By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
Most sales managers today spend a lot of their time looking to hire the right people, and then training and coaching them into the type of salespeople they want them to be. It’s a hard enough job when it comes to outside sales personnel, but it’s even more difficult with inside sales teams. Inside sales personnel are often inexperienced, and therefore not very well compensated. They also have difficult jobs: they take a lot of rudeness from prospects, and cold-calling is a job that would turn anyone’s blood cold. As a result, inside sales (as well as outbound call center personnel) have some of the highest turnover rates in business today.
Where many sales managers go wrong, according to Genie Parker of VanillaSoft in a recent blog post, one of the most important things to determine when hiring candidates is, “Does this person want ‘a’ job, or ‘this’ job?” If it’s the former, you may want to pass and keep looking.
“Fifty-five percent of people in sales should be doing something else, and another 20 to 25 percent should be selling something else,” wrote Parker. “Many people just want the money to make a living, they may not be interested in sales per se, but just the quick fix of having a job and the monetary rewards it brings. They may use a sales job temporarily until something better comes along. You want candidates that like selling! It will create a positive environment and be easier for them to succeed.”
One thing that star salespeople have in common is that they generally like the process of selling. They find it to be a challenge, they’re confident in their abilities to sell, they are willing to learn to use sales-enablement tools successfully, and they find nothing more exhilarating than completing the sale. While it may not be easy to determine which people have these traits (particularly when they’re just starting out, as inside sales personnel often are), there are some steps sales managers can follow to sniff these people out, according to Parker.
Conduct a phone interview first. This will determine the candidate’s phone skills. Do they have energy? Are you intrigued to meet them in person? Can they build a relationship with you over the phone?
Ask how the candidate prepared for the interview. This determines research skills for clients.
Give the candidate a chance to interview you to determine sincere interest. If they’re really interested, they’ll ask questions.
Encourage candidates to demonstrate their skills. Use mock situations to see if the candidate will perform according to your expectations.
From here, it’s on the sales manager to train new hires to be the type of sales people they expect for their organization. But if you’re already working with the right raw material, this will be far less of a challenge.