social events. Now imagine how challenging it would be for someone who is a very private person to work in a company that is very open, social, and friendly. That person probably would be happier in a more formal work setting.
Klausner agrees that culture fit is very important. He says, “You really shouldn’t get too far off to make the match. You have to be really close. Think about archery. If it’s not the bulls-eye, you should be going for the next ring.”
3. After you hire, your job’s not over
Successful onboarding of new employees is an important part of the hiring process, and to ensure the employer/employee relationship gets off to a good start, you company must be ready for the new hire on day one. That means you should have a 30-day plan already mapped out. For a sales professional, the plan should include information about the training process, introductions to key people the new hire will be working with, product training, and sales territory identification.