As a business owner, you want to have the smartest, most motivated people on your sales team. You want A-players. The 80/20 rule states that 80% of sales revenue is earned by the top 20% of your sales team. But here's an idea: why not fill your team exclusively with those 20 percenters? Your revenue will inevitably skyrocket and according to Steve Jobs, A-players perform their best when they work with fellow high level performers. The trick is to identify those select A-players in the hiring process. If you can do this, you avoid the uncertainly that goes with grooming someone into the salesperson you hope he/she can be.
Luckily, there is a method to identifying top talent. Here are 5 steps for hiring A-players for your sales team:
1) Look for behavioral cues
Hold off on the interview script and closely observe their behavior. Look for signs of emotional stability, conscientiousness, and openess to experience. How do they handle minor setbacks? If they knock over a cup of coffee, do they panic and fall over themselves apologizing, or do they proactively find napkins? These subtle clues can tell a story.
2) Discover their motivations with the right questions
A resume may state their goals for working at your company, but you want to get at the core of their motivations. Ask questions that expose their thought process. Thoughtful and reflective answers suggest high levels of motivation and a capacity for self-improvement.
3) Do they ask questions, or just pitch themselves?
Those 80 percent performers jump right into a spiel of selling themselves without listening. The 20 percenters show genuine interest in your company. They ask questions about your company, how it operates, and it's goals for the future.
4) Do a role play
After a candidate has researched the company's offerings, HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan likes to do a mock sales phone call even before the interview stage. It gives a more practical insight into the prospect's talents and ability to improvise.
5) Identify their personality type
At Inbound 2014, Halligan descibed the personality of an ideal sales representative. Surprisingly, they're not extroverts, but rather amniverts. Amniverts are the perfect combination of extro and intro. They are outgoing enough to socialize with customers, but also know when to stop and think of the best way to approach a problem.
Developing a framework for a highly inquisitive hiring process will yield tremendous benefits for your sales staffing. If you have a method for developing the deepest insights into applicants, you are far more likely to assemble a team chock-full of A-players.
Here's a template that'll help you with your job posting: