Has this salesperson sold "in good times and bad?" Or was his past success the result of a flush economy? Qualities such as persistence and creativity may not exist in the salesperson that started his selling career where the greatest skills required was picking up the phone and taking an order.
5. Team or Individual Sales
It is important to check whether a salesperson's past success came from individual efforts or if the success resulted from a team effort. If the new position requires being a "lone ranger," the team salesperson struggles without the help and support of teammates.
6. Average Deal Size
Are your deals $1 million or $1,000 in size? The salesperson who has succeeded in small account sales may struggle with major account sales for a variety of reasons. The first is the size of the deal.
They may wrestle with the dollar size thinking companies don't invest this amount of money in "stuff" and continually sell smaller deals. The second area of struggle occurs in the type of sale.
Larger deals usually involve multiple decision makers and longer buy cycles. The smaller account salesperson can struggle with the patience factor in meeting with all decision makers, understanding the politics behind the sale, and being persistent for six months to a year to get the deal done.
Past behavior is the best indicator of future results. Make sure your new hire's past matches with your company's future.
Colleen Stanley is the president of SalesLeadership, Inc. She is also the author of "Growing Great Sales Teams: Lessons from the Cornfield."For more information, visit www.salesleadershipdevelopment.com or call 1-866-708-1128.
This article examines why a can't-fail sales hire sometimes does fail and how to make sure a new hire's past matches your company's structure and needs.
Have you ever been stumped by a bad hire? No, I am not talking about the professional interviewer that wooed the interviewing team or the resume that was fudged. I'm talking about a strong resume where past sales numbers achieved were real and industry sales experience was deep.
Why doesn't a new hire's true success in the past transition to success in a new position? The problem could be that success achieved in their past sales life isn't lining up with factors needed for success in the new position. Below are six areas to examine when determining whether past success can transition into a new sales position.
1. Branded vs. Non-Branded
In their past selling life, did the salesperson work for a well-branded company or product? If so, the name brand might have opened the door for the salesperson, not necessarily his prospecting skills.
A salesperson from this background is great once the door is open but may lack the skills or behavior style necessary to get in without brand recognition.
A branded product can also help close deals in a close sales race. An old saying states, "No one ever got fired for hiring IBM."
The brand actually closed the business rather than the salesperson presenting the best presentation.
2. Need-to-Have vs. Nice-to-Have
This is also referred to as selling a tangible vs. an intangible product or service. There are challenges in selling both. The insurance industry is a good example of the different talents needed to sell and close business.
The "need-to-have" product, like car insurance, has advantages because the customer must buy your product – it's just a matter of choosing the appropriate vendor. The salesperson doesn't have to work at creating a need; it's already there.
His sales ingenuity comes from creating and showing an image of difference in a crowded space. On the other hand, the "nice-to-have" product, like life insurance, requires a different type of sales approach. The salesperson must be excellent at creating a need.
The life insurance prospect often doesn't realize he has a problem until the sales professional invests time in helping the prospect find the "undiscovered or unknown problem."
Salespeople who have experience in selling "nice-to-have" services excel in critical thinking skills and quantifying the cost of a current or future problem. They are good consultative salespeople who know how to sell value not price.
The salesperson with experience in "need-to-have" services may have great interpersonal skills, however, is often coming from a background where they sold on price not value.
3. Age of the Company
In what stage of growth is your company? A mistake many entrepreneurs make is hiring sales talent from the Fortune 500 world. This salesperson often flounders in his new environment because he is not used to working without the many resources or structure found in a more established organization.
He is used to a sophisticated lead-generation system or the latest technology for managing client relationships. Young companies often do better with the "scrappy" salesperson.
This is the individual that looks under rocks to find opportunities and is capable of "making up stuff" everyday because a system or process is not in place. He doesn't rely on a brand because he is used to selling a product or service that has no recognition in the marketplace.
4. Economy or Ability
The late '90s were a great time to be in sales. Many professionals agree we were making money, despite ourselves. When interviewing a candidate, make sure he can pass the marriage test.