Sunday, June 1, 2008

Recruiting Amp Hiring Sales Amp Marketing Superstars

Writen by Andrew Rowe

Let's talk about how to recruit top sales & marketing talent. There are lots of people who get into sales and marketing for the wrong reasons. So there are a lot of people out there who actually don't have what it takes in order to be successful at sales and marketing.

Some of the most important things when it comes to finding good sales and marketing talent are, first of all, having a good system and process for recruiting. Second of all, knowing what to look for in good sales and marketing talent. Third, knowing how to get the word out to broadcast and promote your company to people who have the talent that you need. And fourth, how to actually make them a part of your team.

So we're going to talk a little bit about the recruiting process first. Recruiting sales and marketing talent is both a combination of art and science. It requires a lot of commitment to process in order to get the right people. There are a lot of companies that hire the first person that comes through the door thinking that they're going to be a good sales person for their company when in fact the only thing they're good at is selling their way through the interview process. Now a person who comes in and sells you through an interview process doesn't necessarily have what it takes to be able to sell for your company so part of your challenge is weeding out the right people through the interviewing process to make sure that the person has more than an ability to convince you that they are the right candidate but actually can use their persuasion skills in order to be a good sales person for you company. So what you're really looking for is somebody who has the ability and the willingness to sell. And that doesn't come easy.

Being a good sales person is a lot more than just the power of persuasion. There are a number of key skills and traits that are required in order to be a good sales person. When I speak of skills, we're talking about learned abilities, something that can be trained or taught. When we talk about traits, we're talking about innate characteristics of the person's personality or behavior. It is possible through a rigorous process to uncover a person's traits and skills through the interviewing process and by going through a rigorous set of homework assignments, aptitude testing, sales performance history recording and also behavioral interviewing.

If you're going to hire good sales and marketing people you have to have a rigorous process and that means defining all of the steps that are necessary in order to understand whether or not a person's skills and talents are actually a fit with what your company is trying to accomplish and whether or not that person can actually become part of your team, integrate themselves and be successful.

So there are a number of different steps that are required in order to recruit good sales and marketing talent. That includes starting by doing a good job of defining the job description, developing an attractive job posting to promote the position. Actually getting the word out by using career databases, the internet, as well as sending job postings out to your friends and network colleagues so that you can get referrals. Most of the best sales people come through referrals and not through mass advertising.

Additional process steps that are extremely important are having a multistage interviewing process that uncover a person's skills and talents through a series of interviews, using a team-based process to be able to have different perspectives from different members of your team and uncover those talents by using those different perspectives and also uncovering the weaknesses of an individual candidates.

In addition to the actual multi-team process, it's really important to develop a good behavioral interviewing questionnaire that allows you to get to the heart of whether or not a person has actually demonstrated their skills. Behavioral interviewing is based upon the concept of having a person telling you stories about their past successes, their past challenges and helping you to uncover the keys to whether or not a person has been able to perform in previous jobs. Past experience and past achievement history is an extremely important indicator of whether or not a person actually is going to be able to perform for your company.

Another aspect of a solid process is establishing strong hiring criteria up front and that means defining exactly through your job description what it is that you're looking for in a candidate and setting out that criteria so that you can build in an interviewing process to uncover how well individual candidates meet with that criteria. We typically don't hire a good sales person without going through at least four interviews and that requires time, energy and a commitment to the process. Many companies that we do work for try to short cut this because they really want to believe that a strong sales person, when they come in to sell, is actually going to be able to sell for their company and so they tend to cut corners and in sales almost 53% of all hires are mishires for this reason.

Another reason why people make mistakes in hiring sales people is, particularly if they don't have the same skills set themselves, they can misjudge what a persons true aptitudes and abilities are in this area. So, one of the things to do is to be careful if you're a finance operations or engineering executive and you're put in the position of hiring sales people, is to know your limitations with respect to your ability to judge, make those judgments and make the right hires. Hiring good sales people is a difficult and challenging process but if it's done right, it can be very successful for your company.

About Cube Management

Cube Management delivers sales acceleration services to emerging growth and mid-market companies. The experts at Cube Management work across the entire spectrum of marketing, sales and business development to provide customized solutions (whether recruiting, interim management or consulting) that drive revenue and profit growth. Cube Management combines Strategy, Process & People to produce winning results. Download the Cube Management Inside Sales Guide and the Cube Management Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Guide.

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