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Sales Management: How to Find The Right Talent


Guest articles > Sales Management: How to Find The Right Talent


by: Drew Stevens


I was recently with Rick and he mentioned to me the difficulty of finding good selling professionals. Rick has been a sales manager for 35 years and during that time he has stated that he continually hires trouble. Poor hires seem to always slow down productivity and form a downhill slide into mediocrity for everyone around them. Poor hires only placate morale and productivity.

The problem that I find especially in today’s competitive environment is finding the right individuals. This is especially true in a post recessionary world. As the economy continues to pick up steam there is enormous pressure to recruit and hire the best selling professionals possible. However, there is a great concern over the ability to find the proper personnel with the right talent. The recession provided an opportunity to purge poor salesman. Essentially the economic doldrums separated the professionals from the wannabes. Now as productivity needs increase so will the need to find the best to keep organizations thriving.

So what might a hiring sales manager today look for?

It is a job of the sales manager to always be seeking the proper talent for the organization. There’ve been too many times in the past where organizations have hired for behavior and not talent. Talent is those sets of innate skills that people possess. Such skills include relationship building, lead generation and the abilities of poise and professionalism. Sales managers that hire for behavior seemingly fall short of expectations. The problem is that these individuals require too much support, do not invest in self-mastery and weigh heavily on organizational costs. As Jim Collins said in his number-one selling book “Good to Great”, it is essential to have the right people on the bus. Hiring for anything less than talent does not provide the performance expectations required of most organizations.

Second, sales managers must begin an active recruitment process. This means that even if your staff is at full capacity, it is essential to budget more people. This way if you do find an outstanding candidate you can hire them immediately without special dispensation from senior executives. For over 25 years I have always required sales managers to utilize the ABLE method of hiring: Always Be looking for Employees. Unfortunately too many organizations and their sales managers are very reactive when it comes to hiring. Why wait when the right one comes along?

Third, one of the largest issues for any sales manager is proper compensation. The fact is that in a competitive situation, organizations must have a proper competitive matrix to hire right. It is wise to look at the competitive marketplace and invest wisely in your compensation plan so that good candidates do not transition to competitors.

Fourth, perhaps one of the most missed opportunities during recruitment is seeking individuals with proper flair. Refrain from only looking at resumes that get people in the door. Look very keenly at the manner in which sales candidates have approached you as a sales manager. Would they do the same in trying to achieve prospective clients? Look for creativity and competitiveness – what got them in the door should keep them behind it, not in front.

Finally, in order to find the right sales talent similar to marketing and other business development endeavors organizations must be visible. This includes using your distribution channels: clients, strategic alliances and vendors. Tell your distribution channel you are seeking talent. You must use all competitive resources possible to obtain them. And, with good relationships these alliances will only provide the best people.

One final note – ensure that you’re not hiring future problems. Years before the recession organizations hired quickly because they were forced. However the wrong people were chosen. Commitment and time are the resources necessary to recruiting great people. Do not rush to achieve finding the most valuable resource for your organization.


2011. Drew J Stevens PhD. All rights reserved.

Drew Stevens Ph.D. President of Stevens Consulting Group is one of those very rare sales management and business development experts with not only 28 years of true sales experience but advanced degrees in sales productivity. Not many can make such as claim. Drew works with sales managers and their direct reports to create more customer centric relationships that dramatically drive new revenues and new clients. He is the author of Split Second Selling and the founder and coordinator of the Sales Leadership Program at Saint Louis University. Contact him today at 877-391-6821.

Contributor: Drew Stevens

Published here on: 10-Apr-11

Classification: Sales



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