Recruiting and Selecting Sales Personnel

Topics: Sales Pages: 49 (14711 words) Published: February 13, 2012
Recruiting and Hiring Effective Sales People
There are few challenges quite so tiring as trying to recruit an effective sales force. Because of its impact on the company's bottom line, selecting the right sales people is a critical area that requires a lot of attention. When the sales force does not achieve the desired results, more sales training programs are established and the sales representatives with the lowest level of performance are soon replaced. It seems to be a never ending cycle in which sales managers see little hope for relief. In most companies, 80% of the sales seem to come from 20% of the sales force. While the objective has always been to try to clone the top 30%, that really never seems to happen. If a competitor manages to target and hire away those top sales producers, what happens to the bottom line? There has got to be a better way of finding and developing the talented sales people we need with more effectiveness than we currently have. Fortunately there is a much better method of recruiting an effective and more productive sales force. Before any new options are explored, we really need to take a good look at exactly what is going wrong with the current process used in selecting sales people. In that regard, let's simulate a mock hiring routine in order to find out where the problems are. We have run our sales representative ads in the target market for a month and have narrowed the field to what we regard as two of the best outside sales candidates. Their names are Joe Dogre and James Watson. Joe Dogre presents himself very well during the interview. He is about 5'9" tall with a slender appearance. He has thin wire rimmed spectacles and slightly curly hair. He is neatly dressed in his best blue pin-stripped suit and his favorite red tie. Joe holds a masters degree in business administration from a prestigious university and makes a very favorable impression during the interview. James Watson has a bachelors degree in business administration with a major in marketing. James is 6'1" tall and is slightly overweight, but carries it well with his larger frame. In order to down play his slightly larger frame, James is dressed in a gray pin-stripe suite with a dark blue tie. James is very direct and quick with his responses during the interview. He is quite enthusiastic about the position and also makes a favorable impression on the sales manager. The experience levels between the two sales candidates are almost identical and it is pretty much a coin toss in deciding between the two. Joe's resume does seem slightly more impressive in regards to his accomplishments. His appearance was slightly more favorable than James' and he seemed perhaps just a little bit more warm and friendly. The reference checks are done but little useful information is obtained regarding either candidate. The fact that Joe has a masters degree tips the scales more heavily in his favor and Joe is offered the position. Three months down the road, Joe's sales performance is less than expected. The training manager reports that Joe seems to be a little slow and has a problem grasping the material in the sales training classes. The sales manager has observed the same thing and figures Joe is a little slow on the learning curve. Another three months passes and sales are declining in Joe's territory. The sales manager realizes that it was a mistake to place Joe in the position to begin with and a new search for a replacement is initiated. The sales manager wonders if the next hire will work out any better. He instinctively feels that there has got to be a better and more

reliable way of hiring sales people. Six months of salary and benefits costs are down the drain, not to mention training and recruiting cost. There is also the loss of revenue from the sales that have not been made and the loss of market share. The sales manager wonders what he can do to improve his chances of hiring a top sales performer in the next recruiting...
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