Tuesday, September 21, 2010

So Where Are All the Elite Sales Performers?

By Sue V Barrett


I received yet another call today from a sales manager asking me where he could find a really good sales perfomer for his business. He complained that most of the sales people in his industry had been around the block too many times and no new skills, ideas or talent where being brought into his industry. Same old people, same old things, same old results.

Trouble is he is not alone and the Elite Performers you want are most likely working in other industries or markets and are not even thinking about working for you.

Relying on 'experience' as a major determining factor in your sales selection process can severely limit your potential to develop a competitive edge in your industry and find elite sales performers.

I recall another client saying they didn't want to hire people from their industry because they just weren't competitive in the current market. They wanted to refresh the gene pool and bring in fit sales people who were not tarnished by the industry and its way of doing things. They knew that in this overcommiditised marketplace that their sales people where their competitive edge. They were on the right track trouble is they didn't know how to start.

So here are some tips on finding elite sales performers

Review your sales strategy and ask "what qualities (skills, knowledge, competencies, attitudes) do we need now to translate our sales strategy into sales action and results"?

Define the Threshold competencies (i.e. sales and communication skills, self motivation, social skills, etc.) and more importantly define the Differentiating Competencies (those qualities that separate high achievers from everyone else) that you want and need.

Look in industries and other professions where the qualities you want already exist
Targets those industries that have the talent pool you want (mixture of headhunting, networking, reading other industry journals, asking clients, suppliers about their experiences with good sales people from other industries, etc.)

If advertising write ads that attract and describe the style of person you want; DON'T describe the role

Use a structured sales recruitment process that uses a multi assessment competency based approach (The average percent increase in output from improved selection is approximately 2.5 times greater in sales jobs than in low-complexity non-sales jobs.)

Build a proper sales induction training process

Make sure you have a sales management support system

Defining and finding Elite Sales Performers for your business should be happening on a regular basis and be a part of any sales manager's role even if you don' have a vacancy. You are always recruiting sales people.

That client who wanted to refresh the gene pool did look outside and found elite sales performers. Result: the elites sales performers achieved a sales closing ratio of 4:3 within 2 months. Their learn to earn curve was great and there was a definite ROI.