Having a ‘wrong fit’ on your team is almost as painful as being a ‘wrong fit’ on someone else’s team.
If you’re a sales leader, you know the pain that comes with managing a bad hire.
And if you’re a salesperson working for the wrong company, you know how difficult it is to get up every day and sell for an organization you don’t align with.
However, there is a way to ensure that we’re hiring the right people for our sales team and as individual salespeople, doing the things that make us attractive to the right sales leaders.
To learn how it’s done, we sat down with Chaminda Wijesundera a sales headhunter and managing partner at Emphire Agency, who shared some insights on how to do just that. Developed through his own experiences as a sales leader and expertise in finding great fits for sales teams, Chaminda has a powerful framework for ensuring we have a team of high performing salespeople. He helped us develop a sales system that will ensure we’re hiring the right folks for our culture, and if we want to ensure we stayed employed as salespeople, to do the right thing to be attractive to sales leaders across the world.
Since we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it, and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
Trigger: Chaminda says a great sales hiring process begins long before a salesperson quits or is let go. Instead, it begins the moment you anticipate the need for growth. This begins with creating an avatar for the type of salesperson that works well in your industry, with your prospects. As this will be unique to each industry and market, it’s important that it’s defined. This way, you can keep your eyes out for talent that matches your avatar and maintain relationships with them so when you have a need, your candidates are already identified.
If you’re a potential candidate (or want to be seen as one!), as yourself what strengths you have and what industries those would work well in. Even being an introvert who is good with numbers is a strength for salespeople in certain industries. Once you define what industries your strengths would play well in, ensure you’re connecting with sales leaders in those fields.
Repeatable: To make this system repeatable, Chaminda said it’s as easy as screening candidates against your ‘ideal salesperson avatar.’ Too many companies, Chaminda said, make the mistake or simply asking if they like a salesperson’s interview and if they have industry experience.
Chaminda says this overlooks whether the salesperson has an outgoing personality and can quickly develop rapport, or if they can frame what you sell as a solution to a problem (if that’s what defines successful salespeople in your industry).
He also encourages sales leaders to segment their interviews to the level they manage from. This means that front-line managers interview candidates about tactics, whereas sales leadership interviews candidates around cultural fit and goals. This way, multiple people on your team have the chance to assess each candidate for fit on the criteria they’re expert in.
As a potential candidate for a sales position, ensure you can clearly articulate your personal and professional goals, the type of sales tactics that you’re strong in, and the lessons you’ve learned that you wouldn’t repeat. Knowing answers to those questions ahead of time will ensure you stand out as a self-aware and motivated sales performer to any future interviewer.
Improvable: To ensure you’re improving the way you’re hiring, Chaminda recommends looking at your previous hires and asking, ‘who’s hitting target in the product lines/services we want to sell more of?’ Those salespeople’s personality traits and tactical style can be built into your salesperson avatar to ensure they’re top of mind when reviewing future candidates for your team.
As an individual performer who’s looking to be ‘hirable’, Chaminda says to track what types of products and services you sell most easily and ensure that you’re developing relationships with leaders in industries that sell something similar.
Measurable: To measure the effectiveness of your hiring process, Chaminda says to ensure you monitor your pipeline velocity as it’s the clearest indicator of whether your sales avatar is aligned with what works well in your industry and on your team. This means not just measuring closed deals, but also measuring how fast those deals move from initial contact to new customer and ensuring that the ‘sticking points’ in your pipeline don’t become clogs that hold up results.