A Sales Manager’s Guide to Hiring Sales Reps

By Elay Cohen
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The best sales managers set hiring targets and always make their hiring numbers. It’s an important part of the job, especially in high-growth companies. Sourcing and hiring the best salespeople is best thought of as a core part of a sales manager’s responsibilities. Use local marketing and networking events to build a pipeline of recruitment prospects and scale the sourcing of new hires. Be creative and use social channels like LinkedIn to tap into personal networks and find great candidates. Successful sales managers have a system for hiring that includes using their teams to help scale the interview process, too. Hiring should, after all, be a team sport. One sales manager I know would have the members of his sales team all participate in the hiring process. This sales manager would space out the interviews with the recruits and hold them at different times of the day to get a sense of the salesperson’s comfort level and etiquette at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I won’t share the stories that I heard, but you can imagine what you learn about someone by watching them in a social setting such as eating a meal at a restaurant. The interviewees then reported back what they observed and experienced, providing another hiring decision criterion. Another great hiring best practice is to have the applicant deliver a pitch in front of a panel of their potential peers and other executives. It’s a great way to involve everyone in the process and to see how the applicant performs on his or her feet. Here’s a simple way to employ this strategy: Provide a prospect with a company scenario and a simple set of your company slides. Have them prepare, and set the expectation that they are coming in for a presentation—but don’t give them all the answers. The good ones will do their homework and customize the presentation. Look to see if they are adding things like an agenda, next steps, and references to the presentation. Check to see how resourceful they are. It should be pretty easy for them to go to your website and find some customer stories they can inject into a standard presentation. See how much discovery they push for before the call and what kind of information they are interested in finding out. If they are customer-minded by nature, it will show in how and what they present. Once the prospect’s presentation is over, solicit opinions from your entire team. Establish a sales problem to create a recruiting scorecard. Make the scorecard available to candidates and the interviewing team. Having a scorecard will help create alignment.

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