Recently I re-read“Hire Right, Higher Profits” by Lee Salz which focuses primarily on enterprisesales rep hiring. Below are some of thekey points of the book.
Failurein B2B sales hiring is high.“the attrition rate among B2B salespeople hovers around 25 percent, whilenearly 50 percent of salespeople don’t deliver on their revenue targets. We also know that depending on the industry,somewhere between a fifth and a third of salespeople aren’t suited for theroles that they were hired to perform.”
You’realways hiring.“executives know that only searching for talent when they are staring at openseats on their sales team can result in poor selection decisions. Instead, they are perpetually on the lookoutfor talent and always have prospective candidates in the pipeline.”
Trainingis critical.“Every once in a while lightning strikes and a company finds a greatsalesperson. But this is the exception,not the rule. More commonly companiesfind salespeople with potential, but both of you have work to do for thatpotential to become reality.” Stop trying to find the perfect rep with 20 yearsof experience, because otherwise you’ll never make a hire. Rather, look for the person who is hungry,self-motivated, and is coachable. Insales, experience does not equate to success.
Therule of five.“five percent of salespeople will exceed under any circumstance. Five percent of salespeople will fail nomatter what is done for them.” This means the other 90% have a shot if you cangive them the tools and onboard/coach them appropriately.
Bigfirm reps don’t do well at startups.“As one friend shared with me ‘when you work for Microsoft, you are a finalistin every deal – even if you have never met anyone in the company. Chief Information Officers rearrange theirschedules to meet with you. Now, here Iam working with ABC Technology.com and calling on those same CIOs. Rather than receiving a warm welcome, I’mgreeted with ‘Never heard of your company’ and I struggle to set a meeting.”
Titlesmatter. “when asalesperson is handed her title, she immediately derives a message from it andso will her clients.” Account Executive is the minimum prestige of title forsomeone that is client facing.
Longjob descriptions are a turn-off.“How many people match this entire list? Does anyone match all these criteria?Would this company really not consider a revenue investment in someone who doesnot possess some of these attributes? By publishing an ad that is sorestrictive, the company misses out on potential superstars who choose not toapply.” Stop creating job descriptions with tons of requirements like ‘10+years in selling like products’, ‘working knowledge of professional field’, or‘MBA required’.
Industryexperience is over-rated. “Executives make three mistakes when theypursue candidates with industry experience – the assumption that thesecandidates will have a fast ramp and the misconception of guaranteed successare two of them. The third mistakebecomes apparent when the starry eyed interviewer looks at the candidate andasks ‘how much business can you bring with you?’ This is an awful expectationto set for a prospective salesperson and creates an ethical dilemma. In addition, it’s not easy to move a massnumber of clients from one supplier to another. When a salesperson has left your company to work for a competitor, howsuccessful was she at taking her clients with her? She probably wasn’t verysuccessful.”
Visit us atblossomstreetventures.com for more blogs and SaaS metrics.