Since joining Prima Ressource, I've had the opportunity to greatly expand my knowledge and skills in sales management. It allowed me to discover some things I would have loved to know when I was in a sales manager position, that would have completely changed the way I acted in that role.
Among all that I have learned, there is one fundamental component that caught my attention and that would have made all the difference: the importance of using specific sales assessment tools such as Objective Management Group's assessments. These are tools that make a huge difference in sales coaching and that would have made me a much better sales manager than I have been.
A few years ago, I had an interview with the vice-presidents of a large company in order to get my first position as a salesperson. It was an intimidating experience since I had never worked in sales before and the questions they asked were very technical. Fortunately, I had prepared myself properly.
Nevertheless, when one of them asked me if I had any experience in the sales industry, I knew very well that the time I spent preparing for the interview wasn't going to help me answer that question.
One mistake that can be made when recruiting a representative is to hire an individual who is overqualified for the position that is being offered. Naturally, you might be looking to hire the best salesperson available on the market, however not all roles are calibrated to satisfy the top salespeople.
If today we have objective tools to identify A players, this can lead companies to hire representatives who will quickly leave their positions. Indeed, the latter achieve their objectives too quickly, if not too easily, and thus lose their motivation because of a glaring lack of challenges due to a level of difficulty that is not high enough for their calibre.
Two types of companies have a turnover issue with their sales force.
First, there are those whose turnover rate is too high. Each year, they need to replace 30% to 50% of their workforce.
Then there are those where there is absolutely no turnover. As strange as it may seem, this lack of turnover is just as problematic.
This is typical: sales leaders often think they have the expertise to recruit the best representatives, but they rarely do!
For all types of positions, poor recruitment choices cause huge losses of time and money, but this is even more the case in sales. The recruitment and integration process must be seen as an investment, quantifiable by the sales objective of the hired representative. Even if sales goals should be more conservative in the first few months, if they are not met, it still means leaving money on the table. This is why it is essential for business leaders to develop effective ways to improve the recruitment of their salespeople.
Prospecting is at the heart of the sales hunter job.
Unlike account managers and farmers, hunters focus most of their activities on acquiring new accounts. Their mission is to increase the company's revenues with new business, so they're an essential asset to any sales force.
In fact, great sales hunters can replace 50% of their customers, in a new sales territory, within 6 to 18 months depending on the length of your sales cycle.
The more diversified a sales team is, the more multidimensional and more vibrant in collective knowledge it is. That's why I always recommend sales teams diversify, be it by age, gender, ethnic origin or each rep's ideology. Unfortunately, I still notice that, in the field, too many sales forces remain quite homogeneous.
Sales recruitment isn't like recruiting accountants, developers, or even marketers. Their job is very different. They have to manage competition, rejection, hostility, lack of control, resistance and time like no one other in the company.
I'm often asked about the diversity of a sales team:
Hiring or promoting a new sales manager or reviewing a current one? Ultimately, every sales leader needs to answer 12 fundamental questions.
The roles and responsibilities of a sales manager are quite different from those of a salesperson. It’s a difficult position, and the data reveals that most sales managers are poorly equipped to handle the job.
Choosing a candidate to be your new sales VP is a decision which greatly will impact the development of your company. You must consider many factors.
The size of your organization? Have you pinned down your objectives and growth strategy? What are your intentions regarding your sales VP at this stage of your development, and which competencies are imperative that he or she possess?
Repeatable and scalable sales success is one of the most significant challenges a company has to tackle. To do so, they often analyze the elements that seem to have made the success of some representatives and try to replicate them with others, with the hope of achieving the same result.
The approach itself isn't wrong. By analyzing successes, our partner Objective Management Group defined Sales DNA -- the elements that make a sales representative effective in sales. These elements allow companies to recruit a specific type of individual, but also to train their sales force to develop or sharpen particular skills.