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Sales Recruiting: A Talent Acquisition That Works


Guest articles > Sales Recruiting: A Talent Acquisition That Works


by: Danita Bye


Unraveling DNA for successful hiring

Smart business, at its core, is all about Return On Investment. A sales team that gets results is the most important asset for any company. Since nothing happens without a sale, recruitment and hiring a high-performance sales team should be at the top of a business leader’s priority list.

Filling a sales position is frustrating and mistakes are costly: Business owners throw away thousands of dollars in recruiting and training under-performing salespeople, not to mention lost sales and customer defections. (Some estimates place the cost of a bad hire at $100,000 to $250,000.)

While there are many different steps one should follow when hiring new sales people, I believe that the most important step is identifying a candidate with the correct DNA.

According to a University of Michigan study, interviews lead to almost 90% of hiring decisions but are only 14% accurate in predicting success. Why? Using resumes and interviews to hire is a little like buying a suit off the rack – it will never fit just right. That’s why it is so important to learn exactly what you need and then buy a suit – a salesperson – with a custom fit.

It is a surprising fact that too many business owners hire salespeople without taking the time to analyze what the DNA of a great salesperson would look like in their industry and culture.

When hiring criteria is framed in general terms, as it is when relying on resumes and interviews alone, the odds of a good hire drop significantly. So, defining the specific sales DNA for your sales organization is a critical first step.


Defining the requirements of your ideal salesperson

The task of sequencing your ideal salesperson’s DNA breaks down into four components. Here are some examples of areas where you need clarity prior to beginning the search: Profile of your market and industry.


1. Profile of your market and industry

  • How sophisticated are your Ideal Target Clients?
  • What level in an organization do they need to sell?
  • What are the technical requirements of the products and services you sell? How large is a typical order?

2. Requirements of the position

  • How much prospecting do you expect from your salesperson?
  • Will they work on the phone, and do they present to groups?
  • Is customer service a priority?
  • How defined is your sales process?

3. Needed skills

  • Must salespeople be detail-oriented problem solvers?
  • Do you expect a high level of technical knowledge and interaction?
  • How developed do you need their written communication skills or presentation know-how?

4. Key Metrics

  • What are the key accountabilities and metrics that they’ll be measured against?
  • What is the ranking and weight?
  • How will you measure and communicate performance against those metrics?

By following a process that puts objective assessment ahead of resumes and interviews that provide, at best, only an incomplete picture, you have saved time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted costs. But more importantly, you can experience a rewarding Return On Investment and you have done the footwork to put your company on the success track for the long term.


Nationally recognized sales management and leadership expert Danita Bye built her reputation on building and inspiring process-oriented, no excuse, high-performance sales teams that deliver bottom line results. With her unique Fortune-100-turned-entrepreneur perspective, Danita helps CEOs and company presidents take their businesses to the next level. Her practical, no-nonsense approach to sales management, combined with her leadership acumen, enables sales leadership to increase sales, creating predictable revenue streams.

As a 10-year veteran of the Xerox Corporation, Danita consistently achieved award winning sales performance before leaving to become an equity partner and national sales manager for a Minneapolis-based medical device company. In this capacity, she increased annual revenues from $300,000 to a run rate of $20 million in just ten years.

Danita has authored numerous articles on sales management and leadership. In addition, she was a featured as a sales development expert on the TV show, “The Ruthless Entrepreneur,” which is currently airing on the Oxygen Network. Leadership Shift, Management Acceleration and a library of eBooks on critical sales management issues are available on the Sales Growth Specialists’ website.

Danita can be reached at, 612-267-3320 or 800-256-2799.

For more insights on Sales Process, visit

Copyright 2009, Danita Bye, Sales Growth Specialists, All Rights Reserved.

Contributor: Danita Bye

Published here on:

Classification: Sales


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