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Interested in Hiring & Recruiting Best Practices?

  • by Elay Cohen
  • January 29, 2014

Interested in Hiring & Recruiting Best Practices?

I spent some time with a sales manager last week talking about sales recruiting. It prompted me to write a blog post on sales recruiting best practices.

The sales manager I was talking to was looking to fill a sales role on her team. She had four candidates and they were all about the same in terms of skills, tenure and experience.  She was struggling with a way to make a decision.

The conversation immediately reminded of some best practices I’ve seen work very well.   I asked the sales manager a few questions:

  1. Do you have a scorecard to measure their relative acumen?
  2. Did multiple folks interview them from your team?
  3. Did you put a “sales pitch” in place as hiring criteria?

To answer these questions, here are a set of best practices you can put into action in your recruiting efforts.

Recruiting Scorecard

Establish a baseline sales profile to inform your sales recruiting criteria.  Use the profile to create a sales recruiting scorecard. Make the scorecard available to the candidates and the interviewing team.  Be transparent. Here are the criteria the sales manager and I created that mapped to their go to market and sales process:

  1. Domain knowledge
  2. Success selling technology
  3. Quota accomplishments
  4. Customer references
  5. Peer references
  6. Presentation skills
  7. People skills
  8. Social selling acumen
  9. Financial and business acumen
  10. Sales pitch

Having a scorecard with a consisting scoring methodology goes a long way to create alignment around hiring expectations and candidate fit.

The Sales Pitch

One of the most important parts of a sales person’s job is to be able to professionally deliver a pitch presentation.  Their ability to grab the attention of a room and keep an audience engaged in a presentation is a skill. It can be taught, but why not use the sales pitch as a hiring criteria?

I’ve seen this work very well at Salesforce.com and many other companies.

Here is how I would do it:

  1. Set the expectation that your candidate will deliver a short presentation to a group of peers and the hiring manager
  2. Give them a short template presentation and a mini-case study
  3. Watch how they customize the presentation.
  4. See if they are comfortable with a meeting agenda and the meeting close.
  5. Gage whether they ask questions and are good listeners.

There is so much you can learn about a candidate from a 15-minute presentation. I encourage you, if you don’t already, to include it in your hiring process.

Hiring is a Team Sport

A great best practice I witnessed was making hiring a team sport. Have multiple members of a sales team interview a prospective new sales candidate.  Give everyone a team a role in the hiring process and an area to go deep and investigate.

There are some great tips leading sales managers have instituted with the team to help vet candidates:

  1. Interview at different times of the day Book-cover
  2. Interview during a meal
  3. Have a set of questions distributed across the team

Consider all these new ideas in the context of improving your hiring process and making your recruiting experience a learning one for the entire team too.

This blog post is an excerpt from a chapter in my upcoming book “SalesHood: How Winning Sales Managers Inspire Sales Teams to Succeed.”

About the Author
Elay Cohen

Elay Cohen

Elay Cohen is the author of SalesHood: How Winning Sales Managers Inspire Sales Teams to Succeed and the co-founder of SalesHood, a SaaS sales enablement platform and community for sales professionals. Elay is the former Senior Vice President of Sales Productivity at Salesforce. Recognized as the company's "2011 Top Executive", and credited for creating and executing all of Salesforce's sales productivity programs that accelerated its growth from $300M to $3B+ in revenue. The sales training and sales support innovations delivered over these years by Elay and his team to thousands of sales reps resulted in unprecedented hypergrowth. He also created the Partner Relationship Management (PRM) category.

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